Thursday, January 29, 2015

How should you vote in a safe seat?

People who say
"I'm going to vote for Miliband/I'm going to vote for Cameron", or
"If you vote X you may get Y"
just don't understand the voting system.

Our vote under the unfit-for-purpose First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system has no effect whatsoever beyond the boundary of the constituency.

The people who actually get to choose the next Government are swing voters in a handful of marginal constituencies - about 0.16% of the electorate. 

A large chunk of constituencies are safe seats, and safe seats are just that - safe seats.
Nothing changes. Admittedly, things are more changeable this election, a bit more unpredictable, but there are still a lot of safe seats.

Please Know This: In safe seats, your vote has no effect in choosing an MP. It's a done deal. S/he is already chosen. In safe seats, the vote is just a glorified opinion poll. They might as well hold elections in safe seats only every 10 or 15 years, and save taxpayers' money, since that is all Tories care about.

Lots of voters already know this. Look at this graph, made by yours truly on a sample of election results in the 2001 election. It shows that turnout is inversely proportional to majority, in other words, the safer the seat, the less people turn out to vote.

Turnout drops by 1% for every 1,200 of majority. Abstainers know the election in their constituency is a forgone conclusion, so they stay at home and waste their precious vote. It is tragic to throw away the only tiny scrap of democratic power that our defective political system offers us. 

The best thing an intelligent, sentient being can do with his/her vote in a safe seat is - vote Green, because it is about seeing humans' place in the broad scheme of things, about taking a long view, not just who gets the next 5 years doing deals with multinational corporations. Even though, like all other votes in a safe seat, it will not change the MP, the Green vote does affect how other parties value green concerns.

Hope this helps.

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