Does Britain Need Proportional Representation
It's Amazing How The 'Progressives' Of The Labour Left Have Rallied To Support The Status Quo
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Index For This Category
Electoral Reform in Britain - Is It Time for True Proportional Representation?
by Arthir Foxake
Like a deluded alcoholic, the Electoral Reform Society keeps trying to push the same old nonsense - despite repeatedly being proven wrong wrote 'unreconstructed Blairite and Hampstead 'posh boy' socialist (aka Champagne socialist) Dan Hodges in The Daily Telegraph
The UK General Election in May 2015 was the "most disproportionate in British history", the Electoral Reform Society has said.
In its review of results the society, which has campaigned for changes in the voting system to end the disenfranchisement of a significant proporation of the electorate, has assessed how Parliamentary seats would have been distributed among the parties had a voting system that reflected more fairly the numbers of votes cast for each party been used.
The analysis shows UKIP, which gathered 3.9 million votes should have won up to 80 MPs and the Greens with 1.2 million votes, 20. Those parties ended up with one MP each.
Katie Ghose, the society's chief executive described the 'first past the post system' used in Britain (i.e. the candidate with most votes in each constituency wins, votes for all other candidates are wriiten off) as "archaic" and "divisive". She said: it "leaves millions disenfranchised and forces millions more to vote for a the candidate they think is least bad, the minor parties, whose candidates might better represent the interests of certain groups having no chance of winning.
Contributors to this publication all feel we need a fairer system for electing our MPs to reflect the massive chances in society since the universal franchise was intriduced almost a hundred years ago.
Under the proportional represntation method system known as the regional list, used for European elections the result would have been Conservatives 242 (-89), Labour 208 (-24), SNP 30 (-26), Lib Dems 47 (+39), Plaid Cymru 5 (+2), Ukip 80 (+79), Greens 20 (+19). With a Single Traansferable Vote method the result would have been Conservatives 276 seats (-55), Labour 236 (+4), SNP 34 (-22), Lib Dems 26 (+18), Plaid Cymru 3 (nc), UKIP 54 (+53) and the Greens 3 (+2). (Source BBC News)
The Liberal Democrats, traditionally the biggest losers from our voting system demanded a referendum on voting reform as part of the price for supporting the conservatives in the coalition government after the 2010 election. The Conservatives blindsided the Lib Dems however by offering an Alternative Vote (AV) system which was rejected because it was set up to fail; a system which was not understood was handed to the LibDems (who have completely disintegrated in office) to make the case for, while the Conservatives opposed them.
Fortunately voters saw through the scam, and rejected AV because it would simply have entrenched the two party system more deeply. Choice architecture, again. Given a choice between two equally unsatisfactory systems, voters will most likely vote 60/40 for the status quo.
To claim that a proper debate on the subject has taken place, and a definitive answer produced, which appears to be the position of both The Conservative and Labour party managers, is so dishonest it does not merit serious consideration.
To claim that the recent election, focussed as it was on a very narrow range of issues while major changes problems festered in the back-ground, was a fair reflection of public opinion is typical of the intellectual dishonesty of the political establishment.
Were we to have Proportional Representation anybody regardless of their constituency could have their vote really count. Who they actually decide to vote for will have an impact. So of course it would mean that were a party to come along with a compelling message that people liked, such as UKIP, even more people would be likely to vote for them as the fact you're surrounded in your constituency by Labour or Tory or 'others' supporters would be irrelevant.
ALL VOTES would count and the traditional parties would have a big battle to keep their core votes let alone win anyone else over.
AV was rejected because it was set up to fail; a system which wasn't understood was handed to the LibDems (who have completely disintegrated in office) to make the case for, while the Conservatives opposed them.
Choice architecture, again. Give the voters a choice between two equally unsatisfactory options, and they will most likely vote 60/40 for the status quo.
To claim that a proper debate on the subject has taken place, and a definitive answer produced, which appears to be Mr Hodges position, is such nonsense that it doesn't admit of coherent discussion.
To claim that the recent election - focussed as it was on a very narrow range of issues, while major changes unfolded cumbrously and little understood in the back-ground - is typical is also intellectual dishonesty of a fairly blatant sort.
The basic argument for PR is not that we have a Conservative Government but that the present Winner Takes All voting system is unfair to voters and undemocratic. It would be equally unfair and democratic if any other party had 50.9% of the MPs for only 36.9% of the votes.
The Winner Takes All system system is particularly dangerous at present because it is leading to the break-up of the UK despite Scotland’s “No” vote last year. The SNP’s 95% of Scottish MPs, because of Winner Take All, gives the erroneous impression that the Scottish people overwhelmingly support independence even though the SNP had only 50% of the Scottish votes.
The voters made the SNP the fifth largest party in the UK but Winner Take All made it the third largest party in the House but because of the Conservatives wafer thin majority, arguably the most influential.
With the Labour Party is licking its wounds and electing a new Leader, the SNP, artificially enlarged by the voting system, may become the de facto Opposition. It will present the political debate less as Right v Left than as England v Scotland.
A more representative House, with more Conservative and other pro-Union MPs from Scotland, would have averted this danger.
Students of political history may recall that Winner Takes All gave Irish Republicans a disproportionately large share of MPs in the 19th century and this led to the division of Ireland and the secession of the south from the UK.
First past the post is of course a horse racing analogy. So to extent it, 63% of the those who voted on May 7th now think of themselves as 'also rans'. Even in horse racing you can place an each way bet (PR). To many their interaction with politics is at best tenuous, they vote for they party they hope will best represent their interests and then moan about the government until it is time to vote again.
'We' (as a national community) take in political news as we do advertising, unavoidable but of little interest. Our favourite boxed sets and the X Factor are of far greater importance. This suits Westminster, the apathetic are easily governed especially if you can persuade them that a vote in line with any convictions they might harbour is wasted and that people should vote on the basis of social class. Those of us concerned for the future as Conservatives and Labour try to drag us towards integration into a Federal European Superstate, know we need to make a case for a new democratic model, a more responsive model which, with the aid of the kind of technology we are using here, could make many more of us feel included in how the World is run.
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How Can The 'Left' Talk Of Equality When They Don't Tolerate Diversity Of Opinion
Brexit has terrified 'Brussels bubble' - German insider The EU elite "lost faith in their own appeal and abilities" following the Brexit referendum vote and the surge in support for nationalist parties. The knee jerk response of the Brussels bubble was to try (and fail) to punish Britain for defing Brussels in the same way as they had punished small nations like Greece, Portugal and Ireland, which in their perception was the only way to prevent the EU breaking apart.How Russia plans to disentangle its economy from US dollar
The Russian Finance Ministry this week officially revealed a plan to end the country's dependence on the US dollar for foreign trade. Economic analysts are warning it will be a long process, but Russia and China, with support from Iran and a number of other oil rich countriies whose oil trade is restricted by US use of the petrodollar to manipulate makets, are several years along the road to economic independence alredy ... MORE in Currency Wars
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