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

Vapor
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TheWiseSalmon
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Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, uses proportional representation.
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felamaslen
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We'd end up with many more coalitions, but I think it would be a good idea. I don't know about Swiss "direct democracy" though.
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DErasmus
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(Original post by felamaslen)
We'd end up with many more coalitions, but I think it would be a good idea. I don't know about Swiss "direct democracy" though.
We'd end up with more extremists.
Swiss direct democracy actually works ok.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by DErasmus)
We'd end up with more extremists.
Swiss direct democracy actually works ok.
True, but that may be a worthwhile trade off.
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Rakas21
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The primary advantage of FPTP is that it encourages stability by keeping out small, radical parties. A proportional system would give the likes of Ukip and the Greens leverage to force a coalition. On the other hand, one could argue that coalitions make politics more responsive, a proportional system would likely have produced Lords reform and an EU referendum already for example.

(Original post by DErasmus)
We'd end up with more extremists.
Swiss direct democracy actually works ok.
All comes down to culture I think. Guns are as legal in Switzerland as they are in the US but there are vastly different crime rates. In that same vein I don't think we'd see similar success to Sweden, only 40% of the electorate turn out for EU and AV referendum, less than half know who there MP is.
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DErasmus
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(Original post by Rakas21)
The primary advantage of FPTP is that it encourages stability by keeping out small, radical parties. A proportional system would give the likes of Ukip and the Greens leverage to force a coalition. On the other hand, one could argue that coalitions make politics more responsive, a proportional system would likely have produced Lords reform and an EU referendum already for example.



All comes down to culture I think. Guns are as legal in Switzerland as they are in the US but there are vastly different crime rates. In that same vein I don't think we'd see similar success to Sweden, only 40% of the electorate turn out for EU and AV referendum, less than half know who there MP is.
Agreed but would more people participate if they had a a more direct democracy, that is does the system make the apathetic culture or the culture the system?
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Rakas21
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(Original post by DErasmus)
Agreed but would more people participate if they had a a more direct democracy, that is does the system make the apathetic culture or the culture the system?
Our system gave the Tories 3 million members in the 50's so I suspect the system is fine. Things like the expenses scandal certainly did not help though.
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Mackay
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More coalitions is JUST what we need.
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illegaltobepoor
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(Original post by Vapor)
I'll admit I'm not entirely clued up on the ins and outs of all things political but I find the idea of PR a lot more appealing.

I've also noticed that most of the other major EU countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Italy etc have a PR system as well as Switzerland and Norway (both non-EU).

Can someone a bit wiser to the subject weigh in ?
Proportional Representation is a threat to established political parties & their benefactors. It gives the little guy a voice. That is why your never see it in Britain.

............................. Must keep the serfs in line !!!
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Clip
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(Original post by illegaltobepoor)
Proportional Representation is a threat to established political parties & their benefactors. It gives the little guy a voice. That is why your never see it in Britain.

............................. Must keep the serfs in line !!!
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.
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Chlorophile
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We should either use proportional representation or (preferably) STV. The current election style is an absolute joke and makes a complete mockery of democracy. By moving into an area with different political views to yourself, you basically relinquish any control over the outcome of elections and strategic voting keeps the awful large parties in control, not because anyone likes them, but because nobody wants to waste a vote on someone who might not win to keep the least terrible of the awful parties in control.
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JPBScotland
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Labour and the Tories would do all they can to stop it because it's a system which massively benefits the big parties. While we've got a coalition right now, majorities are the norm with FPTP. Under PR systems, they'd probably struggle to get a majority again.
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Aj12
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I always feel coalitions do a lot of damage to democracy, unless the parties clearly lay out what a coalition government would look like before an election. You see a lot of horse trading with people voting for one party, a coalition happening and them ditching a load of policies people voted for. Look at how pissed the lib dem voters were after they went into a coalition, regardless of talk of the national interest
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RF_PineMarten
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The argument that FPTP keeps extremists out of government and therefore proportional voting systems should be avoided is a fallacy.

PR gives minority parties some representation, but they have to represent a fairly large minority to get any representation at all. It's not going to give lots of seats to any party that stands and gets only a tiny % of the vote. FPTP doesn't keep parties like the BNP out of parliament - the fact that the majority of the British public find their fascism abhorrent does.

Our current voting system means a party getting 25% of the vote could get exactly 0 seats at a general election, while a party with 15% of the vote could get several seats. All based on how concentrated support is in a particular constituency, not what their overall support is.

A PR system would allow voters to effectively protest at the ballot box, and really shake up the political system to force all parties to be more accountable to the public. People could confidently vote for the party they actually support and make an impact.
But it will not cause more coalitions if other parties do their jobs properly - if a party starts to win seats then the main parties should take note and do something. e.g. The greens get a few seats so the Conservatives and Labour form tougher environment policies. If a protest party wins enough seats in a PR election to form a coalition, surely that is overwhelmingly the fault of other parties for ignoring those concerns, not the fault of the voting system?

Sometimes, arguments about "extremist parties gaining seats in parliament and getting in the way" seem to actually mean "I don't like those parties so I support a hideously unrepresentative voting system to keep them out even if that party is polling higher than other parties which actually have seats".
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gladders
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Any political party purporting to support or oppose any particular voting system should be treated with the deepest suspicion; they will always advocate the system that benefits them the most.
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RF_PineMarten
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
We should either use proportional representation or (preferably) STV. The current election style is an absolute joke and makes a complete mockery of democracy. By moving into an area with different political views to yourself, you basically relinquish any control over the outcome of elections and strategic voting keeps the awful large parties in control, not because anyone likes them, but because nobody wants to waste a vote on someone who might not win to keep the least terrible of the awful parties in control.
+1 Ran out of reps.

Under a proportional system, voters have much more power to get rid of someone who is unpopular, instead of him/her surviving because the vote against them is split between several different parties.

It would make politicians a lot more responsive to public opinion and give voters much more power over their MPs - isn't that how it's supposed to be?

I was thinking the European election D'Hondt (spelling?) system would be good, and it's tried and tested.
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gladders
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(Original post by RFowler)
+1 Ran out of reps.

Under a proportional system, voters have much more power to get rid of someone who is unpopular, instead of him/her surviving because the vote against them is split between several different parties.

It would make politicians a lot more responsive to public opinion and give voters much more power over their MPs - isn't that how it's supposed to be?

I was thinking the European election D'Hondt (spelling?) system would be good, and it's tried and tested.
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.
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landscape2014
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Why doesn’t the UK use PR and should we?

In the UK/US the path to a clique controlled mandated legislative body is the outcome of a historical process in which commercial social elites first circumscribed (C17th) and then appropriated the power of the monarchy (monarchical power is exercised in the UK by the prime minister - the equivalent of an elective monarch (selected by a party elite) who relies on usurped royal prerogative not the ultimate sovereignty of parliament (which murdered the monarch in 1649 to acquire it) - to govern subjects, not citizens. The power of the monarch to put his/her man or woman in positions of authority was adopted by all the political parties that succeeded it - the community does not choose its representatives and administrators, political or establishment bodies do, the electorate are invited to pass judgement periodically on which central committee selected candidates the various party establishments put before them.

The point of FPTP is to consolidate the power of choice in the hands of the party hierarchy not the party member nor the electorate. It is certainly not meant to represent a constituency’s political makeup. Our political establishments do not trust the voting public nor their memberships to choose the ‘right’ people; which explains their unswerving commitment to first past the post elections; it consolidates candidate selection in the hands of the party hierarchy and successfully renders about two-thirds of the votes cast in an election valueless. If genuine representation (non-existent under FPTP) is not to be the object of an election what is the point of the election - certainly not representation of the people in a constituency - it is a method of securing party representation in parliament on a minority vote.

Should we move to PR? Is there a call from the electorate for a change to constituency representative government? The recent referendum on AV I believe accurately reflected the population’s interest in political/economic philosophy (a 10% turnout). Even this level of turnout represents millions of electors who do not make their convictions felt by engaging in political activity, in fact ordinary party members are abandoning the moribund mainstream political organizations as they wake up to the fact that FPTP circumscribes any thoughts they may entertain in relation to candidates or policy, their power to influence the party extends little farther than the doorstep and tea urn (’gofers‘). Billy C is reported to have said, “ Don’t vote. It only encourages them”, (not to change their behaviour). The only means of expressing our feelings about the present electoral system is through the ballot box, a large cross over the entire ballot paper would at least express the level of popular discontent with the present arrangements.

Encouraging the political establishment to believe they can continue to manage the nation as they presently do should ensure an increasing discontented population. Generating enough interest for PR in the voting population is only a start, that interest has to have the effect of focussing political organisations on a commitment to the notion ascribed to Solon (C6th bc) that ’ citizen’s, by right, should be masters of the State’ a notion whose sincere adoption by those concerned in the political process would promote a examination of their commitment to the democratic philosophy they constantly frustrate through the use of non-democratic means to arrive at the hierarchical authority figures necessary to manage large human communities. .



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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.
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