Well, in politics their is always heated debate so here we are again, if someone wants to get into an in-depth debate 140 characters are just not enough so I often find it is best to write a post and post a link on Twitter
@CuriousGuru has this fixation with the politics and supposed fairness of Proportional Representation (PR) which, as all readers of ‘Its just life’ will know, is a fallacy because PR does not deliver democracy it just delivers a mess!
Below is the latest post on Twitter from @CuriousGuru
CuriousGuru says: @dalewood Again, this is your only argument against PR and it isn’t true, you get what you vote for with PR, rather than what other people have voted for which is FPTP.
To first of all answer this post directly, you do not get what you voted for under PR, you most certainly do know what you voted for but the politics of what you get after the election is a mish mash of at least 2 if not 3 parties and the manifesto you thought you had voted for is diluted, policy is decided after the election when the make up of the coalition is known.
Fact 1: PR produces permanent coalition, as evidenced the world over
Fact 2: PR gives enormous power to the 3rd, failed, party because they will inevitably hold the balance of power, this can mean that a party with little mandate becomes the power broker! We had this at the last election, albeit under First Past the Post (FPTP) on one of the rare occasions it produced a hung parliament, where the Lib Dem’s who performed badly at the election, coming 3rd, were able to choose the make up of the government.
Fact 3 FPTP actually delivers the mood of the country, as at the last general election where the country was not sure so we got a coalition, this delivering of the general mood happens every time, it is a type of pure but practical democracy which is sometimes difficult to grasp but well worth the experience!
To first of all answer this post directly, you do not get what you voted for under PR, you most certainly do know what you voted for but…
The arguments against PR are many but here are just a few:
- PR inevitably produces coalition government, as witnessed the world over.
- No manifesto commitments because policy is decided after the election, government by committee and compromised principles
- Enormous power to 3rd, failed, party which holds balance of power but without much of a mandate
- It is extremely difficult to kick out a government, coalition becomes a hiding place for weak politics and weak politicians, decisions are made behind closed doors without accountability and at election time they just play musical chairs to keep each other in power.
- PR produces, on a regular basis, weak government which means decisions are made on the basis of a fluffed compromise and difficult decisions are watered down, as we are seeing now with the Lib Dem’s trying to water down the essential NHS reforms
a PR vote is truly a wasted vote
- With PR there is no constituency link for the MP, the constituency link is a vital part of our democracy and makes the MP directly accountable to both parliament and their constituency. This keeps the MP in touch with the grass-roots and is a powerful brake on any abuse of power, an MP can be deselected by his local party and in effect sacked
- The politics of PR, to the electoral purists, can be made to look very attractive, fair and democratic but in the real world it rarely delivers anything other than a messy compromise which becomes a hiding place for politicians whereas FPTP can be made to look very unfair and undemocratic but almost all the time produces a result which matches the mood of the country and its people. You see PR will only ever deliver a coalition, even if the mood is for strong government but FPTP can deliver either dependant on what the mood of the country is, this is why half the world uses FPTP, even the USA.
- With PR we will end up voting for weak, non entity career politicians with no connection to the grass-roots, the real talented people will not take part and despite the predictions of improved voter participation with PR I predict that after the first election for parliament under PR voter participation will plummet because they will see every vote is wasted!