First past the post vs proportional representation Watch

Lala143
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This post has been made to find the different views of which is a better voting system.

If you're the proposition please reply with 'This house believes that Proportional representation is a better voting system than First Past the Post' and the rest of your speech.

If you're the opposition please reply with 'This house believes that First Past the Post is a better voting system than Proportional representation' and the rest of your speech.

Please try to keep it in equilibrium so if there are more propositions than oppositions then please write an opposition.

You can make points of information but you're not required to similarly, you're not required to respond.
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Burton Bridge
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I voted for first past the post, I believe it is the best system. The problem with Proportional representation is in practice it resigns us to hung parliaments where is is used and the problem with coalition governments is a manifesto that gets rejected at the ballot box can end up in power in part.

Fptp for me
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SHallowvale
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FPTP leads to undemocratic outcomes.

The 2015 election is a perfect example of this. The Conservative Party got a mere 36% of the total vote with 11 million votes yet claimed over half of seats, 330 to be exact, in Parliament. Meanwhile UKIP received approximately 13% of the vote, roughly 33% of the votes that the Conservatives got, and only 1 seat.

Clearly the democratic process is failing if literally millions of people vote and their voice is not being represented in any way.

The Liberal Democrats have suffered the most from this; in every election since they were founded, the proportion of seats they've won has always been at least less than half of that of their voter share. This means they've always 'deserved' double the seats they've won and more. For example, in the 2010 election they received 23% of the vote but only 57 seats. In a proportional system they would have received about 150 seats.
Last edited by SHallowvale; 3 weeks ago
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Andrew97
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No voting system is ideal.

FPTP gives parties like the SNP too much power, while screwing over UKIP.
PR would lead to hung parliaments forever, and the LD or SNP would just be in a collation for enternity,
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fallen_acorns
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I like PR and similar systems a lot...

But you can't just dump a new voting system into our larger political system and expect it to work perfectly. Just saying right.. from now on, its PR, would be a disaster, and lead to all sorts of inefficient governance.

Generally speaking
FPTP is good at: Constituency level representation + Efficiently forming majorities.
FPTP is bad at: responding quickly to changes in public opinion + representing minority opinions

PR is good at: national level representation and quick responses to changes in public opinion
PR is bad at: creating simple and efficient governments able to enact change quickly, and make sometimes un-popular decisions.

I like the positive from PR a lot. For me brexit could have been either avoided entirely, or handled in a much much better way, if we had been living under PR for the past few decades. BUT to implement it you would need to re-structure our political and civil service institutions to counter the efficiency problems that PR creates. Our current system, unchanged, plus PR - would lead to constant stalemates and a complete inability to govern quickly and efficiently.
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Davij038
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I prefer AV to PR but PR is better than FPTP.
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jameswhughes
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You would vote differently if the system was different. Would people still be asking for change if it led to a UKIP government? I somehow don't think so. :lol:
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DSilva
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
You would vote differently if the system was different. Would people still be asking for change if it led to a UKIP government? I somehow don't think so. :lol:
Not true at all. The main people who've pushed PR have tended to be left or Liberal, in the full knowledge that it would have helped UKIP at the time.

I may despise UKIP but if 12% of the electorate vote for them, they should obviously have far more representation than just one seat.

The argument against PR, which seems to come from the right quite a lot, is that it would lead to parties they don't like having more of a say. How democratic.
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SHallowvale
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One argument people use against PR is that it would always lead to hung parliaments.

While this is true, hung parliaments are not a bad thing.
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Burton Bridge
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
One argument people use against PR is that it would always lead to hung parliaments.

While this is true, hung parliaments are not a bad thing.
True but they are more often than not
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HumbleBee_x
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Is this for A-level Politics?
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by Burton Bridge)
True but they are more often than not
Why?
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Why?
Because people want a functional government. Belgium, for example, used PR to elect its national government, but since no party could agree, it was left without a fully fledged government for over a year (598 days to be specific) from 2010-11. This happens every time an election is won in Germany also, with parties sorting out their coalitions for around 3-4 months. Moreover, coalitions are not good things - nobody voted them directly into office meaning that they don't have a mandate. In the UK, this would mean the Lords, an unelected body, could ignore the Salisbury Convention and challenge the government continuously. (I personally think that is a good thing, but a lot of people don't.)
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Burton Bridge
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Why?
Because you end up with a mismatch of manifestos and it becomes the politicians that deside what they do and limits the ability of the electorate to hold the responsible.

Also a manifesto which was rejected by the majority end up with more power than they should have. If you cast you mind back remember cleggmania? For example of this, cleggmania never happened at the ballot box but his parties policies still came in due to a hung parliament while labour's who gained far more seats and votes was shunned, lib den polices like the 10k tax policy which is stupid and regressive, the tories adopted that as theirs now because it regressive. Non of this is what the electorate voted for but has happened due to a hung parliament, also the effect of the stock market, the list goes on and on
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)
Because people want a functional government. Belgium, for example, used PR to elect its national government, but since no party could agree, it was left without a fully fledged government for over a year (598 days to be specific) from 2010-11. This happens every time an election is won in Germany also, with parties sorting out their coalitions for around 3-4 months. Moreover, coalitions are not good things - nobody voted them directly into office meaning that they don't have a mandate. In the UK, this would mean the Lords, an unelected body, could ignore the Salisbury Convention and challenge the government continuously. (I personally think that is a good thing, but a lot of people don't.)
The last coalition Government we had took 5 days to form since the date of the election. Our current government (albeit not exactly a coalition) took 3 days. The Cameron-Clegg coalition was certainly functional. The current Finnish and New Zealand governments took approximately a month to form and government shutdowns don't necessarily have to happen.

Honestly I wouldn't care if it takes even 4 months for a government to form after an election. It's not ideal, should it happen, but I'd pay that for having a voting system where people are actually represented and not totally ignored.

If the electoral system was geared towards coalitions then these would have to be discussed during the election campaigns. If someone specifically did not want certain parties to form a coalition then their vote will reflect this. Plus people will still need to vote in the participating parties so they themselves will have a mandate.
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by Burton Bridge)
Because you end up with a mismatch of manifestos and it becomes the politicians that deside what they do and limits the ability of the electorate to hold the responsible.

Also a manifesto which was rejected by the majority end up with more power than they should have. If you cast you mind back remember cleggmania? For example of this, cleggmania never happened at the ballot box but his parties policies still came in due to a hung parliament while labour's who gained far more seats and votes was shunned, lib den polices like the 10k tax policy which is stupid and regressive, the tories adopted that as theirs now because it regressive. Non of this is what the electorate voted for but has happened due to a hung parliament, also the effect of the stock market, the list goes on and on
Governments will have to compromise on their promises. If a party joins a coalition and supports a policy which their voters are extremely unhappy with then they will be held responsible (the Liberal Democrats are a perfect example).

Your last part doesn't make sense since you will get the same thing under FPTP. In 2015, 64% did not vote for the Conservatives. They were, as you've said, "rejected by the majority [but] end up with more power than they should have". In 2017, 42% voted for the Conservatives and 40% voted for Labour - why do you think that 2% should determine who gets to run a country for the next 5 years?
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cuber314159
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we should stick with first past the post because whilst many people like to vote for a party, we are actually voting for a candidate to represent our constituency and in reality we should pick whichever candidate we want to represent us. proportional representation locks us into a party system where each person is responsible for the whole country. MPs are meant to represent their constituency and know their constituency well regardless of their party. with first past the post you do not have to be tied to a party to be an MP, it just makes it easier to get in.
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Burton Bridge
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Governments will have to compromise on their promises. If a party joins a coalition and supports a policy which their voters are extremely unhappy with then they will be held responsible (the Liberal Democrats are a perfect example).

Your last part doesn't make sense since you will get the same thing under FPTP. In 2015, 64% did not vote for the Conservatives. They were, as you've said, "rejected by the majority [but] end up with more power than they should have". In 2017, 42% voted for the Conservatives and 40% voted for Labour - why do you think that 2% should determine who gets to run a country for the next 5 years?
I'm not saying that at all, fptp is not ideal but it's the the system we have, you are assuming I'm saying that fptp is brilliant and I love it. You asked me why and highlighted the pitfalls of AV systems and the problems they create in country's that use them.

The Liberals got an unfair hammer from the electorate regarding what they did in 2010-15 the the tories got off Scott free as I said not what the public voted for.

There is no point in scraping one flawed system for another flawed system, the public wanted FPTP they have FPTP, that's called democracy.
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Burton Bridge
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(Original post by cuber314159)
MPs are meant to represent their constituency and know their constituency well regardless of their party.
And when they don't like Lilian Greenwood isn't in my case and Anna Soubry isn't then we can directly target them, via alternate voting system the electorate does not have that power.
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HighOnGoofballs
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SHallowvale

>The last coalition Government we had took 5 days to form since the date of the election.

We're in a FPTP system. We don't have a lot of parties. It was easy for the Tories to form a coalition with the LDs, because that was the obvious choice, and the LDs were desperate to make an impact in this country. In a PR system, parties hold equal leverage, and each has influence, so there is no desperation to clinch power. Basically, your example is flawed. Most elections in PR countries take lots and lots of time to materialize a government - using a country that functions within a FPTP system is not justified.

>Our current government (albeit not exactly a coalition) took 3 days.

Again, we're in a FPTP system. If you want to disprove my point, use examples from countries which actually have PR.

>The Cameron-Clegg coalition was certainly functional.

FPTP. It was functional because FPTP is designed to give a 'winners bonus' - PR doesn't.

>The current Finnish and New Zealand governments took approximately a month to form and government shutdowns don't necessarily have to happen.

Right, finally some examples we can discuss. I would argue a month is a long time, most people in this country, I would imagine, want a functional government, and would not be able to tolerate the government not being in place for over a month. It would be quite a shock for the British public, who have "enjoyed" decades of instant governments, to suddenly be in a place where one cannot form for months.

>Honestly I wouldn't care if it takes even 4 months for a government to form after an election. It's not ideal, should it happen, but I'd pay that for having a voting system where people are actually represented and not totally ignored.

Then advocate for AMS, not PR. Best of both worlds.

>If someone specifically did not want certain parties to form a coalition then their vote will reflect this.

How? The parties decide, not the voter. Could you clarify what you mean?
Last edited by HighOnGoofballs; 3 weeks ago
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