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Local Elections, May 6th

March 15, 2021 3:39 PM
By Mark Roberts, Liberal Democrats Unitary Candidate for Amersham & Chesham Bois and Rachel Dineley, Diversity Officer, Chesham & Amersham Liberal Democrats

FPTP Graphic ()

The system is flawed …..but you can still make your vote matter

As every parent knows, one of the first things children learn to say is "It's not fair". Research shows that a sense of fairness is innate in very small children. It is this essential sense of fairness that often guides us in seeking to make good decisions.

How,then, is it that we have continued to put up with a voting system that is inherently unfair? As the attached graphic for Buckinghamshire (2017 Elections) shows, First Past The Post (FPTP) is patently unfair and results in vesting power in one party, to the detriment of the local electorate as a whole.

How can we tackle this imbalance of power and hold the Conservatives accountable, for more effective government, to meet local needs? In Buckinghamshire, at least for the time being, the only way to ensure there is any meaningful opposition to Conservative dominance is to vote for the leading party in opposition, the Liberal Democrats, to secure as many seats as we can in Buckinghamshire Council. Under the current FPTP system, voting for other smaller parties simply strengthens Conservative dominance on the Council and dilutes any opposition.

In the longer term, we must press for Proportional Representation (PR) so that those holding power reflect the electorate and are properly accountable to them. The law already provides for PR in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is only in English local elections and Westminster elections that the outmoded FPTP system prevails. That must change.