The results are in for yesterday’s General Election. The Conservative majority was a big surprise but also of note is the fact that UKIP tallied almost 4-million votes whilst only getting a single MP. In contrast, the SNP got less than half the number of votes but have over 50 times the number of MPs.
Equally, the Liberal Democrats who were the biggest losers last night with only 8 MPs left actually got 50% more votes than the SNP, last night’s biggest winners.
This is the First Past The Post System in action.
What would the results have looked like under a Proportional Representation system? That’s a method under which MPs are allocated simply based on how many votes each party gets. Here’s a breakdown… Continue reading
In preparation for tomorrow’s general election, I had been planning a spin-free comparison of the key policy differences between the main parties. A simple list of how much each party would spend or cut in what areas, what laws they would change and such like.
Unfortunately, this has proved very difficult and in many cases impossible. And that’s because none of the parties have actually said what they’re going to do. Their manifestos lack even the most fundamental details of how they would allocate money.
The Conservatives, for example, are planning the greatest reduction in spending of the main parties but the policies they detail in their manifesto would result in a net increase in spending. In other words, they’ve told us about the good stuff but not the bad.
Similarly, one of the Labour Party’s key strengths is supposed to be the NHS but they don’t actually say how much they would spend on it. They also detail all the give aways in their manifesto and few of the take-backs.
And before this makes you run off to UKIP or back to the Lib Dems, none of the other parties are any better.
I don’t agree with Russell Brand’s conclusion that people shouldn’t vote but, for anyone intending not to do so, this deliberate obfuscation by all parties is probably reason enough. It is a disservice to democracy and to the parties’ shame.
In recent months there has been some discussion around the idea of a “sugar tax” to help reduce obesity rates. My hunch is that such a tax would leave a bitter after taste.
The Obesity Problem
First, some background. People in the UK are getting fatter. Although we live in a free country in which you are quite entitled to weigh whatever you want, increasing obesity rates are generally deemed to be a bad thing because it leads to other health problems, shorter life expectancy and more expense for the NHS. Of particular concern are the rising obesity levels among children who may have less say in their diet.
There are no doubt some who would argue that this is not a problem for the state but I suspect most people think this is something that we should address. The question is how this is best done. One proposed answer is a tax on sugar.
At the end of the previous parliamentary session, some significant changes were made to the constitution of this country and you probably didn’t hear about them. News outlets widely ignored them and you’ll struggle to find anything much on Google either. But changes there were.
They may not impact your daily life directly but I still think they are significant and noteworthy.
The reforms related to our nation’s Upper House, The House of Lords, and as I understand them, are as follows: