Monday 18 May 2015

Mockery of democracy

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It was nine in the evening on Thursday, and the baby sitter arrived on time. By 9.30 pm I was inside St Andrew's Hall a historic setting, and the place where the counting of votes was to take place for the 2015 U.K general election that had been held that very day. 

I was going to do my bit for democracy by helping with the vote counting that would start once the ballet boxes came in after the polls closed at ten o clock that night. My wife was doing her bit as well. She had left the house at six in the morning to work in one of the polling stations that open at seven. It's a long day for her as she wouldn't get home until half ten in the evening, and it's a long night for me as I wouldn't be home to at least six o clock Friday Morning. We have both done it before, although this was my first general election. I have counted votes for the local elections, European elections, Police Commissioners election and a referendum, but never the most important of them all, the general election.

When I arrived there was a seat saved for me by fellow counters that I have got to know over the last few years, and when the first black boxes started to arrival the place just started to buzz. The candidates, and all their party workers were milling about, and at one stage there was nearly a fight as someone from the labour Party mocked someone else from Class War Party. This small motley crew from Class War looked like something from the seventies, and were in mood for polite mockery. I presume it was their leader who reared up at the labourite, and soon there was a melee of bodies pushing each other right in front of my table.

Once the boxes were open everyone went back to their corners and the counting began.

By four thirty Friday morning the count was finished, and now the final throws of democracy were working their magic as the eager hopefuls waited for the final results. It's a strange way to make a living being a member of parliament because you could be very good at your job locally, but if your party is out of favour nationally then you get sacked, and this is just what happened for the Norwich South M.P during the night. When the results were released the Liberal Democrat who had been the M.P lost his job to the Labour candidate. As the Labour winner got to the podium to make a speech a load cheer filled the hall.

When I got home I turned on the television to see the national results, and even though there were still dozens of seats to declare it was obvious the Conservatives had caused the shock of the year by winning the election outright. It was a disaster for the Liberals and for labour, but the biggest winners of the night seemed to be the SNP.

It was when the final vote tally came that it hit me what a mockery the British voting system is. The Scottish National Party and Sinn Fein are two organisations whose ultimate aim is to see the end of the United Kingdom, and they polled 1,600,000 votes which gave them 62 Members of Parliament. The United Kingdom Independence Party polled 3,800,000 votes and only got one Member of Parliament!

Now some of my readers around the world may not be able to enjoy Democratic freedom at all, but for most of you in the western world that does; I think you must agree we British do seem to have a very undemocratic way of voting our leaders into power?

It does make me think that next time I receive a letter asking if I'm still happy to volunteer with the vote counting at the next such event I might have to think twice about if I want to be part of a system that leaves so many people without a voice.



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