12 May 2010

My Response To Tom Harris

Tom, there are very simple answers to your points. Countries that have PR and coalition government actually have more stable and long-term government – look at the financial prudence, better public service provision, environmentalism, higher development aid budgets and political engagement of Scandanavia, Germany and other PR countries.

Both AV and STV makes it more difficult for extremists to be elected. The BNP got over 500,000 votes in this country at this election. This is one of the highest figures for an extreme right party across the whole of Europe. The political vacuum of safe seats causes people to turn to extremists in anger. The virilent right-wing media love FPTP because it allows them to get ‘their man’ into government with a minority of the vote and they can play dog-whistle politics on race and minorities because splitting the working class vote helps their side.

These last 5 days of ‘horse trading’ have actually highlighted a lot of good policies, brought them to the public attention and it seems the best of both parties policies are being selected.

You admit that parties under FPTP are wide coalitions and their manifestos are decided behind closed doors – how is this democratic or open? At least under PR, people get to choose the wing of the coalition they want. Most decisions in government are actually made after the election anyway – the manifestos are just a guide as to what will happen. People generally have a poor idea of what is in the manifesto.

This nonsense about being able to vote governments out is rubbish. It is actually harder. It took nearly 70% of voters to turn against the Tories to finally get rid of them, after years of 60% opposing them for 18 long years. It took over 70% of voters to get rid of Labour after 13 years. How can you say 36% should give a party a majority. How low would you go? 29%?

As Will Self said recently ‘I have nothing to say to people who reject electoral reform, it is like opposing the 1834 Reform Act that extended the franchise’. It is funny how all you supporters of FPTP like you and Diane Abbott reside in ‘jobs for life’ safe seats where you could virtually murder someone and still get elected. Glasgow South you got 20,000 votes, your nearest rival 5,000. Some chance people have got of voting you out. Pity! You and your undemocratic cabal of secret Tories should be de-selected from the Labour party for allowing the Tories back in and shunning the Lib Dems. Shame.

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