29 September 2007

Will Another Defeat Make Tories Support PR?

The Tories are the most ardent supporters of the present electoral system - first-past-the-post. In the long term this makes sense for the Tories as such a right wing party. The historical precedent is that the political pendulum will soon enough swing back their way from an electorate fed up with one party rule in this restricted system that only allows Labour led and Tory led governments. But what if the Tory brand is so damaged by Thatcherism and Tory decline and the fall in their support so endemic amongst younger voters and urban/northern areas that the Tories might not muster the 25% of potential voters required under FPTP for a majority of seats. It might take them decades?

If the Tories...
did change their tune on PR, with Labour still having many PR supporters within its ranks, we would then have reached a pivotal point in the possibility of getting PR for Westminster.

For the Tories to change their mind on PR would need a massive change of heart - maybe even a fifth defeat would be needed to change their minds.

The Tories would have to be very desperate to turn to PR for solace - because they know that in the long term - the Left are always more split than the Right and that the present system will always benefit the right of politics and also favour the right-wing of the Labour party. The majority who continuously vote left of centre will always be disadvantaged. If the Tories did support PR, I suspect their support would be short term.

6 comments:

  1. Gordon Brown clearly doesn't feel the Tory brand was damaged by Thatcherism, does he? Surely the cosy chat at number ten would be the act of a hypocrit otherwise? He used to oppose Thatcherism of course, but like all of the current crop of Labour top brass, anything he said (or indeed wrote in a book entitled "Where there is greed") in the past doesn't count when in power.

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  2. Brown knows that there is a small number of votes that can be won by being 'deferential' to Thatcher. Some really young voters do not remember her, and only have the Tory press to rely on to form a image. And of course a few Conservatives and a lot of Lib Dems might switch if they think Brown 'stronger' or 'more moral' than Cameron.

    But my point is that the bulk of voters in the 25-55 age group who really do remember Thatcher, are staying away from the Tories. Brown knows these voters will tolerate his gestures towards Thatcher (even though they don't like it) and they will stay with Labour to keep the Tories out. It also gives a nod to the establishment (keeps business in check) that he is ok - not going to be too left wing.

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  3. Ends justify the means - anything excusable, the Tories would be worse. It is so sad to see such poverty of ambition and total lack of principals and backbone. Fool that I am, I expected better of Labour - what a joke!

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  4. Come on, Labour have been a good government. Are things better or not? Would you prefer section 28, no civil partnerships, no minimum wage, no doubling of NHS and education budgets etc, etc? Inequality was on a runaway train, now it is in check. Still not enough, sure, but far far better than where we were in 1997. 10 years is nothing when you are trying to turn around the damage that Thatcherism did to society. These things could take decades.

    You obviously think that all these improvements don't mean jackshit - that is up to you. But in a choice between Labour and Tory led governments you have to make a choice between Labour and Tory. It is not acceptable to pretend that this is not the choice (as you seem to do). It may be boring to point out that the choice is Tory or Labour but that doesn't make it any less true. Until we get a change in the electoral system (and Labour are our best hope of that as well) then we have to make this choice. To just avoid the choice is the biggest lack of principles and backbone.

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  5. But in a choice between Labour and Tory led governments you have to make a choice between Labour and Tory. It is not acceptable to pretend that this is not the choice (as you seem to do).

    Yes and no.

    Clearly the result of any election in the near future will be either a Labour government, a Conservative government, or some kind of hung parliament coalition mashup dominated by one of the big two.

    It doesn't follow that this is the choice that urko faces, though. If you don't much like the policies of the major parties, you have two real choices - either pick the one that you find least bad, and work from within that party to move it in a direction that you prefer, or to support a minority party that is rather closer to the mark.

    The latter guarantees you a long time in the wilderness, but may be a better long-term strategy.

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  6. Anon: 'The latter guarantees you a long time in the wilderness, but may be a better long-term strategy'. Personally I'd like to see change in my lifetime.

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