Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.


Vote Is Democracy Fair?

The great war time leader, Winston Churchill, once said: "democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried". he was seldom wrong in his political thinking, a sound working democracy ensures tyrants and despots do not have the chance to come to power. Sadly, through history and events today, there have been far too many despots in charge.

People often debate how democracy can be improved and made more representative to the people, our current first past the post (F.P.T.P.) voting system comes in for much criticism as very often those who vote for a particular party often finish up with the opposite to what they voted for. In a safe Labour seat, all the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and other voters can vote for years - up to the day they pop their clogs, and never have an MP for the party they support. It is the same for Labour voters in safe Tory seats. And, if like me, who spent from 1996 to 2019 with 23 years campaigning and standing in elections, first for the Referendum Party then UKIP, with limited success, the only time my vote actually counted was during the European elections which were done under proportional representation (P.R.).

There are many who are now pushing for our voting system to be by P.R. and claim it would be more representative, but would it? I must admit when, as a UKIP candidate and activist, especially after the 2015 general election, I was seriously tempted by P.R.. Had that election been by P.R. UKIP would have achieved over 80 MPs in the House of Commons, not just the one that finally made it under the F.P.T.P voting. This would have seen UKIP with far more MPs than the SNP who, due to the quirky way our voting system works, took all but three of the 59 Scottish seats with fewer votes nationally than UKIP. Looking at this it does make people wonder just how fair our voting system is.

However, despite this, I still worry about introducing P.R. for our elections. The reason being is due to looking at most of Europe which uses P.R. in their elections. The difference with the UK and the rest of Europe is most of their government are all made up of coalitions as there are seldom any clear winners. Due to this smaller political parties that under the F.P.T.P. system who never get elected suddenly find themselves with a great deal of influence. They can then make unreasonable demands for laws that few want and threaten to pull out of the coalition if they do not get their way, which would then see the collapse of the government. Italy in particular, due to its P.R. voting has had almost as many governments as there have been years since World War II. Do we really want that here?

The beauty of our our current voting system means there can be an election on a Thursday and by midday to early afternoon on Friday a new PM, or returning PM, will be standing at the podium making an acceptance speech outside that famous door in Downing Street. But this, of course, does not satisfy all those who did not vote for the newly elected government, of which after many elections could be more than those who did vote for that government. However, when you look at the current situation in Scotland, due to not achieving an overall majority Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, was forced to create a coalition with the minuscule Green Party who achieved just a small percentage of the vote. This means the tiny Green's have a massive say while all the Scottish Conservative and Labour voters have no say - how can that be democratic?

Even though, for most of my voting life I supported and voted Tory, until John Major as the Conservative leader and PM destroyed that party, which drove me first the the Referendum Party and then for many years to UKIP, I have long wondered if the party system could be eradicated and instead there could be a Parliament of individuals with no links or allegiances to any party whose primary duty is to serve their constituents. Sadly, under the party system with its Whips MPs are under orders to toe the party line and woe betide them if they rebel. This means for all MPs, other than the odd few independent MPs, who are quite rare, none of those elected to represent the interests of their constituents, seldom do. Sadly, most MPs put the interests of their party first.

A classic case of this was with my own Labour MP who was a EU remainer. Despite over 60% of her constituents voting to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, she was one of the rabid pro-EU baying pack in Parliament doing everything to overturn the democratic will of not only the nation, but even worse, she wanted to snub the democratic vote of her own constituents too. How could she claim to represented anyone in her constituency? Sadly, by her anti-democratic actions she proved she only represented her own pro-EU fanatical views and the Labour Party, which too had campaigned against leaving the EU and for Britain to become a free, sovereign, democracy once again. When I sent her an email to point out she no longer represented her constituents and as such she should stand down to let someone who respected the democratic will of the people in her constituency be elected, the reply I got back was: "Hello Derek, nice to hear from you"! In other words, just like her contempt for all her other constumbents, she did not want to take any notice of me as well. What arrogance.

The problem I have pondered for a long time, if there are no longer political parties, just individual MPs, how do you make or form a government? All parties have their leaders who, upon being elected into office, picks a cabinet and all the ministers of state. Without the party system this is not possible, then it came to me how to overcome this situation.

The way my idea for a fully independent government and Parliament to come about is to hold elections in two parts. Firstly a general election would be held to vote for a Parliament of fully independent MP's. Those who stand for election are on their own and have to organise their own campaigns and raise their own funding, either from their own resources or from supporters. I personally would retain the current system of constituent nominations and £500 deposits, which would be, as now, refundable for any candidate who achieves 5% or above of the vote. The voting would be done either by first past the post or the transferable voting system where the electorate have a first and second choice vote, this would be done on a constituency basis and the person with the most votes becomes the MP for that constituency. That's the easy bit.

Once we have a Parliament of 650 MPs, or 600 as now proposed with boundary changes, then the process for forming a government begins. Those newly elected MPs, if they fancy their chances, can then put their names forward for one of the cabinet minister posts from Prime Minister down. This then would be followed by a second national vote, possibly two or three weeks after the first election. During the period between the two polls, to ensure we still have a working Government, the current PM and all ministers would stay in place until the second election has taken place. Rather like American Presidents and President's elect, we would have a Government elect.

For those who decide they want to stand to be elected as the PM, Chancellor or any of the other cabinet positions, they can only choose and commit to one of the posts needed to be filled, they would have to pay a £5000 deposit and get nominations from other newly elected MPs. On voting day the people would face what would be their most complex voting as the ballot papers would have a list of the cabinet positions needed to be filled with the names of all the candidates for that particular post against them. The voter would have to vote for one candidate only for each of the cabinet posts. For those who go to their local polling station to vote they would need to stand for a while putting crosses in all the boxes to vote for one person in each of the cabinet posts.

When the national count has taken place those with the most votes would then take the posts they had been elected to. Once the cabinet was in place they could collectively decide who takes the jobs of junior minister and lesser positions. This way the people would not only have MPs whose only duty is to serve their constituents, but they would have also elected their own Prime Minister and the rest of the cabinet.

Obviously, all of this is a dream that will never come about, first it is a far more complex way to elect our Government, but secondly, what political party would be mad enough to campaign and vote to get shot of itself. The only political parties in history that have took this politically suicidal approach was, for many years, UKIP whose MEPs campaigned to get themselves the sack, followed for a short time, by the Brexit Party. The party system will continue and people will still, more often than not, be frustrated by the actions of their MPs and Governments which they never voted for. 

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