Please vote

20 May

Bad politicians

Every year, in November, we are encouraged to remember the sacrifice made by those who fought and died to defend our freedom and our democracy.

This year there’s no need to wait until November.

There are three elections happening in Newham on Thursday and you have the right to vote in all of them. Going to the polling station and marking an X on a ballot is by far a more meaningful commemoration than wearing a poppy.

  • European parliament: You have one vote, which you can give to the party of your choice. It’s truly proportional, as London’s 8 seats are allocated in direct proportion to the number of votes each party gets: your vote really counts.
  • Mayor of Newham: You can vote for a first choice and a second choice. If no candidate gets 50% of the first choice votes the top 2 go into a run-off and the second choice votes of the eliminated candidates are counted. Those for the remaining candidates are added to their totals and the one with the most votes wins. Your second choice only counts if you happen to have given it to one of the top 2 candidates. It’s a stupid system, but we’re stuck with it for now.
  • Council: You have three votes. Despite what the big parties might prefer you to believe, you can split your votes any way you like. The three candidates with the most votes in your ward win and get to spend the next four years scrutinising the mayor and holding him (or her) to account. At least that’s the theory.

Please vote.

2 Responses to “Please vote”

  1. law27 May 21, 2014 at 06:41 #

    I can understand why some people refuse to vote if no candidate appeals to them or their politics, although I do think in such instances the ballot paper should be spoilt with the words “none of those listed” written across the paper.

    • Martin Warne May 21, 2014 at 08:30 #

      Which is exactly what I did in the 2010 mayoral election.

      In the European election there are something like 23 different parties standing in London, from the far left to the far right and everything in between. You’d be hard pushed to say there was insufficient choice, even for the pickiest voter!

      And in the Newham mayoral election there’s a much better field than last time too. The vast majority of voters could find someone to support if they bothered to take the time.

      Where it’s much worse is in the individual wards. Many are Labour vs Tory vs Christians. Where there are other candidates they are standing alone, so you can’t necessarily find 3 people to give all of your votes to.

      The bigger problem though isn’t lack of choice it’s lack of interest, which is compounded by local politicians failing to engage outside of the election cycle (and even then, it’s only on their terms).

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