A little mathematical excursion:
In Britain in about 1650, only about 10% of the adult male population were eligible to vote for the 460 MPs in parliament. Given the population is estimated to have been about 5.6 million, then assuming an equality of males and females, and that 15% of the male population was too young to vote, then the number of eligible voters was about 5,600,000 x 0.5 x 0.85 x 0.1, or 238,000 people. These 238,000 voters elected 460 MPs to parliament, and so there were 517 voters/MP.
In Britain in about 1930, 100% of adult males and females were eligible to vote for the 615 MPs in parliament. The population of Britain was about 45 million people, and so the number of eligible adult voters was around 45,000,000 x 0.85. or 38,200,000. And there were about 62,000 voters/MP.
The population of the EU is currently about 500 million, and there are 736 MEPs in the European parliament. So there are around 577,000 voters/MEP.
So the weight or value of a single British vote in 1930 was 517/62000 or 0.8% of its 1650 value. And the weight or value of a vote in the European parliament is 0.09% of this 1650 value.
As the population of a country grows, while its political class remains roughly constant, the vote is steadily devalued. In 1650, it was entirely possible for a British MP to have personally met every single one of the voters in his constituency, and to know what each of their concerns were. In Britain today, and even more so in the EU, this is quite impossible.
If one adds that the absolute power or influence of a country grows roughly in proportion to its population – because this population determines the maximum size of its army, and also the size of its tax revenue – then the power and influence of the British political class grew roughly tenfold between 1650 and 1930.
So as population increases, and the political class remains constant, the value of each vote dwindles, but the power of each MP or elected representative grows. Voters become less and less influential, and elected members more and more influential. Power and influence become concentrated in the political class, and particularly in prime ministers or presidents.
Assuming similar sorts of numbers apply everywhere else in the world, perhaps this might go some way towards explaining why voters everywhere are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the political class in their respective countries, and why the political class everywhere is becoming increasingly detached from its electors – and why there is a “democratic deficit” in the EU.
This growing disenchantment might also help explain why Ireland split from Britain in 1918, and why Scotland almost did so in 2014 (and may yet do so). For the falling value of the vote is likely to be experienced most strongly at the margins. Irish and Scottish voters probably found that their concerns fell on increasingly deaf ears in Westminster.
Equally, the growing power of the political class may result in dictatorships, as power becomes concentrated in the hands of a single individual.
Perhaps a great many political processes are driven by very simple electoral mathematics?