A progressive majority for change

All three parties got a bloody nose in the 2010 general election. The public have voted for a progressive majority and want change to the electoral system.

The public have given Britain’s main political parties a bloody nose. Neither David Cameron, Gordon Brown, nor Nick Clegg had a good night. The mainstream media were also taught a lesson about the “presidentialisation” of British politics.

The public have made it abundantly clear that now is a time for cooperation and coalition. They have also given their support to a progressive majority calling for a change to electoral reform.

Last night’s results are still coming in but we can start to piece together some of the pieces:

• the Tories are the largest party but are likely to be 20 seats short of an overall majority;

• the Tories have won fewer seats than in 1992, 1987, 1983, 1979, 1970, 1959, and 1955;

• there are three progressive votes for every two conservative votes – the combined Labour and Liberal Democrat vote is currently 14.6 million compared to 10.2 million for the Tories;

• if the exit polls are correct, Labour and the Liberal Democrats will have more seats together than the Conservative party;

• the “Other” parties make up 5 per cent of the vote and 26 seats, only eight of which (the DUP representation) are natural allies of the Conservative party;

• the electoral system has given the Liberal Democrats 8 per cent of seats from 22.3 per cent of the vote while Labour and Conservative party have been over-represented; and

• the variable swing shows that local campaigns matter more than personalities and the national picture – the leaders’ debates therefore appear to be less important than previously thought.

Online civil society group, 38 Degrees, are polling their members this morning to ask, “What should we do next?” A clear majority of the 1,000+ people who have voted favour fixing the electoral system as a priority. Meanwhile, Power 2010 have launched a petition calling for an end to “broken elections”.

Nick Clegg has said that “our electoral system is broken” but called for David Cameron to “prove that [the Conservative party] is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest”. Unless David Cameron is willing to accept electoral reform, he will not meet that challenge.

UPDATE 11.17:

Next Left have just posted saying that Nick Clegg’s speech “suggests a lack of belief in the arguments for a pluralist, proportional representation political system of which they have claimed to be the primary public advocates.”

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