IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

A broken system

18 May, 2018

• ON May 3 only 38.36 per cent of Islington residents took part in 16 ward first-three-past-the-post elections, resulting in the return of 48 councillors. These local council elections saw a similar turnout to 2014.

Only in places, Highbury East (48.98 per cent) and St George’s (44.65 per cent) where Green teams actively campaigned, did electors find an alternative worth turning out for.

The only other ward where more than 40 per cent of people turned out was in Hillrise (43.32 per cent), where the Women’s Equality Party put up a candidate.

Astonishingly, 78.9 per cent of the votes were wasted: cast either for losing candidates or for winning candidates above and beyond the amount needed to win in a particular ward; they had no impact on the final result of the local election. This was an increase on 2014 local elections 75.8 per cent.

Not a single vote for a Liberal Democrat, the Conservative Party, Women’s Equality Party, Ukip, Democrats and Veterans and the Socialist Party counted towards getting an elected representative.

Labour must remember that while they may have almost all of the seats, bar the single opposition Green Councillor Caroline Russell, they govern with only less than a quarter of Islington electors’ consent.

First Past the Post fails winners and losers alike, we need proportional representation at local and national level now.

Thus I urge readers to support Make Votes Matter and the Electoral Reform Society which campaign for electoral systems that are fit for purpose, reduce wasted votes and increase turnout.

Alas, as an EU citizen this local election may have been the last one that I may participate in as a candidate and voter, although I do look forward to taking part in next year’s proportionally representative European elections, whether UK leaves the EU or not.

ERNESTAS JONAS JEGOROVAS
Highbury East Green Party Candidate
Islington Green Party

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