miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... but I think the disgusting spectacle of politicians of all stripes grubbing over the votes of racists, by pretending to understand their "genuine concerns about immigration" might be caused by our first past the post electoral system.

Let me explain.

In the last few days there has been more than one piece on Lib Dem Voice which might as well, as Andrew puts it, have been entitled "Immigrants: Threat or Menace?". One of them was written by Vince Cable. Vince sodding Cable, who, lets not forget, was married to a lady from Goa. Vince is clearly not racist. Yet he still feels like he has to listen to racists' "genuine concerns about immigration".

Why?

Because in our electoral system, each seat is winner takes all. There are no prizes for second place.
52% of the electorate just said, effectively, that they have "genuine concerns about immigration". Sure, some leave voters voted for a lexit; some were genuine Liberal Internationalists who want us to trade more with the rest of the world; etc. But those deluded people have been shanghaied into the media narrative that they hate furriners.

Now you might, quite logically, think that if the vast majority of politicians are grubbing over the vote of 52% of the population, it'd be sensible for one party to cater exclusively to the 48%. If (say) five parties are fighting for a share of 52% but just one has 48% to itself then that one party is in clover, right? Mathematically speaking?

If we had STV you'd probably be right. But under FPTP, where the winner takes all in each seat, it's not quite that simple. Our electorate is used to voting tactically, so while that 52% ought logically to divide itself up between the "concerned about immigration" vote according to other factors, in practise people who have this as their top concern look at which one of the several options is most likely to win where they live and plump for that one (obviously not every voter decides like this, but enough of them do that it's safe to ignore the minority who vote on principle).

Thus whatever is the minority opinion on a given subject, even if it's quite a large minority like 48%, is pretty much guaranteed to be ignored by all politicians of all parties because the one thing all politicians have in common is that they want to win. This leads to voters of all stripes feeling disenfranchised and resentful, because there is no voter who agrees with majority opinion on everything, and this leads to ugly politics.

TL;DR: we really need STV. It's not a panacea, but it'd certainly help.
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