Letter to the Editor: You should not need a crystal ball to vote!

27 Mar 2024
Ballot paper with vote for Liberal Democrats

Dear Editor

You should not need a crystal ball to vote!

I read with interest, and sympathy, your published letter from Penny King.

It should not be the case that anyone has to ‘hold their nose’ and vote for the “less bad” option in an election. Unfortunately, the UK shares with those bastions of democracy, Belarus and Russia, a first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system that enables politicians to win power and without a majority of the voters’ support.

Until the voting system is reformed it will take 866,000 votes to elect a Green MP, 336,000 a Liberal Democrat, 51,000 for a Labour MP, 38,000 for a Conservative and only 26,000 for a Scottish National Party MP. Our voting system is clearly and obviously unfair.

I believe that the Liberal Democrats have, in Mark Wooding, an excellent candidate for the Westminster seat of Central Devon. I believe we have an excellent set of policies for government. It should be the case that people choose Mark for his qualities as a person and the policies he supports. But that will not be how the forthcoming General Election will play out. If voters do not want a Conservative MP they will have to discern (no easy task) who of the other candidates is best placed to win. With a clear majority of local Councillors we believe we have a strong case; no doubt Labour and the Green Party do as well. The outcome may still be that the vote ‘splits’ and the Conservative is elected.

The ’tactical vote’ is further complicated by the Labour Party’s attitude to electoral reform. They are content to continue with the FPTP system; perhaps not surprising given that it seems likely to return them with a huge majority. So, do you vote tactically for Labour knowing that without reform the yo-yo system of FPTP will inevitably lead to a future huge Conservative majority?

The Liberal Democrats and Green Party are committed to electoral reform. At Mid Devon District Council last month both parties voted through Motion 604, sent to HM Government and the Labour Party calling for a change in our outdated laws and to enable Proportional Representation to be used.

If you are committed to changing our democracy for the better, then your tactical vote should be for one of the two. Of course, you must then assess which of the two candidates is best placed to win. We should not need a crystal ball to participate in democracy. We should be able to say ‘I like this candidate, but if they are not elected my preference would be for that candidate, then that one’. It’s time for change, both of the government, but more importantly our electoral system.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Steve Keable

Mid Devon Council Portfolio Holder for Planning & Economic Regeneration

Taw Ward