So the General Election’s on Thursday…

Come along kind of quickly I think.

If you’re in the UK, I hope you’re going to vote this time, even if you’re opposed to the current political system.

There’s a really simple reason why it’s worth it – this time around it looks like voting reform has a good chance following the election. The Liberal Democrats look like they may hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, and one of their main aims is certain to be voting reform. The lower a percentage of the popular vote that the main parties have, the less valid that maintaining first past the post becomes. Bear in mind that they won’t be talking about percentages of the electorate, they’ll be talking about percentages of the vote. Stay at home, spoil your ballot, and you simply don’t count as far as the political analysis is concerned.

At this point, you might be saying your vote’s worthless. I’m not going to lie to you, there’s a fair chance it is. Have a look at Voter Power Index here, and see what your vote’s worth. Mine’s worth 7.8% of a vote, but I’ll still be voting – see the paragraph above for why. Saying that, about 20% of the constituencies have a majority which is less than 5% of the electorate. We’re looking at the possibility of movements from party to party, and from non-voters to the parties, and from each party to non-voters. It’s going to be interesting. I’ve been fiddling with the data from The British Parliamentary Constituency Database 1992-2005 (link), and put together something rough to play with all those swings in an Excel file here. Change the percentage values on the references page, and the seat totals should change. Just a bit of fun.

Hell, you might even be saying you’re not even sure who to vote for – have a look at Vote Match here. Personally, I’d rather you vote for the Lib Dems, but over that I’d rather you just vote. If you want a read of them, I’ll link the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem manifestos here.

“Come on, this is all rubbish – it’s not going to be a hung parliament…” That would be why the Tories have been screaming about how terrible it would be with a hung parliament, rather than focussing on reasons to vote for them. That would be why Labour have been alternating between begging people not to abandon them, and suggesting tactical voting would be a good idea. That would be why both of them have been saying that a vote for the Lib Dems will let the other one in.

What have the Lib Dems been saying? “Vote for what you believe in.”

And at that, I’ll leave it, even if it means you vote for someone else.

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