Illustration by Hannah Robinson
This election will be the first time I vote in a general election. However, I am simply unable to vote for the party I want to vote for.
General elections in the UK use the two-party majoritarian system called First Past the Post (FPTP), where the winning party is the one that gains the most seats overall, based on individual elections in each constituency. FPTP is argued to be the simplest electoral system; voters vote for one candidate who will represent them in Parliament. However, today I will argue FPTP is inherently undemocratic.
Inarguably, this election comes at some of the most divided times in our country’s history. This division in opinion is reflected by the fact that in this election we have over nine parties standing for election. Yet we have a two-party system meaning that only one of two parties is capable of winning the overall election and forming a government.
In Scotland, our political system is just as divided as the rest of the UK, potentially even more so. Despite the fact that the 2014 Scottish independence referendum resulted in a vote to remain part of the UK, the Scottish Nationalist Party remain the biggest party in Scotland.
It is because of this that I cannot cast my vote for a party of my choice in this election. In my home constituency of Stirling, a Conservative MP was elected for the first time in 20 years; and it was one of the closest results in the country. The current conservative MP beat the SNP candidate with a majority of just 148 votes. In terms of vote share, the Conservative candidate received 37.1%, whilst the SNP candidate received 36.8%. By comparison, Labour got 22.1% and the Liberal Democrats got 3.4%.
As a result, to avoid re-electing the Conservative MP and thus facilitating a dodgy Brexit deal or a hard Brexit, I must vote SNP… and I am not even an independence supporter.
Since I was nine years old we have had a Conservative Government in Westminster, and since I turned ten we have had an SNP Government in Holyrood. From a young age, I have seen the impact of austerity in my school and in my community.
The UK is the fifth richest country in the world yet there are four million children in the UK living in poverty (a rise of 500,000 in the past five years). In Scotland ¼ children live in poverty . In-work poverty is at its highest rate ever and is rising faster than employment.
This country cannot afford another government that fails to address these problems. And yet, because of the FPTP voting system, I must vote for the SNP in this election.
Despite not necessarily being an independence supporter, the SNP have a strong stance in favour of a second referendum on Brexit. Any form of Brexit will be hugely damaging for our economy, our environmental standards, and our people; the most vulnerable in society will be the most adversely affected.
So, in this election my vote will be lent to the SNP. It is not an endorsement of Scottish Independence or any other SNP policy, but it is a stance against Brexit. FPTP is not suitable for modern democracies but our country cannot afford another Tory government. I encourage you to tactically vote however that may be.