What’s this all about?
tilt&shift aims to bring a new focus to the issues you care about, in a format that allows you to relax, comprehend and contemplate. We want to provide an overview and highlight overlooked opinions about the things we’re confronted with daily. To do this we’re providing a platform on the website for readers to contradict, correct and contribute to the magazine. We know we’re not always right and enjoy being challenged about our preconceptions. Argue your case and change the direction of our coverage. In this issue we’ve looked at the election, from the basics of our electoral system to the final results and what that means for the country. Our opinions have obviously influenced the production of the content but we wear our bias on our sleeve. We aim to be objective but are under no pretense that we are. If you disagree or feel we’ve skewed the facts let us know and we’ll print it. If we’re a little more honest with each other, maybe we’ll learn something.
Who sits where?
Welcome to Britain where our current electoral system works, in effect, as a two party system. Only the Conservatives and Labour have any chance of gaining a majority. We all know there are more parties, so where do they all stand in relation to each other? Our parties are loaded with historical baggage that can often be the deciding factor as oppossed to their current policies. The historic image of a party can have as great an effect on voting habits as their current perception. Traditonal political vocabulary describes a linear system from left to right, however, this does not accurately depict the current realities of party politics.
Here six of our most prominent political parties are mapped on a political compass. Horizontally is economic policy, left to right, communism to freeâ€“market capitalism. Vertically we have social policy, from authoritarian state control to libertarian, the complete lack of government intervention in our daily lives. The positioning of the parties based on their policies might surprise you compared to their generally accepted image.
To the right are diagrams demonstrating two types of electoral systems, our current system —First Past the Post— and the Electoral Reform Society’s recommended replacement, Single Transferable Vote.
E ST TH A P T FIRS
AM PARLI N I S SEAT
First Past the Post is a very old system and works best when there are only two parties. It works on the basis of single member constituencies where each MP is elected by a plurality, i.e. one vote more than any other candidate. Whoever wins gains a seat in parliament. The party with the majority, 50% + 1, of seats in parliament then forms a government. Unfortunately in our current multi-party system this heavily skews the votes in favour of the two main parties. Single Transferable Vote is a proportional system in that the number of MPs a party has more accurately reflects that party’s share of the national vote. The voter has to fill out a ballot placing the candidates in order of preference. It works on the basis of multi-member constituencies, where a candidate has to receive more votes than a threshold to be elected. The threshold is worked out as the number of positions available + 1 then divided by the number of voters. If a candidate reaches the threshold the remaining votes above this are re-allocated to the voter’s second choice. This process is repeated until all the positions have been filled.
2 3 1
A PARLI N I S T SEA
NSERV ATIVES TARGE T
ED 1 IN
500 VO TERS
IN 200 35% VO5 LABOU TED R
L A S N I E I G C R MA STITUEN CON T ’ N D I D % 5 6
THAT’S FOR 35 THEY N ALL GOT 55% OF THE V EED % OF T OTE TH HE SEA EY TS
SURELY SOMETHING IS WRONG WHEN THE M A J O R I T Y CAN BE I G N O R E D
A Look at the Media
To the right is a chart demonstrating Britain’s main newspapers, their readership and political affiliation. A number of television channels are also depicted to provide a comparison in the reach of different media sources.
N RATIO O P R O EWS C
Y MIR RINIT
PH M A R G E TEL UP GRO
10 O’CL OCK NE
BBC NE CHANNWS EL
TAKE 20% S
DIAN GUARIA GROUP MED
S AT TE
DAILY T E
ITV NEW DAILY M
SKY NE CHANNWS EL
THE GU ARDIAN
DENT N E P E IND T LTD. PRIN
ESS EXPRSPAPERS NEW
DAILY E X
This diagram shows Britain’s top daily newspapers the morning after the third leader’s debate. The area of the front page dedicated to the previous night’s debate and who the newspaper deemed the winner. Below are two polls conducted immediately after the debate to gauge who the public deemed the winner. Compare these with the paper’s bias on the opposing page and draw your own conclusions.
S D TOA N N A U S G G THE D CLE BLE SCRAM
K AN TIMES CLEGG NEC TE
THEERON AND RD TV DEBA CAM AFTER THI NECK
RORPIN! R I M Y DAIL ROVED! S NEW!
L OV PO G U O Y
41% MAAILMERON PURTS Y L I A D VE EC TIV CK O COMBAON THE RA IGRATION CLEGG E AND IMM EUROP
RDIAORNHIS LIFE A U G HE TS F
N FI BROW
F PRESS ESHOLD O
EX HR DAIELRYON ON THET T
THEDON BROW ING GOR OUT FIGHT CAME
CAM ING STREE DOWN
H GRAOPNEY E L E T DAILY ON THE M CAMER
O LUS P POPU
DENNTIGHT N E P E IND N LAST
I voted Conservative and have always been a die hard Tory since I could vote. I fear that Europe would damage our economy and also strangle British agriculture through more misguided, overly bureaucratic legislation. Voting is so important because it’s everyone’s chance to have their say on what the government’s aims should be during their term of power.
I voted for the Liberal Democrats because I agree with a lot of their policies. I also wanted to keep the conservatives out of power. I do think voting is important because it’s a way for people to get their views known. You don’t have a right to moan if you haven’t tried to change the way the country is run anyway.
I voted for Labour as I believe their policies are right to get us through the recession. I think they’ll benefit my local community. I also wanted to keep the Conservatives out. Voting is important because we should all have our say and not leave the country to be run by the rich and powerful.
I chose to do a postal vote and voted for Labour. I wanted to make sure the BNP didn’t gain any ground in my home constituency. Voting’s important to make sure you counted for what you believe in.
Would have voted but couldn’t. I had problems registering as I’ve recently moved house and didn’t realise I could register at university. The Liberal Democrats have talked about creating a British constitution so they’d have got my vote.
I have voted but don’t want to say who for. I believe that it’s important to have your say on whats happening in the country.
I voted for LIberal Democrats. The main issue for me was electoral reform. Besides this Nick Clegg seems the most trustworthy of the party leaders. I haven’t cared about politics in the past but the recession and the US elections have made me take an interest.
I used my postal vote for Labour. I agree with their policies and believe that despite some problems with their recent governing they’ve actually done a lot of good for the country. I believe that voting makes all the difference.
I voted Liberal Democrats because I wanted to vote for a left of centre party but I’m disillusioned with Labour. I don’t think anyone has the right to complain about the government if they didn’t vote.
Yes, I voted for the LIb Dems. They seem like the only credible alternative to the two main parties. Who’s running the government has an effect on your everyday life, it’s important to influence that.
M ARLIA P N I SEATS
307 THE RE OF
With the results finally in, Britain awoke to a hung parliament. What does this mean? A hung parliament occurs when no single party has more than 50% of the seats in the House of Commons. In practice this means that it cannot rely solely on its own MPs to get its legislation through the house.
As can be seen on the left, the allocation of seats in parliament does not accurately reflect the parties’ share of the national vote. Figures —from the guardian datablog— were used to demonstrate how the result might have looked if we had a reformed electoral system. The Alternative Vote, as proposed by Labour, and the proportional Single Transferable Vote, supported by the Liberal Democrats.
H UN G PARLI AM ENT
E AVE B H D L COU
TE LE VO
AB NSFER A R T LE
OTE TIVE V A N R E ALT
The Best Fit
Here we present the policy overlap between the three major parties. If a coalition is on the table you can see who you think would be the best fit.
B DEM I L / E ATIV SION NSERV AN
T EXP IRPOR AY FREEZE A E S OPPO C SECTOR P PUBLI ID CARDS SCRAP MPS FEWER
M LIB DE ING / R U LABO UBLIC SPEND E AIN P MAINT VOTING AGM R LOWE RAL REFOR NCE RISE ELECTONAL INSURA NATIO E EUROP
U LABO / E V I T SERVA
AIL PEED R ER S H G HI AR POW NUCLENT TRIDE
A ALL P
M ECONO N O B AR LOW C PREMIUM L I PUP K DEFICIT SHRIN
TIVE/ A V R E NS
ALITIO O C M DE
A Conservative and Liberal Democrat alliance would have the strongest mandate to vote with such a comfortable majority. The two parties are, however, not the easiest to reconcile. While there are a number of issues they share common ground on, they rest idealogically on opposite sides of the centre.
3 64 Unfortunately, the referendum would not be on an electoral overhaul but for introducing the Alternative Vote system. The system is not an implementation of Proportional Representation and still has many of the problems of First Past the Post. In addition to this fundamental differences between the parties on Europe, defence, the economy, immigration and electoral reform could render any alliance ultimately fragile.
David Cameron has already offered the Lib Dems a coalition and eventually a referendum on electoral reform, this might be the carrot to get the Lib Dems to compromise on their policies and agree.
LITIONNCE” A O C B DEMSIVE ALLIA I L / R S U LABO“PROGRE AND A Labour and Lib Dem coalition on its own would not have a majority and therefore would have little chance of governing successfully. However since the election SNP minister Alex Salmon has changed his mind about supporting such a coalition. He has proposed a “Progressive Alliance” to help bring about true electoral reform. Salmond is offering SNP and Plaid Cymru support, an extra 9 MPs, bringing the numbers to 324. With the green MP Caroline Lucas, the SDLP and an Alliance MP from Northern Ireland, their share of Parliament would rise to 329 seats.
M S FOERNT E V I T RVA ERM CONOSERITY GOV MIN
If the Conservatives cannot agree with either party, Cameron could try to govern under a “confidence and supply” arrangement to avoid the daily fear of collapse if opponents blocked legislation. It would involve the Lib Dems and other minority parties promising to back the budget and the Queen’s speech in exchange for agreements on other legislation. “Supply” refers to bills required for the government to receive money to allow it to enact its policies.
3 29 The reluctance of many Lib Dem MPs to join with the Conservatives has strengthened the possibility of this option. With the resignation of Gordon Blair this option would allow the Lib Dems to be part of a more idealogically similar coalition without being tainted by making a deal with the man much of the country wanted out of office.
3 07 Many observers believe it could be a weak arrangement prone to early collapse because smaller parties would struggle to stay on board for a lot of what the Conservatives want to do. It is likely to prove unpopular because of the cuts in public spending they would force through and because it only has a minority of seats in the Commons.
Although the Conservatives have won the most seats and votes, the largest party does not automatically have the right to try to form an administration. As the incumbent prime minister, that right is - constitutionally speaking - Gordon Brown’s. Despite having resigned, it is his duty to stay in office until it becomes clear which party or combination of parties can command the most support in the new parliament. Here are three of the most likely outcomes for our next government.
TS F SEA
PUT THE KETTLE ON
You deserve a cup of tea after that. www.hellonick.co.uk