LETTER: Genuine claim to a mandate
Whilst fully endorsing your views on democracy, I take strong issue with your cursory dismissal of second preference votes in favour only of FPTP (County Times Comment May 12).
In the case of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections, Katy Bourne did have the most individual votes but only 42 per cent of the votes were cast for her – ie 58 per cent voted in effect against her.
However, after taking into account the second preference votes, she had a clear majority of 62 per cent of votes cast.
Now this is democracy and she can genuinely claim a mandate from the electorate.
Unfortunately, this cannot be said for Parliamentary elections. FPTP was fine when there were only two major parties but over the last 40 years or so, we have seen the growth of a number of political parties till we now have five, not counting the National Parties in Scotland and Wales affecting the ‘balance’.
We have also experienced divisive and controversial policies by in effect minority governments; certainly in terms of the electoral votes even if it did translate into a majority in the House of Commons.
Most governments in this era have usually gained only 35-40 per cent of the votes cast meaning 60-65 per cent of the voting electorate were against that government and its policies.
Nevertheless, these governments contrive to make the claim they have a mandate from the electorate!
This is not democracy; it is nothing less than the imposition by a minority of its own agenda, pet projects and policies against the wishes of the majority.
Sometimes, fortunately the groundswell is such that the government has to do a U-turn (the latest being turning all schools into academies to take them out of local authorities’ control, ie privatising education) but this action is only necessary because it is a minority government and it’s not having a true mandate from the people.
Highfield Gardens, Rustington
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