Selfish reasons for voting "yes"


In my Westminster constituency, Wirral West, we’re stuck with a truly awful MP.

When the boundaries were redrawn before the last election, a seat that Labour had held quite well as a marginal became a Tory seat. It’s not the safest seat in the world, but barring a 1945 or 1997-style landslide (and they don’t come very often) it’s almost impossible to remove the person the Tories chose to be our local MP.

Esther McVey is a horrible person. Well, maybe her family tolerate her, I don’t know. But as an MP, she’s a Gilbert and Sullivan character, Sir Joseph Porter: “I always voted at my party’s call / And I never thought of thinking for myself at all”. According to TheyWorkForYou, she has never once rebelled over anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s never once had a single original thought in her head.

I’ve twice written to her to voice my opinions (having previously lived in actual marginal constituencies, it was always a good thing to do, provoking honest, thoughtful replies and once actually changing my then-MP’s mind). The first time, the letter I got back, eventually, was copied word-for-word from the Tory manifesto with the addition of a paragraph that told me, with good grace, to keep my Commie views to myself in future and fuck off out of it (I paraphrase, but I’ve never been so politely told to get lost before). The second time I wrote, on a different matter, she didn’t even bother to reply.

I think I can safely say that Esther McVey is a party droid, elected to represent the Tories in Wirral West, not the people of Wirral West in Westminster. And she’s permanent. Under the current voting system, she cannot be removed.

And yet, only 42% of the people voting in 2010 wanted her as our MP. 58% of people wanted someone – anyone – else. But our “winner takes all” X-voting isn’t interested in what the majority want. It wants to pick an MP from the largest block, and with Wirral West drawn to contain some very posh areas of Meols and Heswall, the largest block is the Conservative party.

With the Alternative Vote, the 58% of people – the majority – who didn’t vote for Esther McVey suddenly get a choice. People like me, for instance. No longer would this be a safe enough seat that she could fuck me off if I write to her. Oh no: she’d have to at least pretend to listen. She’d have to vote against the government now and again, lest she looked like a party stooge and found that people, handed the power in her seat at last, chose to turf her out.

On the face of it, she still might have won in 2010. She got 42.5%. Labour got 36.3%. The LibDems got 16.8%. The other three (UKIP, ‘Common Sense’ that wasn’t and an independent) hoovered up the remaining 4.4%.

We can probably assume that the right-wing nutjobs who wasted their X-votes on the bottom three would have given their second (or later) preferences to la McVey rather than Labour or the LibDems. So lets be generous and do that transfer now: C:46.9%, L: 36.3%, LD: 16.8%.

Next to be knocked out would be the LibDems. Now, remember this is before the LibDems went all more-Tory-than-the-Tories Orange Book on us. Their transfers would be vital, and this is where it gets interesting. The local LibDems by and large loathe the Tories more than they dislike Labour. Most of their transfers would thus go to Labour… and we wouldn’t have la McVey lording it over her Rotten Borough. If we did, it would be on a very thin majority from transfers and she’d need to be a lot more responsive because this seat would be a lot more valuable to her.

And this is why I’ll be voting “Yes!” with a song in my heart on 5 May. It might not mean the end of having a Tory MP locally, but a yes vote means the end of having a remote, uncaring Tory MP here. I can settle for that.

One comment

  1. Living as I do in a safe Tory seat, I too am very keen for my vote to matter a bit more! Safe seats equal MPs loyal to their party, rather than who they’re meant to represent.

Comments are closed.