Friday, April 23, 2010

Politics and the majority

From the WFA some intelligence from the Conservative Party regarding Wyre Forest. It was the first line that got me thinking though

"Wyre Forest District Council has a minority Conservative administration"
Well yes but it's still in charge, why the fuss? Well to an extent it's the same fuss that politicians kick-up over a hung parliament. To avoid bias the three main political parties of Alphans, Betans and Gammans welcome you to the District of Deltron and its three major towns of Eta, Theta, and Zeta.

The Alphans are strong in the town of Eta and they pledge that should they be elected they'll allocate funds to build a clock in Eta square. This goes down well with most Etanians, but the other towns are less enamoured as Eta already gets the lion's share of funding.

It's the day of voting and everyone in Deltron turns out, the next day the results come in for the 20 seats available on the council. Alphans 9, Betans, 6, Gammans 5. The Alphans are in charge and at the first meeting set the question to allocate funds for the clock. 9 votes for, 11 votes against; next order of business please.

How unfair! The Alphans were elected on this promise and they're being blocked by the minority parties. Things would be much better had they got an overall majority wouldn't it? Think so? Rearrange that sentence to read "Wouldn't it by much better if we didn't have to consider any other constituencies except the ones that voted for us." sound fine now?

It gets worse. Imagine the seats had turned out as 11/5/4 with the Alphans in charge, money for the clock - no problem that's what the majority obviously want. Do they?

To keep things simple the voting for each of the 11 Alphan seats were split 40/30/30, when a Betan won it was 20/60/20, and for a Gamman 20/30/50. Do the maths for the district seats times votes:

Alphans (11*40)+(5*20)+(4*20) = 620
Betans (11*30)+(5*60)+(4*30) = 750
Gammans (11*30)+(5*20)+(4*50) =630

Yep the Alphans are in charge despite having the least support in the District.

So if you ever hear any politician whining about being blocked by other parties or how things would be better with a clear-cut majority. Remember 1) The majority they're talking about is the one that gives them the power and 2) They really are saying "Wouldn't it be better if we could ignore everyone who didn't vote for us".