Stuff explained Sunday: the problem with First Past the Post


A few weeks ago, I had my monthly meeting with the NEON action learning group for young campaigners. As we were waiting for people to arrive, we ended-up talking about constituencies in London that could (quite ironically) end-up with a Conservative MP because of young, left-wing people voting Green.

The Guardian wrote about it quite extensively; below you can see data on the percentage of left-leaning votes that could go towards the Greens:


Green voters tend to be younger, socially liberal and economically leftwing university graduates- highly educated but not necessarily high-earning. They are the people who wouldn’t vote Labour because they see it as not left wing enough, or not pro-immigrant enough, or not pro-human rights enough; who wouldn’t vote Lib Dem because of their coalition with the Conservatives and who wouldn’t ever consider voting Coservative at all.

Then- how come their voting for the party that they most prefer may mean their getting the one they least prefer? The answer may be that British voters are no longer happy with a two-party system; but we still have an electoral system that only works with two-party systems and ensures a two-party system is all we can get.

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