Soon there is to be an election. If you are like me you have no idea how elections work but pretend that you do so as to not look like an idiot. Because they’re obviously very simple.
I’ve done a guide for myself. Maybe it’ll help you too if you also don’t really get election.
This is about UK elections.
Election is how government. Specifically it is how democratic government.
Democratic is a way of operating a country where all of the little people in the country choose who they want to operate the country. Then whoever is operating the country has to make sure they’re always thinking about how to make the country nice for the little people so they get to carry on operating the country.
There are literally billions of ways of being democratic and there are literally trillions of ways of operating a country. However, wikipedia says the main other ones are:
Where the person or group in charge is a control freak about their country. There are different ways of being controlling which range from behaving sort of democratic but not really listening to not behaving democratically at all! In cases like this the person or people in charge can do whatever they want and don’t even have to try to operate their country, which is good fun for them.
Where there is a bejewelled person in charge and god thinks they’re the bee’s knees. They can be nice or nasty as long as they wear hats. They are in charge until they are dead or don’t want to do it anymore. After that someone else who god thinks is the cat’s pyjamas will take over (there are different ways of determining this).
Where a bunch of friends are in charge. They are normally in charge because they have the most money. They are normally nasty.
No one is in charge! This is rare but might occur for a brief time after a government goes down the toilet. Some small tribal groups may operate on a system where there is no one in charge.
There are others but they are mostly just different names for when people with different jobs are in charge. However, the above are mostly just names for who has the power, there are also lots of names for how goes the power (hence trillions).
The UK is a democracy with a monarchic hat. The government pretends to do everything on behalf of the monarch and the monarch pretends that they are letting them. This state of affairs exists either because the hat is thought to be fetching or because it’s too much effort to take the hat off.
Now we must understand what on earth we’re living in. Politically.
what they want (acts) and services (roads and bins) go down.
what we want (opinions) and money (taxes) and people (election ) go up.
Here is the going down:
n.b. There is a thing called regional authorities which the current government got rid of but it is still hanging around. I’m going to ignore it. I’m also going to ignore the City of London and the Scilly Isles.
If you’re in the UK, you live in one of the orange politiballs, which is operated by your main local service provider. It eats council tax and coughs up roads and bins. They’re all the same despite having different names.
I live in:
- A non-metropolitan district operated by a council. (Cambridge City with Cambridge City Coucil)
- In a non-metropolitan county operated by a county council. (Cambridgeshire with Cambridgeshire County Council)
- In England with no operator.
- In the UK operated by the government and Parliament.
You may find your orange ball is subdivided into smaller orange balls because your main service provider is trying to palm off some work – the smallest balls are called Parish/Community/Town Councils.
Here is the going up:
From my ward in Cambridge (Coleridge) I vote for:
- A councillor from my ward to sit on the city council (city council election)*
- A councillor from my ward to sit on the county council (county council election)*
From my parliamentary constituency (Cambridge) I vote for:
- An M.P. to sit in the House of Commons (general election)
It’s over four years and less than five years since the last election. That means it’s nearly the new election … *gasp* it’s election eve in fact! Quick up to bed, I hope I can get to sleep. The sooner I can get to sleep the sooner it is the election. I snuggle into bed and I am over eighteen years of age and I am soon fast asleep, dreaming of the local brown or grey church/village/town hall with its mealy curtained booths of potential. Jump into the grotty little hall … hang on … where’s the detailed analytical infographics and informative video guides? It’s just a dark room with some old people in it. I guess it’s all in the booth. Jump into the grotty little booth with my own personal paper of power … but there’s just a pencil and small wooden ledge in this booth … and nothing on this paper but boxes and faceless names. How can I decide anything when I’ve been given nothing. No one’s ever told me anything about elections … what’s this extra paper? … local election???
See, now you’re in trouble. You’ve fudged the election. But luckily for you it was just a bad dream and you’ve actually done a whole month of exhaustive research into all of the candidates and party policies and you’ve decided which ones match your opinion on the country. And you know what a local election is and care about it. So you go and mark your papers and put them in a box and it’s marvellous.
But you’ll never get a report on how your little paper did. How did it do? Who knows.
how did it do
Little paper means different things depending on what sort of system it’s getting itself into. There are different sorts of voting systems and sometimes we even get to vote for them.
Blue person won even though most people chose the other colours.
You also get a tactical voting bonus because the person you actually like is the green person but nobody else likes them so you knew they wouldn’t win and there was a chance purple might win if you didn’t vote blue and you really really hate the purple person.
As this is a general election blue person now toddles off to London to sit in their seat and vote for some acts with loads of other blue people that most people didn’t vote for and because most of the seats have blue people in them the blue party gets a winning bonus which means they get to make the government and stuff their blue people into the cabinet to make up acts.
To find the other winners the numbers must be played with. In order to win, candidates needs to get a certain number of votes (let’s say 800) and the blue person got 850. Your vote was the 813th one and so your vote doesn’t actually go to the blue person. It goes to the green person, your 2nd choice. All of the blue votes from 801 to 850 get given to their second choices.
Another candidate has not yet passed 800 so all of the yellow person’s loser votes go to the 2nd choices (unless the 2nd choice was blue, then it goes to the third choice). After that the purple person has got 810 so the purple person has won too and the purple votes from 801-810 get redistributed. Now the red person has won too. They are the three positions all won and blue can gang up with red against purple because they both really really hate the purple person.
What that means is that blue party is actually not completely the best. Like in the single transferable vote there are more positions to fill in this election. So here the blue winner of the person vote totally wins. But all of the party votes are added up and then the remaining positions are dished out proportionally, so if blue party got 30% of the party vote they will get 30% of the remaining positions. Sometimes both of the votes on the paper are added and then the total positions are dished out proportionally to the total votes, with the person who won the person vote definitely getting a position.
But what people get the extra positions? The parties have lists of favourites.
In this election it looks like blue, purple and red party could all get some positions. Green and yellow probably not. It’s good the blue person you voted for won but it’s a shame you threw away that green party vote. You never know though, there was a chance it might’ve worked!
You vote for a party and all of the votes get added up then the positions get assigned proportionally. You vote from your constituency but, as this is for EU voting, it is bigger than your parliamentary constituency. There are only 12 European Constituencies in the UK. There are different amounts of positions available in each constituency. You don’t know the people you are voting for, they come off of the favourite lists. After the election the winners toddle off to Europe to vote for acts.
That’s literally absolutely everything there is to know about UK election.
Book is awaiting some feedback and then it’ll need to get online but it should be around sometime soonish…
Until then though you can still read the first quarter here.