i) Think of the countries that have FPTP.
e.g. UK, Canada, USA, Jamaica, India, Pakistan, South Africa (Apartheid), Brazil (deputy elections PR since 94 but real power lies with FPTP elected officials), Zimbabwe, most of Africa..etc.
i.e. Most countries that have FPTP are not even considered democracies and all FPTP countries have very high levels of inequality in their societies (with the possible exception of Canada and they are moving towards PR)! The UK has the highest levels of inequality in Europe!
Now lets look at countries that have PR.
Sweden, Norway, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand (changed from FPTP in 1996), Italy, Israel, South Africa (post Apartheid), Argentina
These are countries that have very high levels of equality, especially in comparison to the rest of their regions, i.e. compare Argentina to Brazil, South Africa to Namibia, Germany to the UK etc.
No new democracy has chosen FPTP, they all choose systems of PR, look at Eastern Europe!
Obviously changing the electoral system is not a panacea for good. There are many other distorting factors, most importantly media control and political party funding can be detrimental (as in Italy).
But the evidence is overwhelming that countries with PR have more equal societies!
Name me one democratic socialist country that has FPTP, the answer is, there isn't one.
ii) Germany, Sweden, Finland etc are all parliamentary democracies. PR works best as a parliamentary democracy. These countries are more socialist than us.
iii) The point is that under PR, there is higher turnout because people know they will have a representative elected because of their vote.
You really didn't answer my question of how the electorate would know who to vote for to change things, when on average 68% of registered constituents didn't vote for their elected MP!
George Galloway was elected with 82% of his registered constituents not voting for him. If we remember he lives in an area where registration is low (tenants, low socio economic) then maybe 90% of his constituents didn't vote for George Galloway! Not a single MP had 50% of their registered constituents support! Even the most supported MP-Gerry Adams had 54% of his registered constituents not voting for him!
iv) You ask for an example of turnout rising after the introduction of PR. Look at how turnout in the European Elections has risen, look at how the turnout in NZ has risen. And most of all compare turnout in FPTP countries to PR countries! I'm afraid the evidence is clear (empirical evidence shows a rise of 7% on average, see above link). Turnout in European Elections is now higher than it was under FPTP despite the massive drop in overall turnout (general and local elections) that has occurred over the period. This is also despite a very unsatisfactory form of PR being used (closed list).
Could it be that the reason Labour ignores the working class is because FPTP encourages that?
v) Most Germans found the FDP a moderating force on the extremes of the main parties. I don't think picking out one bad policy is relevant when FPTP inflicted Thatcherism on us despite nearly 60% consistently voting against it!
vi) Look at the inequality you get under FPTP countries and tell me poor people are not better off under PR (even without compulsory voting).
vii) You are totally wrong! How can you say making constituencies bigger will not make a difference? Think of a hypothetical town, say the urban centre is labour voters. Starting in the middle draw bigger and bigger constituency boundaries, the larger the circle the more rural Tory voters are included until eventually it becomes a Tory marginal! QED!
Why are the Tories proposing the reduction of constituencies to 500?
It is impossible to gerrymander a proportional system! That is why it is called proportional. Remember STV is not strictly a proportional system!
Don't forget the Tories got more votes in England than Labour. If it's possible to draw the constituencies so Labour won 92 more seats, it's possible to do the reverse!
You have got to get away from the delusion that FPTP is going to protect non-voting urban voters. That is the case at the moment (to some extent), but the USA shows how that will change.
The writing is on the wall. If we don't realise what the Tories are going to do to the boundaries, we are going to let them in on a small percentage of the vote and then they are going to change the boundaries and make it virtually impossible for us to get elected again.
The Tories already have the advantage of press support, we don't want to give them electoral system advantage as well!
viii) Okay it's 25 years that the Tories were out of power to be exact. 4 years of Liberal Government and 21 of Labour. Remember the National govt from 1931-45 was a coalition! Just shows how strong a coalition govt can be, that in times of crisis we turn to one!
You are right to say that changing the electoral system is not a short cut to winning the arguments and votes. But you shouldn't be afraid of the voters!
The overwhelming majority of voters vote for progressive parties (around 60%). PR is a way of capturing those votes and turning them into seats. The only way the Tories can get elected is under FPTP, that is why they are implacable supporters of it!
The FPTP system is even a contributor to the divisive society we have. The Tories are ignoring urban voters because under Thatcherism they had 18 years of power without them.
All the parties including us are ignoring their voters in safe seats and concentrating on a few marginal seat voters. This is why the Labour party ignores its left.
Me and you are on the same side here. We both want more redistributive policies. Sorry to argue so aggressively over this issue but I implore you to consider the equality of countries with PR, and ask hard questions as to why we are the most unequal country in the EU!
There are now over a 100 Labour MPs who support PR. All the Tory MPs support FPTP.
It's a complicated debate, but the facts are there to support PR. What we all agree about is that our present system is not working at all well.
Obviously no system is perfect and changing the electoral system is only part of the answer to solving our democratic dysfunctions but FPTP is one of the worst electoral systems we could have.
We had the royal commission, they recommended a PR system. Our manifestos promised a referendum on this outcome, for once lets' be true to our word.