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'Should we switch to proportional representation?' poll discussion

edited 17 May 2010 at 3:55PM in Money Saving Polls
138 replies 12.4K views
Former_MSE_LawrenceFormer_MSE_Lawrence Former MSE
975 Posts
edited 17 May 2010 at 3:55PM in Money Saving Polls
Poll between 10-17 May 2010:

Should we switch to proportional representation?


In last week’s election the split of votes was

Tory 36%, Labour 29%, Lib Dems 23%

yet the share of seats won (excluding others)

Tory 49%, Labour 42%, Lib Dem 9%.

Proportional representation would mean the seats won are in proportion to the vote share – yet the argument against is it would likely lead us to permanent hung parliaments.

Should we switch to proportional representation?

A. Yes - 66% (8863 votes)
B. No - 34% (4634 votes)

Total Votes: 13497

Voting has now closed, but you can still click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks :)

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Replies

  • edited 10 May 2010 at 11:54AM
    Gareth_LazelleGareth_Lazelle Forumite
    110 Posts
    edited 10 May 2010 at 11:54AM
    Sure we should,

    Why would anyone accept elections being decided by the fall of electoral boundaries rather than the votes of the public?

    <edit> And as an addendum to that thought, why should anyones vote be meaningless - even the votes of the Conservatives in Scotland should count and benefit the Conservative party. And vice-versa of course. The situation of only a few constituencies being important is ludicrous, the parties should each be trying to get all of our votes, even if we don't live in the marginals,

    As for the "minor parties" - why would we consider a party that achieved 6.8 million votes as to be a trivial number of people. Why must "strong government" be "unfair government"?
    - GL
  • FATBALLZFATBALLZ Forumite
    5.1K Posts
    PR won't work, especially in the UK. This whole 'First past the post is unfair' drive is a poorly disguised attempt to keep the Conservatives out instigated by the left wing.
  • FATBALLZ wrote: »
    PR won't work, especially in the UK. This whole 'First past the post is unfair' drive is a poorly disguised attempt to keep the Conservatives out instigated by the left wing.
    Care to explain how it keeps the Conservatives out? They did fairly well in the last election, so even under PR they would have a fair say in how things run.

    Are you saying that the Conservatives need a head start because they are unpopular? That doesn't seem very democratic?

    If people vote for the Conservatives then they would have power even under PR. If folks don't vote for them then they don't deserve power.

    And why especially in the UK? Are we democratically deficient in some way?
    - GL
  • edited 10 May 2010 at 2:42PM
    teddycoteddyco Forumite
    397 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    edited 10 May 2010 at 2:42PM
    The problem with Proportional Representation is that it increases the likelihood of having a hung parliament
    and a government that doesn't have a clear majority. It also creates coalition governments that spend too
    much time talking and less time actually passing legislation.

    If we embraced Proportional Representation, we would see more behind closed doors politics like what is currently
    happening. It would lead to a government that spent more time arguing and less time making decisions.

    It's a great way to mire our government in 'red tape'.
  • FATBALLZFATBALLZ Forumite
    5.1K Posts
    Care to explain how it keeps the Conservatives out? They did fairly well in the last election, so even under PR they would have a fair say in how things run.

    Are you saying that the Conservatives need a head start because they are unpopular? That doesn't seem very democratic?

    If people vote for the Conservatives then they would have power even under PR. If folks don't vote for them then they don't deserve power.

    And why especially in the UK? Are we democratically deficient in some way?

    Because the left wing parties have a higher percentage of the votes than the conservatives. So they could halt any policies the conservatives want.

    Labour had a lower percentage of the vote last time yet got a clear majority which was far less representative than the outcome this time, and I don't remember hearing as much as a squeak that this was unfair and we need PR to fix it.
  • edited 10 May 2010 at 2:39PM
    Gareth_LazelleGareth_Lazelle Forumite
    110 Posts
    edited 10 May 2010 at 2:39PM
    FATBALLZ wrote: »
    Because the left wing parties have a higher percentage of the votes than the conservatives. So they could halt any policies the conservatives want.
    As you note though - they have a higher percentage of the votes - which is to say that more people voted for left-wing parties,

    How is that unfair? If anything it is a statement of how unfair things are now!
    FATBALLZ wrote: »
    Labour had a lower percentage of the vote last time yet got a clear majority which was far less representative than the outcome this time, and I don't remember hearing as much as a squeak that this was unfair and we need PR to fix it.
    So FPTP sometimes hurts the Torys too ... Perhaps you should have listened to the Liberals back then... (Or changed it back when you had the chance)

    Question is, are you going to turn away from PR just for short-term gain?
    - GL
  • shell_girlshell_girl Forumite
    642 Posts
    Something I'm curious about- if we were to switch to PR then what would happen in terms of parties that only stand in a few constituencies?

    Eg- SNP and Plaid, would their share of the vote be counted as x share of the vote in y constituencies, so x amount of seats out of y amount of possible seats, or as a share of the whole electorate?

    Sorry probably a stupid question but I'd love to know if anyone can tell me :o
    Don't suffer alone - if you are experiencing Domestic Abuse contact the National Domestic Abuse Helplines
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  • edited 10 May 2010 at 2:50PM
    Gareth_LazelleGareth_Lazelle Forumite
    110 Posts
    edited 10 May 2010 at 2:50PM
    shell_girl wrote: »
    Something I'm curious about- if we were to switch to PR then what would happen in terms of parties that only stand in a few constituencies?
    They would get MPs proportional to their vote across the entire country (the whole electorate),

    That said, they may well still do better if their support is distributed across the seats that they do stand in but don't win,

    So they shouldn't get an "unfair" advantage,
    - GL
  • edited 10 May 2010 at 3:06PM
    teddycoteddyco Forumite
    397 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    edited 10 May 2010 at 3:06PM
    One other problem with Proportional Representation is the fact that many Labour policies are identical to Liberal Democrat policies and to give each party equal representation is basically allowing two to gang up on one in the government. Two liberal party's against one conservative party is not a fair system.

    Hurray say left wingers, but at the end of the day, isn't this all about fairness?

    Just for argument sake, let's suppose someone started two other political groups and they were called 'The Ultra-Conservatives' and the 'Super Ultra-Conservatives'.

    The House of Commons would then have MP's from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, The Ultra Conservatives and the Super Ultra Conservatives. There would actually be more MP's from three party's in government who had conservative policies and only two party's with liberal policies. Now let's suppose that the Conservatives won by a small margin, but the Ultra Conservatives and Super Ultra Conservatives could combine their forces and completely silence Labour and the Lib Dems. It would be Three against One and no one would call that fair would they?

    So basically, it's a sneaky way for the left wing to put more MP's in Parliament who have liberal agenda's.
  • edited 10 May 2010 at 3:16PM
    Gareth_LazelleGareth_Lazelle Forumite
    110 Posts
    edited 10 May 2010 at 3:16PM
    teddyco wrote: »
    One other problem with Proportional Representation is the fact that many Labour policies are identical to Liberal Democrat policies and to give each party equal representation is basically allowing two to gang up on one in the government. Two liberal party's against one conservative party is not a fair system.
    How does that allow them to "gang up" - the left-wing vote is split in that situation, so while there are two of them, they each have half of the power they would have had otherwise.

    Unless between them they have more total votes than the right-wing parties (then they could "gang up" on the right), but of course then they have more votes, so they should be setting the policies, shouldn't they?

    Are you telling me that the right-wing voters are more likely to support a left-wing party just because there are two of them?
    teddyco wrote: »
    Hurray say left wingers, but at the end of the day, isn't this all about fairness?
    You don't get extra votes for having more parties, the same number of votes (and MPs) are instead split between the parties. More parties just means fewer votes (and so MPs) for each of them,
    teddyco wrote: »
    . Now let's suppose that the Conservatives won by a small margin, but the Ultra Conservatives and Super Ultra Conservatives could combine their forces and completely silence Labour and the Lib Dems. It would be Three against One and no one would call that fair would they?
    They would if they had more total votes.

    But again, if you do that you don't create extra MPs, instead the conservatives would lose MPs, and the two new parties would split the lost MPs between them.

    So in practice the balance of power wouldn't shift at all.
    - GL
This discussion has been closed.
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