A while back I was asked to put together a brief talk on electoral reform, and my quirky speaking style immediately jumped to the topic of cake. I like cake, most other people do as well, so I thought I would equate voting to getting a slice of cake at a party.
In this example, I asked the audience to think about what might happen if they were tasked with dividing a cake among attendees at a children’s party, but with an additional reward for the winner(s) of a race. Under our current system, First Past The Post, the division is simple: the whole cake goes to the winner of the race, and every other participant gets nothing. What did I suggest the outcome of this would be?
In short, the cakeless children would be infuriated by this turn of affairs, recognising that this method of division was woefully unfair for everyone and that only the winner would be happy at the outcome. This analogy is fairly good for the elections which happen in each Constituency, as only one candidate will ultimately be returned to Westminster to represent the electorate, and they will have the same authority whether they receive 100% of the vote or tie with second place and then win a coin flip (I wish this was a joke, but it is actually how an MP is chosen when there is a tie).
Continuing the analogy, how could we come up with a system of dividing the cake which is fairer to all participants? As parents, presumably the logical next step is to consider whether it makes sense to simply divide the cake equally, and I would suggest this is indeed a suitable approach in real-world examples. There are other options though, including dividing the cake into equal slices and giving a certain number of slices to each participant in proportion to their performance. This encourages both competition and participation, so it may well be the ideal solution to a competitive event like a vote.
Where the analogy is slightly weaker is when the national representation is considered, but this is largely because children’s parties rarely pit winners of races against one another in any way, but if they did the outcome would likewise be unfair by design.
Essentially the system is designed to be easy to understand and implement, and it is far more likely to produce a majority than not despite the fact that most elections do not result in a majority of the actual votes going to one party. Clearly this system is unfair, and I would argue it is contrary to the basic principles of democracy, in that it is designed to lead to over representation of some parties at the expense of others.
If we want our government to reflect the actual votes cast – in other words if we want proper democracy – then we need to bring in a form of proportional representation to make sure that the government is the one chosen by voters. Doing so would be an acknowledgement that democracy is important to our society and would enfranchise many currently disillusioned voters whose voice currently is completely ignored.
As a final point, I want to reiterate just how bad the current system is by considering a system of electing a government that would actually lead to better representation of the electorate, namely picking our MPs at random from the electoral roll. Mathematically we would expect a sufficiently large sample to accurately reflect society at large. The fact that this is a better system than the one we currently have emphasises just how inadequate our current method of selecting MPs really is.
If you agree with this assessment then the only way to bring about a change for the better is to vote for parties which have wholly committed to bringing in a form of proportional representation. The future of our democracy is ultimately in the hands of the electorate.
Ian, thank you once again for your support. It means a lot.
Thank you so much for [creating this petition] and so amazingly quickly!!!
You did a brilliant job on both the blog and petition. Some of the NHS staff were even impressed with the speed at which you addressed this, and I have had varying positive comments from friends who have read your post.
Hazeena A – Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner Resident
Having worked with Ian I can say that I found him incredibly transparent and honest which I think would be rare and much needed in today political arena. He is also very clever, direct and a great communicator.
Sheena Y, former co-worker
Ian is a very smart individual, but more importantly is honest and truly cares about people.
He is an unselfish individual and would absolutely have the public’s best interests at heart.
Andy H, brother
I met Ian a few months ago for the first time and straight away I felt confortable with him and I thought: ” Ok I would trust that guy”.
Luca M, fellow speakers’ club member
Throughout the 12 years I have known Ian, he has always demonstrated to be very bright, kind and upright. I’ve seen all of these attributes in his personal life, for instance, in our sport association he volunteered as treasurer where he improved the overall system and costs as well as championing charitable giving & generous donations. He’ll definitely make a difference in a bigger role in politics.
Francisco V, fellow jū jūtsu instructor and friend
You have the moral integrity and high standards in all aspects of the requirements of your potential constituents. You will stand up to injustice and defend those deemed to have had injustice against them. You are committed to environmental change and to look after the less well off in society.
Irene H, mother
First and foremost, your personal ethos of kindness and care for others is your top qualification. That you are also highly driven with a need to be productive, and understand very complex matters such as financial systems, makes you stand out.
Graham C, fellow jū jūtsu instructor and friend
You are one of the most principled people that I know. You are committed to making changes that support the most vulnerable in our society and you don’t give up when you know you’re fighting for what’s right.
Unlike the rest of us who are disillusioned with the lack of honesty, morals, and the unfair and outdated ‘public schoolboy network’ displayed by this government, you have decided to stand up and make a difference.
Your constituents couldn’t have a better candidate.
Helen C, Aunt
Having known Ian for a number of years during which we worked closely as Financial Advisers, I am confident that he would make an excellent MP. Ian is an intelligent man who has the ability to absorb, understand and manage complex information quickly; I have, on many occasions, witnessed him do this whilst retaining the ability to explain it, in a manner which is easy to understand.
I have seen Ian display the courage of his convictions on a professional level, where he has put the clients needs before that of the company and have no doubt he would carry this attitude into public life.
Ian and I have disagreed on politics in the past, but he has always listened carefully to any position and taken time to offer a thoughtful response. If he became an MP I am sure his constituents would benefit from an effective and hard working representative.
Miles H, former co-worker