Monday, June 08, 2009

Vote to Seat ratio with d'Hondt , UK Euro Elections 2009 and the BNP

During the election campaign, my line was, "This election is under a weak form of Proportional Representation, so there is a very reasonable chance that Ricky Knight may become an MEP".

First, there is absolutely no doubt that the d'Hondt electoral system that was used is far better than the moronic First Past the Post system used for electing MPs to Westminster.

But this is because it would be very hard to find anything less fair than FPTP, apart from letting the media choose the MPs, or simply selling them to the highest bidder.

But d'Hondt discriminates against any that proportion of the will of the people which is more evenly spread out, or in a minority of under about 10%.

Here is the data for the 2009 European Parliament 2009:

% of votes cast----- % of seats won----- vote/seat ratio


The seat-vote ratio is the percentage of votes divided by the percentage of the votes won. In a perfect system, it would be unity (i.e. in the fairest possible system the figure would be 1) in all cases. Of course, mathematical perfection is not possible, but fit-for-purpose system should
have a not unexpected scatter either side of unity. The smaller the ratio figure, the more the party has benefited from the d'Hondt system. The bigger the figure, the more the party has been frustrated by d'Hondt.

So the parties can be ranked thus, with those who benefited most at the top.

  • Scots and Welsh Nationalists

  • Lab
  • Con
  • LibDem
  • Ukip
  • BNP
  • Greens
The Nationalists are a special case, since they only stand in their respective regions. One component of the rank position is the concentration of support, so d'Hondt, like FPTP, rewards parties whose votes are concentrated into pockets, and punishes parties whose vote is evenly spread throughout the people.

Like FPTP, dHondt also rewards larger parties.

Many will argue that it is an advantage to load the dice against smaller parties, in order to keep the BNP well away from the levers of power. Ironically, though, this also keeps the antidote to the BNP out of power, namely the Greens. Greens and BNP are in many ways, polar opposites:

They aim for division, we aim for coalescence
They value violence, we value non-violence
They are authoritarian, we seek consensus

Of course, we Greens could out-grow the BNP, join the ranks of the larger parties, and join in the attempt to exclude them.

We have been in this excluded place for 30 years. We have borne the frustration patiently. Nobody should reasonably expect the BNP to remain peaceful in a position of electoral exclusion. They have more friends in the police and armed forces than we do - possibly in the civil service too. Papers like the Mail are useful idiots for the BNP, with their daily drip-drip of weighted news items about migrants.

In other words, trying to exclude the BNP from Parliament, using them as an excuse to block Proportional Representation, is not a very wise idea. It may lead to violence, could even lead to an attempted coup.

It is better to have the BNP in the Parliamentary tent pissing outwards, like all the other members of the Oldest Gentleman's Club in the World, than outside the tent hurling lit matches at it.

If it were only possible for rational political debate to be carried out in this country, it might be that the electorate would see that their views are indistinguishable from those of Hitler, but with immigrants in the crosshairs instead of Jews. But that is of course just a bit of Green dreaming...

If it were only possible for jobless workers to find work in the Green sector of the economy, the Griffin would not be able to say, "Look! He's got your job!" But that is of course just a bit of Green dreaming...

If it were possible for us to use all the empty buildings, brownfield sites, and unemployed housebuilders to build enough houses for all, Griffin would not be able to say, "Look! He's got your house!" But that is of course just a bit of Green dreaming...

If it were possible for us Brits to stop exportiong arms and wars and torture equipment, and if it were possible for us to lessen human rights abuses worldwide, and if it were possible for us to avoid catastrophic climate change, we might find that Griffin would be denied the net inflow of migants that lifts his hot air balloon. But that is of course just a bit of Green dreaming...

"I'll let you be in my dream if you let me be in your dream". Dylan said that.

"Nothing's perfect. But everything does not have to be as imperfect as this".

I said that.

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