Monday, May 17, 2010

The price of success- 2%...

....and a geographically-concentrated support?

Under the FPTP electoral system, the margin between what is heralded as success and failure can be very thin.

In Northern Ireland, the Conservatives and Unionists gained 15.2% of the total votes cast, number of seats won – zero. Failure.

In Scotland, the Conservative Party polled 16.7% of the total votes cast and won 1 seat out of the 59 available. Again, failure.

In Scotland, the Liberal Democrats got just a total extra of 2.1% votes than the Conservatives at the ballot box, 11 seats won, just under 20% of the total.

In Northern Ireland, the SDLP polled 16.5% of the total votes cast, just an extra 1.3% compared to the Conservatives and Unionists, yet won 3 seats.

A Scottish Conservative Party winning 11 seats would have been considered a resounding success, ditto the Conservatives and Unionists in Northern Ireland winning the equivalent 3-4 seats.

The point I’m making here is not an argument for changing the electoral system but instead for keeping a bit of perspective. 15.2% and 16.7% of the total votes cast is disappointing, 1 seat won out of a total potential of 77 is more than disappointing.

But can 18.9% and 16.5% of the total votes cast be considered that much more of success? Yes, it can apparently, didn’t it deliver a total of 14 more seats?


Dilettante said...

This is an argument I'm constantly making to the Little-Englander Conservatives.

O'Neill said...

Making you many new online friends Iám sure;)

You appeared on the English Free Press reading list today btw!