2 3 mins 15 yrs

As I glanced at the polls and pundits talking about the American Mid-Term Elections, I wondered how many British people know, understand or care how their vote is allocated in the vital, some would even say fundamental duty of voting in the European Elections. The belief that their individual vote elects a European Member of Parliament is the single largest misunderstanding in modern politics. How many people have actually heard of a Belgian lawyer named D’Hondt? Not many will immediately claim a connection with how the European Parliament, one of the bodies which determines how you live, what you buy and, to a large extent, what you eat! The complex way that votes are allocated in a system which is vaguely understood on the continent, and not understood at all in the British Isles, is based upon a mathematical formula devised by this mathematician and lawyer, who incidentally died in 1901, (so you can’t plan to track him down and assassinate him in sheer frustration) to make things fair, and always allow the losers to influence the results!

A simple way of attempting the understanding of a very complex subject is to study a table, printed below:-

To best way calculate numbers of seats is to create a table with the actual number of votes divided by 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on:







Votes divided by 1:






Votes divided by 2:






Votes divided by 3:






Votes divided by 4:






and then retire to a seat in any pub, clutching a pint (at least we still have pints, as Labour hasn’t made them illegal as well), and try to work out what might win the three-thirty at Haydock Park, because the system adopted by the technocrats and bureaucrats in Brussels is as much of a gamble as the average horse race, but with bigger rewards for the winners!

The voters might prefer a simpler system, of either ‘Majority Wins’ or even multiple votes for people of different abilities, education and achievements such as the one devised by the author Nevil Shute, which is more fully described in his novel "In the Wet", but that would mean acceptance that the system in place at present is faulty, and what politician is going to admit to heresy?

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2 thoughts on “The more corrupt the state, the numerous the laws.

  1. Mike,

    Your explanation of D’Hondt is all well and good but the notion that votng in the European Elections makes even the slightest, tiniest difference to our daily lives is to be blunt, utter nonsense. The European Parliament has a small handful of powers at its disposal all of which enable it merely to at best delay (and occasionally slightly amend) legislation.

    The European Parliament cannot initiate ANY legisaltion of its own. Not a single Law or a single regulation. Not one. The members of this farcical institution are often required to vote on literally hundreds of complex pieces of legislation every single HOUR – the record according to UKIP’s Graham Booth currently standing at around 450 – and simply rubberstamp the bureaucracy’s endless flow of economically murderous legislation.

    The European Parliament is a joke. Vital and fundamental duty? Don’t make me laugh.

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