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bambos charalambous after being elected december 2019 2The Mayor of Enfield and losing candidates watch as Bambos Charalambous gives his acceptance speech after the count (Photo: James Cracknell)

Last week's general election saw the fourth successive contest between David Burrowes and Bambos Charalambous for the Enfield Southgate seat in parliament. Bambos managed to repeat his 2017 victory over his Conservative rival, bringing the overall tally up to 2:2, prompting David Burrowes to suggest that they should have a decider - though I doubt whether anyone is really keen to have another election campaign just yet!

Enfield Southgate election result

Bambos Charalambous, Labour: 22,923 votes, 48.5% (-3.2%)
David Burrowes, Conservative: 18,473 votes, 39.1% (-3.6%)
Rob Wilson, Liberal Democrats: 4,344 votes, 9.2% (+5.2%)
Luke Balnave, Green: 1,042 votes, 2.2% (+0.6%)
Parag Shah, Brexit Party: 494 votes, 1%

Turnout: 72.34%

The count, at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, was reported on by James Cracknell of the Enfield Dispatch - the only journalist who was there to cover the outcome of the votes in the three Enfield constituencies.

In Enfield North and Edmonton the Labour candidates - Feryal Clark and Kate Osamor - both gained an absolute majority, and Bambos was only 1.5 percentage points short of one, in contrast to many other constituencies where the winners collected 40 per cent or less. Across the country as a whole the UK's first past the post system, as always, produced a seriously unjust result, unfairly boosting the number of seats won by the Conservatives and the Scottish Nationalists. In the UK as a whole, a majority of votes were cast for parties that supported a second referendum, while in Scotland the majority of voters did not support the Scottish Nationalists.  Despite this, the Conservatives claim they have a "mandate" to leave the EU without a second vote and the SNP similarly claim they have a mandate for a second independence referendum.

But even in seats where the winners had absolute majorities, such as Enfield North and Edmonton, we don't know how much tactical voting went on or how people would have voted in a genuinely proportional system. How many people voted Labour or Conservative who would really have preferred a Lib Dem or Green MP but who gave priority to the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn?

This is not to take away from the victories won through the hard work of the candidates and their local parties. It's also worth pointing out that Bambos Charalambous himself is a signatory of the Good Systems Agreement, calling for proportional representation and other constitutional changes (the GSA has been signed by MPs from all parties).

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #5051 16 Dec 2019 10:12
Is this overly political post suitable for a community forum?
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #5052 16 Dec 2019 13:11

David Eden wrote: Is this overly political post suitable for a community forum?

It's not party political, just a comment on the unfairness of our electoral system based on clear facts.

I do generally avoid politics, but there's no such thing as a free lunch. Facebook, Next Door and so on are collecting data on users and making huge amounts of money out of it. Facebook has been known to deliberately try to affect its users' emotional state and has provided data for free to companies involved in covert lobbying on behalf of political movements.

This website, by contrast, makes no money. On the contrary, it costs me money and time and provides a completely free service to users with absolutely no hidden catches. I think that in return I can be forgiven the occasional item on a small number of topics that are very close to my heart but not covered adequately by mainstream media: the UK's unfair and inadequate "constitution"; the state of the health service; and the looming disaster that is climate change.