I voted Labour. Everyone I know who actually voted, voted Labour (unless they voted Green, which is not voting). Except, a lot of people I know who voted haven’t told me who they voted for. They voted Conservative. And I think that is the cause of the protests; because the Conservative voters are quieter, no one thinks that’s what anyone voted for. Because the public pro-Conservative voice is so quiet, in the back of many people’s minds is the idea that the vote was rigged some how. Which is was.
I didn’t want The Conservatives to win. And we have a term for people like me in politics: “tough shit”. The Conservatives won, now is time to shut up about ‘not being heard’ and get on with it. Half the people claiming not to have been heard are the Russell Brand audience, and if you didn’t vote you don’t get to complain. If you don’t place an order, you get what you’re given.
An unnerving number of people voted UKIP. In fact, the number of people who voted UKIP has been used as an excuse to block any discussion about other voting methods (anything other than our current first-past-the-post approach). But our current voting system is what rigged our vote. Every other system of voting we’ve taken the time to consider would have lead to UKIP having more power in this government than they actually do. UKIP got a rather staggering 12.6% of the votes, but only got 1 seat (out of 650).
I don’t want UKIP in power, but if I use that as an excuse to keep the first-past-the-post voting then I am intentionally scuppering democracy and preferring a system that exaggerates my voice. Which brings me to the protestors…
Protesting the Conservatives winning is simply a case of wanting yourself to be overheard. The Conservatives won. In any running of the votes, in any system of counting, The Conservatives won. I don’t like it, but protesting it is flipping off at democracy. You don’t get 1.5 votes because you’re a bit angrier.
I know this sounds a little “democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner…” and I do know how that quote ends: “… and liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting that vote.” So, how do we contest the vote? Proportional Representation.
According the BBC, proportional representation would have stripped a lot of the power from the two major parties. Admittedly UKIP would have gotten more seats, but that’s what we voted for (you strange country of mine). But The Conservatives would have been moderated by a greater Labour and Green Party voice, not to mention The Conservatives simply wouldn’t have the same amount of power.
Those of you who are protesting, the Government isn’t listening. Why would it? It knows you are in the minority precisely because they won the election. And with our terrifyingly binary ‘first to get 50% of the seats’ system, we don’t need to protest austerity, we need to protest the way we vote.
I still think we should vote for Google as our political leader. And I’m not joking. Google has the resources to process a lot of data, from a lot of countries over a lot of time. The history of British, French, American, Nordic (and so on) political decisions and consequences could be loaded up and real, scientific data could be produced on how you actually increase wellbeing, improve employment and run a healthcare system. Google has the power to run a country not on ideology, but numbers and cold, pitiless, indifferent numbers.