ALEX Orr is right - the general election result demonstrates the need for electoral reform (letters, July 6). How we can describe the UK as a democracy when a party attracting only a third of the votes wins two-thirds of the seats is beyond me. 

In the short term, the only saving grace is that Keir Starmer seems likely to use his electoral jackpot responsibly, unlike Boris Johnson, who used his 56% of MPs, elected by a 44% vote share, to drive through a damaging Hard Brexit. In a multi-party democracy the first-past-the-post electoral system is dangerous.

Having won the electoral jackpot, it is perhaps unlikely that Labour will use its undeserved total control at Westminster to reform the electoral system. But if they don’t, they could live to rue the day.

The rise of the unpleasant Reform party, and its role in gifting Labour its electorally unjustified huge majority, may drive the remaining rump of the Conservative Party into a merger with Nigel Farage and his followers. The resulting party would make Johnson and Truss’s Conservatives seem positively left-wing.

If we still have the first-past-the-post system in five years’ time, there is a real risk that such a party could win the electoral lottery with well below 50% of the votes. This would have decidedly dangerous consequences for the UK. 

We need to move to using the Single Transferable Vote system with multi-member constituencies. By allowing voters to rank the candidates in order of their preference it ends the need for tactical voting and reduces the proportion of wasted votes. No electoral system is perfect but STV is an order of magnitude better than first-past-the-post.
Alistair Easton, Edinburgh.


Read more: 

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Letters: Labour's share of the vote is astonishing reading


Will Keir make his namesake proud?
THERE has been much opinion expressed about the landslide in which Labour, with just 34% of the vote, secured a majority of 174 seats.

When one compares that with previous Labour landslides, one wonders how the Starmer-led government will be assessed in the years ahead. Clement Attlee achieved a landslide in 1945 with  a 146 majority. Tony Blair won in 1997 (majority 179) and in 2001 (majority of 167). In 2005 Labour’s majority was reduced to 66.

Attlee’s government is credited with many significant achievements, including the introduction of the welfare state and the NHS, major improvements in social services and the construction of thousands of new houses.

Blair’s governments can claim recognition for contributions which eventually led to the Good Friday Agreement, devolution legislation and the reduction in social barriers, though Blair’s name will forever be associated adversely with the Iraq war. There are those who maintain that his governments adopted short-term policies rather than using the substantial majorities to reform radically state institutions.

One wonders how, at the end of the next five years, Starmer’s government will stand comparison with those of Attlee and Blair . Will his namesake  look down and be proud of him?
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


Voters have been conned again
SIR Keir Starmer’s campaign was draped around one word, “change”. He insisted that the Labour Party had changed (the word “new” was carefully avoided and Sir T. Blair nowhere to be seen). 

Sir Keir promised us a “summer of change” and “sunlight of hope”. But a day can be a long time in politics and with the votes safely counted there has already come a slight change of tone with the new Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, warning us that “there’s not a huge amount of money”. We know what that means.

Sir Keir’s problem is that after all his U-turns in opposition, his policies in government will be very similar to Tory policies we’ve suffered before – so no change for the better there.

He can talk the talk, but although he has a shiny new government for now, I suspect that the rust of disillusion will soon set in when the voters realise that they have been conned once again. As for the SNP, they need to hold their nerve, stand together, and remember that the darkest hour is just before dawn.
Ruth Marr, Stirling.


History might yet repeat itself
GEORGE Rennie (letters, June 6) expects those of us who believe in Scotland’s right to run our own affairs, just like any other nation, to give up as he thinks the SNP losing seats would indicate a lack of support for independence.

Over the past ten years the very same people refused to accept that a massive majority of SNP seats was a mandate for independence or a further referendum on self-government that was blocked by the UK establishment.

At this Westminster election the main priority for most voters was to get rid of the Tories, but without any enthusiasm for Labour, and many SNP voters just stayed at home, as evidenced by the low turnouts.

The SNP only won six seats in the 2005 general election compared to Labour’s 41 in Scotland, yet two years later the SNP won the most seats at Holyrood and formed a minority Scottish government. Labour have only 20 months in which to make a real change, otherwise history will repeat itself in 2026.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.


Marginalisation of Scotland 
THE morning after the election before I, as an independence campaigner, was sunk in gloom to see the alarming drop in the number of MPs elected for the SNP.However, by about teatime I had cheered up. I had remembered once again that, no matter how the Scottish people vote, their MPs or their policies will have no effect whatsoever. We will get what England wants as we are only 8% of the UK population. Should this be a  cheering situation? What can be done?
J. Anderson Hall, Edinburgh.


Taking a leaf out of Sir Ed’s book
YOU truly cannot underestimate the intelligence of the electorate. If only John Swinney had spent more time bungee jumping from the Scott Monument, going up Ben Nevis backwards or looking for the Loch Ness monster in a submersible, the party’s disastrous performance might easily have been averted.  
David Liddell, Newton Mearns.

* THE SNP has been routed in the general election, with the former First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, watching in horror as an ITV panel member. One wonders if she will now  have considered a rewrite of the chapter in her book covering her “legacy”—surely that is a racing certainty?
Richard Allison, Edinburgh.


Recalling Dewar and Rifkind
BRIAN Wilson’s recollection of campaigning for political office (“To victory . . . or humiliation?  How it feels to be a candidate on poll day”, July 4) brings back memories of a hustings meeting held in the Ayrshire town of Kilbirnie many years ago.

The event included a debate between two young men who had come to support the respective Labour and Conservative candidates. It enthralled me.  Both men so cleverly and eruditely put forward their arguments and both in turn so cleverly forensically dissected and undermined their opponent’s case.

Most memorably of all, they spoke with sincerity, politeness, respect and profound knowledge.
In short, the debate was a masterclass in political argument which, like the hustings of its time, is no longer heard from those who now seek election to parliament or council. It was no surprise that in later years the two men went on to achieve high office in their respective governments. Their names? Donald Dewar and Malcolm Rifkind.
John Riddell, Fairlie, Ayrshire.


Why so few Scots in Cabinet?
NOW that the votes are in, it seems that Keir Starmer’s warm words in East Kilbride on the eve of the election have been totally discarded.As reported in the Herald, he wanted Scotland to send a Government and the “Labour Government to have Scotland at its heart”.

And yet here we are, with the brand-new cabinet containing only one Scottish MP – Ian Murray, Secretary of State for Scotland. You couldn’t have any fewer.

So how do those 36 other Scottish Labour MPs become powerful advocates? They’re certainly not part of the government, let alone being at its heart. Maybe they can just send a message from the backbenches. Maybe they could ask the SNP. After all, the SNP have been doing that for years, according to the Prime Minister.
Stephen Stenson, Glasgow.

* CAN the reason for the large Labour majority be down to the Neanderthal wing of the Tory support finding a new spiritual home?
Jim McSheffrey, Giffnock.

* AMIDST all the election analysis one conclusion is clear – the SNP is de factoed.
Bruce Halliday, Dumfries.