Saturday, 1 March 2014

Vote to make your vote matter!

The majority of people who voted in the 2010 UK General Election did not receive the representation that they voted for. This is appalling. How can a country be a democracy if the majority of people who took part in the vote are ignored? How can we expect Westminster governments to not only reflect the people, but to represent their wishes?

The simple conclusion is that we can't. The First Past The Post system which the UK uses doesn't spread power, it concentrates it to a handful of constituencies. Instead of criticizing this faulty system, interest groups including the BBC celebrate it with interactive features.
Not everyone can have the candidate or party they want feature in their parliament, but this should be in the minority of cases, not the norm. Everyone should feel that their vote counts, regardless of where they live. The sum result of all this is that 'In Britain’s first past the post electoral system, some votes are worth 22 times more than others'.
So what is the alternative? In Scotland we have a more proportional system. Where the UK only represents 47% of the population, the Scottish Parliament reflects the wishes of 89%. 68.4% of voters in Argyll and Bute were ignored by Westminster in 2010. In the same area only 14.30% didn't receive representation at Holyrood.

This increase in relevance is why independent candidates and smaller parties are capable of winning representation in Scotland. They encourage positive voting as they seek of provide something that the others don't. In Westminster campaigns we are constantly told that we need to keep the other side (be it Labour or Tory) out. At Holyrood, the parties need to say what they would offer. This lessens the value of negative campaigning and can only improve our politics. It also means that no party is guaranteed to return to power (which unfortunately is the case at Westminster).
Independence ensures that our votes always matter. It offers us more choice and more control. It makes it difficult for special interest groups to dictate how our country is run by breaking the duopoly on power which has gripped Westminster. A Yes vote is a vote for a more democratic country, and offers an opportunity for anyone to get involved. We've seen so many fantastic new speakers emerge from the independence campaign, including Allan Grogan and Saffron Dickson, and these people have a chance to flourish if we have the powers of a normal nation.
1 Yes vote will make sure your vote always matters, don't let it go to waste!
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