Advanced search

To think PR would be more democratic

(73 Posts)
MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 11:19:15

I feel that first past the post is a big element in why so many people feel disenfranchised.

Con 331 seats 11.3 million votes
Lab 232 9.3m
SNP 56 1.4m
LibD 8 7.9m
DUP 8 184k
UKIP 1 3.8m

These figures seem grossly unfair. I am a very lefty labour voter living in a safe labour seat. My lib dem voting DH's vote barely matters.

Now I can't stand UKIP and don't want them to have influence. However, there are apparently millions who disagree and why shouldn't their vote be represented? Why should Scotland and NI have such a disproportionate number of seats?

My only reservation about PR is that I like the idea of a constituency MP as someone who ordinary people can go to. However, I am sure there are ways around that.

AIBU - why should we not change?

Hurr1cane Sat 09-May-15 11:22:27

They don't want to change it, otherwise they would surely?

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 11:24:27

Of course neither of the big parties want PR while they have a chance of overall majority with the current system. This does not make it democratic.

catgirl1976 Sat 09-May-15 11:24:53

I'd agree but I am so relieved UKIP have only got one seat (thought it's one too many) I am actually quite thankful for FPTP

JemimaPuddlePop Sat 09-May-15 11:25:18

There was a referendum on this and people voted to keep the current system.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Sat 09-May-15 11:26:27

There was a vote, in 2010. No one seems to remember, but it was one of the conditions Nick Clegg insisted on when they formed the coalition. If I remember correctly, it was a nationwide referendum. Anyway, the country overwhelmingly voted no.

kaymondo Sat 09-May-15 11:28:15

Whether you agree with the Party in power or not, FPTP tends to deliver more majority govs, which in turn provides more stability. PR sounds great in theory but how do you get anything done when every decision has to made in coalition of various parties (prob more than 2) who all have their own agendas?

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 09-May-15 11:30:05

I voted to change in the referendum.

I feel utterly disenfranchised. I live in a tory stronghold, it's been tory easily for my whole life. For me, I always have voted, but there is absolutely no point whatsoever, I might as well be throwing my vote onto a bonfire.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sat 09-May-15 11:31:10

Just looked it up, my area had been tory since the constituency was created 40 years ago.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 11:32:15

There was a referendum on AV not PR - a badly sold, watered down policy. It wouldn't have changed the issue of NI having a disproportionate number of seats.

I agree though - a change of system should be democratic. I wonder if opinions may change now it is the smaller parties of the right as well as the left disadvantaged by first past the post.

GeorgeYeatsAutomaticWriter Sat 09-May-15 11:37:30

The NI seats are a legacy from the Act of Union in 1800 - Irish MPs had to be essentially bribed with lots of Westminster seats in order to agree to the bill. This was preserved under partition in 1920.

Interesting comment on FPTP by David Runciman in the LRB:

The two countries that have seen the greatest rise in inequality over the past couple of decades are Britain and the United States. Both have a first-past-the-post system designed to offer a clear choice between two main parties. Yet whichever of the two parties wins, the drift towards inequality has been inexorable. This contrasts with continental Europe, where there are barriers in the way of vastly unequal distributions of wealth and power and where there also happen to be proportional representation systems that force multiple parties to negotiate for influence and outcomes. We live in a world where national governments are increasingly buffeted by forces – notably international finance – that are very hard to control. Decisive, single-party governments are not the way to resist these forces, because their freedom of manouevre makes them easier to buy off without anyone else being able to hold them to account. What national democracies need is not more autonomy but more barriers in the way of any single political faction or grouping being able to call the shots. The presence in government of multiple parties representing multiple interests helps to give democracy a measure of defence against the whirlwind of money that swirls around it. It makes it harder to sell out, because it makes it harder to do anything reckless.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 11:41:29

While I did not like the ConDem government the government was functional and I think some of the Worst excesses of Tory policy were tempered.

Maybe I watched too many episodes of Borgen where coalition of several parties looked like a beautiful utopia. smile

Charis1 Sat 09-May-15 11:57:38

under a pure PR system, the tories would still have won, the labours would have got fewer seats, and ukip and the greens would have got more. SNP obvious, far fewer than half what they got.

GeorgeYeatsAutomaticWriter Sat 09-May-15 12:06:40

Not necessarily - people might very well vote differently if the system was different. I don't think it's as simple as feeding the FPTP votes into a PR machine and predicting the outcome.

Besides, there are lots of different types of PR.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 12:07:32

GeorgeYeats thank you - that was an interesting, well written piece. I think it gets to the heart of why I am pro PR.

Charis - that shows the change wouldn't be dramatic. Just a bit more representative.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 12:09:23

Good point. Maybe turnout would be higher if people felt their vote counted. Also, people would be more likely to vote for smaller parties.

latebreakfast Sat 09-May-15 12:12:31

PR would almost certainly have given us a Conservative/UKIP coalition. Perhaps we should be glad that we don't have it? confused

homebythesea Sat 09-May-15 12:18:43

So many people with short memories on this. We had the chance to change to a different (albeit not the best) system and said No. Turns out there would not be a left keaning Givt even if pure PR had applied this time round. We need to accept that we are as a nation not as socialist as some would like

BishopBrennansArse Sat 09-May-15 12:22:04

The referendum was on AV which is no way an acceptable form of PR.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 12:24:58

I agree that would be a horrible horrible outcome... but democracy involves accepting that other people's views should be represented, however unpalatable you find them.

I would hope that PR would push the other parties to counter UKIP's scaremongering more robustly. We also need to try and engage with those who are voting UKIP as they don't feel the main parties are interested in them.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 09-May-15 12:28:48


The AV option we voted on at a referendum is NOT PR. It is not even close.

As for this nonsense that people would vote exactly the same in a different system that is not right. Otherwise every election would have the same result but it doesn't because people change their minds based on the situation at the time.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 09-May-15 12:46:57

Even if you oppose PR how can it be right that the DUP have 8 seats (and may have been in a coalition with the conservatives if there hadn't been a majority) with less than 200,000 votes.

caroldecker Sat 09-May-15 13:13:14

One of the difficulties with PR is party lists - you no longer have an MP, so for example, Balls would still be here and Michael Portillo and Neil Hamilton would never have lost thier positions.
The other truth about PR is you would have a much wider range of parties, Both Labour and Conservatives are coalitions under a big umbrella, which is why John Major had such difficulties and Labour had much in-fighting under Blair.
A PR system would cause these to break down, so you cannot extrapolate from a FPTP election result, except possibly to say over 50% of the country voted for a right of centre party

ApocalypseThen Sat 09-May-15 13:13:20

In what way would PR mean you didn't have a constituency MP that you could go to? We have PR in Ireland and constituency TDs that people can, and do go to.

GeorgeYeatsAutomaticWriter Sat 09-May-15 13:13:45

Not all PR systems have party lists.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now