Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The EU Is Unpopular Because We Don't Like The Voting System

According to Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski during a debate on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill:
Daniel Kawczynski: My hon. Friend mentioned the elections to the European Parliament. If we are going to change any voting system, surely it should be those elections, in which only 30% of the electorate turn up to vote, because they are very unhappy with how we vote for MEPs. Conversely, in our elections the turnout is 70%. Most people are happy with the way they elect us, but not with how they elect their representatives to the European Parliament.

Mr Syms: I am sure that that is the case.
That's right, the turnout is very low because we don't like Proportional Representation; it couldn't be for any other reason could it?

Here's the turnout at EU elections since the first elections in 1979:
  • 1979: 32.35%
  • 1984: 32.57%
  • 1989: 36.37%
  • 1994: 36.43%
  • 1999: 24%
  • 2004: 38.52%
  • 2009: 34.7%
And guess what system was in place before 1999? FPTP


  1. One would have thought that the turnout is low in the European elections because a fair number of people realise that the European Parliament is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

  2. @Mark: Thank you

    @Pogo: A bit harsh at least you can eat a chocolate teapot ;-)

  3. Great post.

    Also, turnout has been lower then 70% at the last three FPTP general elections.

    2001: 59%
    2005: 61%
    2010: 65%

    Local elections are also held under FPTP, but consistently get a turnout under 50% if not held at the same time as a general election.

  4. Good spot TBF.

    It is worth mentioning - other than Kawczynski is a prat - is that any low turnout for EU elections has nowt to do with the voting system but rather that the political class have ensured we don't know too much about the EU. When the GBP does get to know, watch the percentage shoot through the roof!

    Also, we may be happy with the method we elect our MPs - unfortunately the same cannot be said about the quality of those MPs!

  5. It does not matter how we vote
    if those elected treat us with contempt.It most be patently obvious to even the dimmest amongst us,democracy in it's
    current form has little or nothing to do with the aspirations of the
    majority. The present system of representative democracy WILL
    destroy the British Nation within a

    But who cares?

    The Free Corps

  6. @Duncan: Thanks, good point re: general elections, another indication that Mr Kawczynski has a rather loose relationship with the facts.

    @WfW: Agree about the quality of MPs (and MEPs)

    @Anon: It's a depressing, but accurate, question that you ask, in which the answer usually is hardly anyone cares until it's too late.