Today The UK Elects Its Brexit Government.
But if it was a real democracy, there would have been no need for the Brexit referendum in the first place. For years British politicians have railed against Brussels’ “unelected elites” that conspire to take decisions out of their democratically-elected hands.
The EU’s version of democracy is not perfect. Far from it. But not once during the Brexit debate did either side stop to reflect on the sorry state of British democracy.
Any serious democrat would have pointed out that in the UK we have a monarch, an unelected House of Lords and a House of Commons elected using a system actively designed to disenfranchise most voters.
If you are a Labor voter in most of rural England, you might as well stay home. The same applies for Conservative voters in the big cities, not to mention Scotland.
While thoroughly demoralizing for most Brits, polling day is especially bleak for supporters of minority parties like the Greens and Ukip. They loyally trudge to polling stations up and down the UK, safe in the knowledge that their vote counts for nothing and they have no say in how their country is run.
Yes, the First Past The Post system has its up-sides. It has kept fringe racist parties like the BNP out of Westminster and it consistently delivers efficient, majority governments on a minority of the vote.
Today is only the UK’s 20th general election since 1945. Compare that to Italy, with its 64 governments in the last 70 years, and FPTP even begins to look sensible.
Yet the disenfranchisement it causes has poisoned the well of British politics. Left-behind voters, desperate for their voices to be heard, found their impotent rage too easily hijacked by a dishonest and manipulative Brexit campaign.
Under a system of proportional representation, the 2015 general election would have seen 80 Ukip MPs take up seats in the Palace of Westminster; enough to lance the boil of voter frustration before it turned septic but not enough to send Labor or Conservatives running scared.
And crucially, with Ukip a genuine option on the ballot paper, David Cameron would never have had to offer a referendum on EU membership to guarantee victory.
The new arrivals would have snoozed on the backbenches alongside the Tory right while a pragmatic coalition got on with running the country.
When the dust has settled tomorrow and Britain wakes up to yet another majority government elected on yet another minority vote, angry, disenfranchised and demoralized Brits must dare to dream of a future where their vote actually counts.
Take back control by sorting out your democracy.
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