First-past-the-post: last place in any democracy test

The way we elect our MPs in the UK is bad for democracy. June 8th presented yet another general election in which many people in many constituencies were left with no choice but to vote tactically. Worse still, thousands were not motivated to take part at all in the knowledge that their vote would be wasted. In this matter they could point to more than simple gut feeling: the Electoral Reform Society calculated that 74% of votes cast in the 2015 election were wasted, cast either for losing candidates or for winning candidates above and beyond the amount needed to win in a particular constituency. Before us, clearly, is a matter of fact.

Those living in oppressively ‘safe’ seats have only had to glance in the direction of PR to see that under such a system they would be exercising their suffrage in a way that would be truly meaningful — and, most importantly, in a way that guarantees every citizen’s vote is genuinely equal.

The teetering edifice that is first-past-the-post, with all its inherent unfairness, has surely failed on its own terms for the last time. Replacing it with a system of proportional representation is firmly back on the national agenda — and, what’s more, a necessity if we are to embrace the promise of the country’s future. Let it be a future in which everyone has an equal voice so our elected representatives act in the interests of everyone in the UK — not just the winners of the marginal seat lottery.