Safe seats and a General Election

Its been a while, I suppose I have been too busy to stop and write, my world accelerated as the sales role I have now provided new challenges.

I also think something has snapped in my head, perhaps it’s a midlife crisis that’s occurred. Now I support over 60 customers, attend Tae Kwon Do lessons four times a week, have fun at three roller discos a week and tutor 4 in Maths and Physics as well as play with horses every other week.

It was during one of the roller discos that I thought about the crazy situation our political system enables, that of the ‘safe seat’.

Our local MP, Dominic Grieve, states proudly that he has been the Conservative MP for Beaconsfield since 1997, yet he lives in Hammersmith, is rarely active in local issues and certainly is not providing leadership. I often, as do many, wonder what he does.

Beaconsfield has been Conservative forever, I suspect it always will be. So whomever the party put in this political ward is here until the party get bored (I suppose) or the person does something abhorrent.

Yet, this cannot provide the population of Beaconsfield with a choice when it comes to voting. I think if nobody turned up and voted the Conservatives would still keep the seat.

I don’t believe anyone should ever have a safe seat. It does not drive the person to excel. They could no nothing and would still have the position.

I think we should all ask for a change in the electoral system, one that depersonalises the selection.

If we voted for a party to rule the country, based on their manifesto and our experience of what they deliver. Then once chosen the person could be voted to be the MP to represent the party in the political ward.

Then the seat would be safe for the party but unsafe for the individual and if they wanted to be sure to stay in power they would have to engage the population in all they do.

In Beaconsfield, since 1997, we’ve had no choice. The same person has been MP every year. The same person brings nothing fresh, creative or passionate to the table. The same person has not even lived in the town.

I know it’s not going to change but that does not mean I think it shouldn’t be voiced. I really think it’s time for political reform, to have the party and the person vote uncoupled. Then perhaps, we can get away from this coalition governing which seems to colour the modern political landscape.

… I left this post in my drafts, five years later I have figured out the solution. Well, I figured it out a few years ago, but did not have time to write.

It’s very simple, every party standing for election has to put at least two candidates forward. The party vote is the sum of the votes for all the candidates in the election and the winner is to the one with the most votes in the winning party. Outcome, all candidates are in competition and all candidates have to work to keep the seat.

Now will this every be the change, no. Because those in safe seats have a job for live and a state pension at near full salary for their retirement. It would take a revolution to make such a change and that is not something for the 21st Century.

Some parties, Liberals included, are pushing for proportional representation, however this still causes safe seats and on its own is not a solution. Who will be so brave as to make the abolishment of safe seats and election manifesto item?

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