Why doesn't the UK use Proportional Representation and should we ? Watch

gladders
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Clip)
PR is wonderful until you realise that it makes government almost impossible.

Israel has a pure form of PR - if you win 38% of the vote, you get 38% of the seats in the Knesset. It also means that it's almost impossible to pass any kind of mildly contentious legislation. You basically can't govern, and you get a permanent status quo.
I think you overstate your case. There are plenty of countries with PR that govern just fine. Although it should be observed that many manage this by having a threshold of votes that parties have to win before they earn representation - Germany has a 5% threshold, I believe.

So in a way, Party List to be a functional and proportional system has to violate the core principle of proportional representation.

But that's List, which is only one possible option, and not a serious contender I think.
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RF_PineMarten
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#22
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(Original post by gladders)
I have to take issue with that, while fully appreciating the valid criticisms of FPTP. The D'Hondt system has its own problems, especially the fact that the candidates (if the system is closed, which it would likely be) can be put in order of priority by the party, so their favoured loyalists get a stronger chance of re-election. To punish them, you'd have to rely on a total collapse of that party's vote. Not going to happen.

Even if it were open, so the voter can declare their preferred priority, in most countries people ignore this and simply vote 'above the line', meaning they consent to the proposed party's default priority.

It also suffers from a lack of constituency link. On that subject, STV has this problem too. There are constituencies but they are enormous and there are multiple MPs to a constituency. I am wary of such a situation. Also, while MPs should never be in the position where they can take their constituency for granted, STV in Ireland I understand has had the opposite effect: MPs are so concerned for their seat they take on a quite parochial attitude, and their attendance in Parliament suffers.

I'm not advocating any one system, but it should be acknowledged that every voting system - including FPTP - has strengths and weaknesses.
The thing with D'Hondt is that while it is proportional, it still tends to favour the bigger parties. The greens got 3 MEP seats out of 70-something this year, which is actually lower than the % of the vote they got. That way you get a balance between a more representative voting system and smaller parties being able to have disproportionate influence.

What we could always do is introduce PR into some elections but not others.
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gladders
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#23
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#23
(Original post by RFowler)
What we could always do is introduce PR into some elections but not others.
Do you mean, introduce it for, say, local government elections, or do you mean for different parts of the country?
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Clip
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(Original post by gladders)
I think you overstate your case. There are plenty of countries with PR that govern just fine. Although it should be observed that many manage this by having a threshold of votes that parties have to win before they earn representation - Germany has a 5% threshold, I believe.

So in a way, Party List to be a functional and proportional system has to violate the core principle of proportional representation.

But that's List, which is only one possible option, and not a serious contender I think.
That's not the issue. The issue is that with PR, you are basically asking for either deadlock and continued status quo - or governance that makes everyone unhappy.

Take UK as an example. Under current polling, you'd get Tory 33%, Labour 33%, UKIP about 18%, LD about 7% - with the others sharing the remainder.

To pass anything, you are either going to need a Tory/Labour consensus - or a Tory UKIP consensus. If you go ConLab, that will produce exactly the result that apparently disenchants so many people "the two main parties have nothing between them". If you go Tory/UKIP - that's going to make everyone on the left very unhappy and start moaning about their socialist revolution or soft left nonsense.

Even if you inflated the votes of the minor parties, there is no way that you're going to get representation for them without angering the majority. Let's say you get a Tory 40%, Labour 40% and a Green 11% result - you could get a government with eco-fascist policies that only 11% of people voted for.
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RF_PineMarten
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#25
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#25
(Original post by gladders)
Do you mean, introduce it for, say, local government elections, or do you mean for different parts of the country?
Not different parts of the country, different parts of government like council elections.
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gladders
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(Original post by Clip)
That's not the issue. The issue is that with PR, you are basically asking for either deadlock and continued status quo - or governance that makes everyone unhappy.

Take UK as an example. Under current polling, you'd get Tory 33%, Labour 33%, UKIP about 18%, LD about 7% - with the others sharing the remainder.

To pass anything, you are either going to need a Tory/Labour consensus - or a Tory UKIP consensus. If you go ConLab, that will produce exactly the result that apparently disenchants so many people "the two main parties have nothing between them". If you go Tory/UKIP - that's going to make everyone on the left very unhappy and start moaning about their socialist revolution or soft left nonsense.

Even if you inflated the votes of the minor parties, there is no way that you're going to get representation for them without angering the majority. Let's say you get a Tory 40%, Labour 40% and a Green 11% result - you could get a government with eco-fascist policies that only 11% of people voted for.
Of course, we're now seeing that FPTP isn't the security against this people assumed. We're in this situation now, and it looks to be permanent.
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Clip
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(Original post by gladders)
Of course, we're now seeing that FPTP isn't the security against this people assumed. We're in this situation now, and it looks to be permanent.
Coalition government is quite rare in modern times. Why would you think it's permanent when it's happened once in living memory?
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WKUK
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#28
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FPTP has its flaws but there is a nice little saying that defends it:

"A Camel is a Horse designed by committee"

Which is essentially saying that if too many people get their say then a good vision can be ruined, which can lead to a big mess that nobody wanted.
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gladders
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#29
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#29
(Original post by Clip)
Coalition government is quite rare in modern times. Why would you think it's permanent when it's happened once in living memory?
All signs point to another hung parliament next year, arguably more hung than this one.
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Rakas21
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#30
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#30
(Original post by Clip)
Coalition government is quite rare in modern times. Why would you think it's permanent when it's happened once in living memory?
To be fair, governments lacking majorities is a tad more common. 1974, 1996 (Major lost his majority though by-elections) and now 2010. Odds of a minority in 2015 are also high.
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Clip
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(Original post by Rakas21)
To be fair, governments lacking majorities is a tad more common. 1974, 1996 (Major lost his majority though by-elections) and now 2010. Odds of a minority in 2015 are also high.
1974 isn't living memory for almost anyone here. John Major wasn't elected on a minority - and there was no question of a hung parliament in the following election.

2010 is the only hung parliament in 40 years, and only the second in 80 years.
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landscape2014
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#32
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Election systems are a man-made and their endurance (which, on occasion, is hostage to fortune) is mostly due to social inertia. All are susceptible to fraud and apathy, the second being inimical to the creation of a just society. Elections enables a voter to support a political party sympathetic to their point of view and with sufficient support that party member can be elected. The representative nature of the elected member is questionable when the type of election system under which they were elected is considered for it determines whether democracy or some other ideology is served.

Secret and uncoerced elections do not necessarily lead to democracy; FPTP and party lists are electoral systems designed to consolidate power in the hands of the party hierarchy in order to circumscribe the power of the party membership; the party’s electorate are offered either a party place-man or a centrally vetted local party member. Local parties possibly do not have the calibre of membership from which to nominate their own candidate without guidance from above so the partisan constituency voter has no choice and the hierarchy’s thinking cannot be effectively challenged by their own members or their electorate.

PR could give party members a position above that of ‘gofers’ which may encourage more politically motivated citizens to join political organizations. As more party members express their disenchantment with the present political organizations (by not joining parties and not voting at elections) an election system that allows committed party workers the power to directly choose more than one party member as candidates in elections and give their voters a choice would be a step towards encouraging more engagement by concerned citizens in the political process.

The trends shown by voters support for particular candidates could be assessed by the ballot box and, if the party leadership is representative of the ‘grass root‘ membership, allow its composition to reflect changes in the party electorate’s outlook. This could possibly cause the party hierarchy to consider altering policies accordingly. Under the present systems when one wing of a party captures control it is extremely difficult to dislodge it because it has - like the monarch of old - filled the majority of the party hierarchy with its adherents (who will continue to favour new‘ establishment‘ candidates). PR would introduce democracy and competition to the party system, concepts members claim to revere, but deny themselves! The first past the post system effectively denies democratic choice to both party worker and the electorate.

PR offers the party activist a more responsible part to play in the selection of candidates across the spectrum of opinion in a party. That power gives the electorate a choice and the necessity of a party putting forward just one candidate into the election process is removed without prejudicing the party‘s share of the vote.
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Jammy Duel
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#33
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Well, the simplest reason as to why we don't have it is that it isn't favourable to the main parties, their combined seats would drop substantially so they would never support PR and so it would never be enacted; supposing that somehow all the minor parties managed to win enough seats to form a massive coalition I wouldn't be surprised if PR came in because it would be favourable to the establishment at the time.

Should we have it, I don't think so. I would rather leave the balance of power in the main parties that, due to the fact that they win elections, have mostly sensible policies, PR would be giving too much power to the more idealist parties (the likes of the Greens and the Lib Dems) and to the more extreme parties (the likes of the BNP, English Democrats [although, has anybody even heard from them recently?] and UKIP). I would rather leave the power in the hands of a party I think I can trust to run the country I live in, or one I trust not to **** it up too badly than put it in the hand of people who sound like they will **** everything up for their absurd agendas.
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Jammy Duel
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#34
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(Original post by Clip)
1974 isn't living memory for almost anyone here. John Major wasn't elected on a minority - and there was no question of a hung parliament in the following election.

2010 is the only hung parliament in 40 years, and only the second in 80 years.
And the only coalition in British history to eventuate directly an election, and probably not the last in our lifetime.
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Green_Pink
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#35
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#35
(Original post by Clip)
Or it give minority parties power out of all proportion to their size.

On current polling with PR, you'd have a Tory / Labour dead heat with UKIP deciding who forms the next government, or depending on the system holding the balance of power in virtually every vote.
Or you could see for instance a Labour-led Government supported by any three out of Lib Dem/Green/SNP. Considering UKIP-Labour would never happen, it'd mostly come down to whether UKIP-Tory could hold a majority or not which on current polling is unlikely and even more so when you consider PR gives minor parties a boost in votes.
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Jammy Duel
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#36
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(Original post by Green_Pink)
Or you could see for instance a Labour-led Government supported by any three out of Lib Dem/Green/SNP. Considering UKIP-Labour would never happen, it'd mostly come down to whether UKIP-Tory could hold a majority or not which on current polling is unlikely and even more so when you consider PR gives minor parties a boost in votes.
Based purely on polling, they would only just miss out on a majority by a few percent at most, and with the recent downward trend in Labour support with a large amount of that seemingly going UKIP it would suggest that it isn't that unlikely. Although, there are still 6 months until the actual election which is rather a long time, but to me a Tory lead coalition would seem more probable given that if UKIP were sensible (which they don't seem to be), they would side with the Tories in an instant to get that referendum. Then again, their propaganda would suggest they couldn't care less about it.
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Clip
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(Original post by Green_Pink)
Or you could see for instance a Labour-led Government supported by any three out of Lib Dem/Green/SNP. Considering UKIP-Labour would never happen, it'd mostly come down to whether UKIP-Tory could hold a majority or not which on current polling is unlikely and even more so when you consider PR gives minor parties a boost in votes.
On current polling, UKIP-Tory does have a majority. Con 33%, UKIP 18%.

What you have there is a nightmare fudge made up of the centre right and the anti-EU. This isn't great - but at least there would be coherence and a government with policies that would give or take broadly reflect a majority.

A Labour plus rabble, on the other hand is just what Gordon Brown tried to do in 2010, and was widely and clearly derided for it. You'd be looking at a coalition of attention seekers that would make UKIP look like a coma ward.
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The Dictator
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#38
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#38
(Original post by Mackay)
More coalitions is JUST what we need.
The end of liberal democracy is JUST what we need.

On that basis I suppose a PR voting system, just so that the demise of liberal democracy will be hastened. Soon this rotten system will destroy itself through its own incompetence.

Unlike many ignorant fools who praise the dogma that is liberal democracy to the stars, I will happily criticise it and see it fall. Let's hope what replaces it will be a beacon of prosperity and stability.
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The Dictator
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#39
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Well, the simplest reason as to why we don't have it is that it isn't favourable to the main parties, their combined seats would drop substantially so they would never support PR and so it would never be enacted; supposing that somehow all the minor parties managed to win enough seats to form a massive coalition I wouldn't be surprised if PR came in because it would be favourable to the establishment at the time.

Should we have it, I don't think so. I would rather leave the balance of power in the main parties that, due to the fact that they win elections, have mostly sensible policies, PR would be giving too much power to the more idealist parties (the likes of the Greens and the Lib Dems) and to the more extreme parties (the likes of the BNP, English Democrats [although, has anybody even heard from them recently?] and UKIP). I would rather leave the power in the hands of a party I think I can trust to run the country I live in, or one I trust not to **** it up too badly than put it in the hand of people who sound like they will **** everything up for their absurd agendas.
The left-wing parties aren't extreme, but the right-wing ones are...typical.

What is more extreme than an £10 minimum wage and ridiculously expensive and inefficient eco-fascist policies? (Greens)???? -_-
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by The Dictator)
The left-wing parties aren't extreme, but the right-wing ones are...typical.

What is more extreme than an £10 minimum wage and ridiculously expensive and inefficient eco-fascist policies? (Greens)???? -_-
Hence why the more left wing are given as silly idealists and the more right wing/totalitarian as the more extreme.
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