Another way of looking at elections is to look at how many votes it takes to win a seat. One of the purported benefits of proportional representation is that it is meant to ensure that “every vote counts”. The disbenefits of PR are many, but let’s have that debate another day. Let’s look at the proposition that every vote counts. The figures below show how many votes it took to win a seat for an MEP. They exlcude the three NI seats.
Being on the up the Tories did not have to work as hard as the other three main parties (I guess you have to say that UKIP qualify as a main party for the European elections at least). The other three parties all needed about 190,000 votes to get an MEP whereas the Tories only needed 170,000. The two left wing, national, minor parties needed about half a million votes to get an MEP. On the other hand nationalist minor parties in small countries got their MEPs on the cheap – the SNP only needed 160,000 votes and the Plaid MEP was a steal at 127,000 votes.
You have got to feel sorry for the English Democrats. They polled twice as many votes as Plaid and almost as many votes as the SNP and got nothing. Now there is 280,000 votes that don’t count. The EDs got more than twice as many votes as they did in 2004 and can console themselves with having the executive mayor of Doncaster.