It’s undemocratic

Image thanks to Trend Radars

As time goes on I am becoming more and more convinced that this government doesn’t like democracy. Not only has it stamped down on the right to peaceful protest, the very cornerstone of democracy, it has changed the process of the Mayoral elections from a supplementary vote to the undemocratic first past the post. Why? One can only assume because the supplementary vote wasn’t working for them. As it happens their ruse only partially worked. In the four Mayoral elections held on May 4 2023, Labour took three, with one gain while the Conservatives took one, a gain from the Liberal Democrats.

CouncilMayor beforeMayor-elect
BedfordDave Hodgson (Lib Dem)Tom Wootton (Con)
LeicesterPeter Soulsby (Lab)Peter Soulsby (Lab)
MansfieldAndy Abrahams (Lab)Andy Abrahams (Lab)
MiddlesbroughAndy Preston (IND)Chris Cooke (Lab)

The results of the Bedford election were:

Name of CandidateDescriptionNumber of Votes Recorded
ALI, SAQHIB IJTHEHADLabour Party11,568
HODGSON, DAVELiberal Democrat15,602
WOOTTON, TOMConservative Party Candidate15,747

On the face of it, Wooton got the most votes, with 145 more votes than Hodgson but do the maths as they say. Out of the 47,599 people who voted, a third voted for the Conservative candidate. To state the obvious two thirds did not. How can it be democratic when two out of every 3 people didn’t want you to represent them? The answer is it is not. First past the post is an abhorrent system that distorts what we refer to as democracy. The two main parties like it because they can game it to win.

The people of Bedford should be appalled, should write to their new Mayor and their MPs to complain. 

It is entirely possible that Wooton (and the others) would have won under a supplementary vote and that would have been fine as it would have been much more democratic.

For the record, here are the percentages for the other Mayoral elections (spoiler alert, none of them are much better):

  • Leicester, Soulsby 39.3%
  • Mansfield, Abrahams 45%
  • Middlesbrough, Cooke 40.2%

If ever you need to be reminded of how undemocratic first past the post is, just ask the two thirds of the people of Bedford.

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