How 'fairness' and 'the Great Ignored' doesn't cover the election itself

By Jonathan Bartley
April 6, 2010

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has today highlighted the unfairness of the current electoral system, where millions of votes will not really count because of the First Past the Post System.

Cameron has today referred to the "Great Ignored", but he does not seem to be addressing this issue. Nor does Brown, with his talk of "a future fair for all", which won't take place under AV either.

This is all the more important at this election because of the correlation between the 'safety' of seats, and the scandal over MPs' expenses.

This is how the 650 seats break down according to ERS:

382 'Safe Seats' – Where a change of hands is "most unlikely"

43 'Marginal 1 Seats' – A Labour seat that was marginal in 2005 but probably won’t be in 2010 because it is highly vulnerable and will probably fall easily

78 'Marginal 2 Seats' – The real front line between a Labour and a Conservative government

45 'Marginal 3 Seats' – Seats Labour could lose if the election goes badly for them, but at the moment are probably likely to remain Labour

15 'Lib Dem long-shots' – Often Liberal Democrat seat gains are not closely related to the apparent vulnerability on the numbers from last time. These seats are ones where a ‘left field’ gain cannot be ruled out, or seats where, despite a fairly small majority over the Liberal Democrats, their chances of winning are not enough to qualify it as a true marginal

75 'Marginals' – Marginal seats held by a party other than Labour, including Con/LD seats, a few Con/Lab seats, SNP seats, LD seats, NI etc

12 '3 Ways' – A three way marginal


The broad point is well made, although the situation could be more complex in reality as people 'rebel'.

Full data available for download here:

[Update: 7th April 14.01: Gaby Hinsliff has taken up this exact point about the 'Great Ignored' today on CIF: ]

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