The votes have been counted and we can now reveal that the first general election to be held in winter since 1923 has resulted in… yet another disproportionate outcome.

Regardless of which party you might support, a voting system which delivers a government with a huge majority on less than 44 per cent of the vote share is just wrong. 

So to help illustrate how British voters have been denied a real choice over who represents them in Parliament, Make Votes Matter staged a fun and colourful stunt in central London on Saturday 14th December. Here, Sarah Hudspith, Make Votes Matter’s Communications, Campaigns and Engagement Leader describes the experience.

Make Votes Matter campaigners stage a protest after another disproportionate election result

We met at a boat moored on the Thames, opposite the London Eye, where game supporters gathered to hear what they had signed themselves up for. After a quick briefing, a queue of people snaked around the lower deck to pick up a brightly coloured T-shirt.

The Make Votes Matter team had worked out the proportion of colourful T-shirts needed to show party colours as they would have been if voters were represented in Parliament under a proportional system. 

And having donned their T-shirts, the group set off for Parliament Square carrying banners and chanting rallying cries for fair votes.

When we got to Parliament Square there was another protest happening by campaigners fighting a very different cause; to stop the bloodshed of innocent Iraqi citizens. (pictured, right)

Not wishing to disturb their valuable protest but keen to find space to stage our own, we continued past the Houses of Parliament and on to Victoria Tower Gardens.

Why First Past the Post makes a mockery of democracy.

Once gathered and with a little bit of direction and much frivolity, the game was on. People chased each other around throwing coloured powder at each other to demonstrate the mess the election result throws up under our antiquated and undemocratic system of First Past the Post (FPTP).

For example, just look at the number of votes each party needed per seat under FPTP in this general election:

  • The SNP – 25,883

  • Conservatives – 38,264

  • Labour – 50,718

  • Liberal Democrats – 336,038

  • The Green Party – 865,697

Speaking at the event, Make Votes Matter Co-Chief Executive Klina Jordan said: “The protest may have been a light-hearted way of showing how unfair our voting system is, but there is a serious point behind it.

“The quirks of our outdated voting system mean that Parliament won’t accurately represent how people voted, which is desperately damaging to our democracy because the last time one party had a majority of support from the people was in 1931.

“If you want to put a stop to unfair votes and finally make votes matter, support the growing demand for Proportional Representation by signing our petition to #ChangeTheVotingSystem!”

In the run up to the general election, Make Votes Matter launched the petition to #ChangeTheVotingSystem which has already attracted more than 57,000 signatures.

Klina added: “As MPs new and old head to London to take up their seats in the House of Commons, I implore our politicians to change the voting system. Millions of people face the prospect of being left out in the cold when it comes to being represented in Parliament; that’s because we need a proportional system where seats match votes, and all votes must count equally.” 

Here’s what other team members had to say about the day.

“I wanted to come along to channel my frustration at the lack of democracy in yet another general election,” said Surrinder Chera, diversity lead at Make Votes Matter. 

“I feel that people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities really need to get their collective voices heard. We have more power to change things than we might believe. But simply having MPs from BME communities is pointless if they don’t really advocate for the system of voting itself to be changed so we can all be more meaningfully represented,” Surrinder added.

Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader at Make Votes Matter, said: “This unequal election has highlighted, once again, that First Post the Post leaves millions of voters unrepresented. Since the results were announced, Make Votes Matter has seen a huge rise in supporters all outraged by this unfair system. We have new groups springing up in many parts of the country and newly engaged activists ready to fight for real democracy. If you want to get involved, then sign the petition and join the growing movement for Proportional Representation.”   

If you’ve been inspired by our stunt team, here’s how you can get involved in the movement: