10 July 2009

Alan Johnson On PR

Alan Johnson calls for proportional representation for Westminster in the Independent this week.Highlights include:-
"Keir Hardie's founding manifesto for the Labour Representation Committee included votes for women, a Scottish Parliament, Lords reform and proportional representation. The Tories were traditionally against all four. They have modified their approach to the first; have been roundly defeated on the second; and have been forced by their parliamentary leadership to swear a superficial allegiance to the third"
"Cameron wrote an article describing PR (the voting system rather than his profession) as a step backwards. His defence of FPTP was the familiar one. It allows the electorate to vote "strong" governments in and keep the BNP out"
"Safe seats can exist under any electoral system, but FPTP is uniquely able to ensure that even at times when the majority of the electorate turn against the incumbents, they will struggle to unseat them if the protesting vote is split between different parties"
"As Roy Jenkins pointed out in his seminal report, "the semi-corollary of a high proportion of the constituencies being in 'safe seat' territory is not merely that many voters pass their entire adult lives without ever voting for a winning candidate, but they do so without any realistic hope of influencing a result."
I look forward to seeing the full article when it is published in the Fabian Review.

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