Why is the electorate not
In a recent by-election, turnout was just over 30%. Why so low? How can
we get more people to vote?
* Has the parliamentary system adapted to society as it is today? Our
system was built up in the industrial era, at a time of limited
education and at a time of rigid traditional bonds of place, class, and
institutional social structures. Today's better educated, more affluent.
and socially flexible population expects greater control and choice over
the many aspects of their lives than today's politics provide. The
people have moved on, but the system has stagnated.
* Has the Prime Minister become a President in all but title? Many
people feel that the processes of our democracy do not offer them enough
influence over political decisions -- this includes members of the main
parties, who feel they have no say in policy-making, and are
increasingly disaffected. Power has been removed from Parliament and
from ministers. The Cabinet in London has been stripped of executive
power. The Prime Minister has made himself into an unelected president.
Anyone who steps out of line is either sacked or sent to the House of
Lords and the Prime Minister hands power over to Brussels without
Parliament or the people having any say in the matter.
* Why are our elected representatives held in low esteem and widely
distrusted? The main political parties are considered to be too similiar
and lacking in principle. The electoral system is seen as leading to
unequal and wasted votes. Voting procedures are regarded by some as
inconveneint and unattractive.
The present system of government is divided into five tiers. Four tiers,
each with varying degrees of decision-making authority - represented by
MEPs, MPs, MSPs and Local Councillors, and one tier with no
decision-making authority - represented by Community Councillors. The
system is cumbersome, excessively administrative, costly and therefore
Scottish parliamentry elections use a type of proportional
representation called the Additional Member System (AMS). AMS is a
hybrid system which combines "first past the post" (constituency seats)
with an element of "proportional representation" (regional seats). This
means that the number of seats allocated to parties and individuals in
the Scottish Parliament seeks to reflect their share of the overall
votes cast. The overall system is complicated, confusing to many, and
could result in one party (such as Labour) having a majority of MSPs but
a minority of the total votes cast.
Scottish local government elections use a single transferable vote
system (STV) of preferential voting, providing proportional
representation within a multi-seat ward system. The STV system is
designed to minimize "wasted" votes while ensuring that votes are
expressed for individual candidates rather than for party lists. The
combination of the different national and local voting systems has
created much confusion, contributing to the disenfranchising of many
Some 72% of new regulations in 2009 were imposed on the Scottish people
by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. The Lisbon Treaty effectively
gives, undemocratically, sovereign authority of the United Kingdom over
to Brussels. There is very little accountability within the present
system, at any level.
In Scotland, over 55% of the currently available workforce is directly
or indirectly employed by the state, and generates no wealth. With an
ageing population the wealth generating private sector is struggling to
pay for the expanding public sector. This is an unsustainable situation.
The remedy is to reduce the proportion of directly and indirectly
employed civil servants in the working population. This would allow the
private sector to grow sufficiently to provide the additional tax
revenues required, to provide a well funded social support structure,
and to grow the economic sphere and improve the availability of jobs and
Elections to the Scottish Parliament
An interesting site providing background to our electoral system and
results in the elections.