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THE CASE FOR PR Most points are from Vernon Bogdanor “What is Proportional Representation?”

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Presentation on theme: "THE CASE FOR PR Most points are from Vernon Bogdanor “What is Proportional Representation?”"— Presentation transcript:

1 THE CASE FOR PR Most points are from Vernon Bogdanor “What is Proportional Representation?”

2 Describe the arguments for and against electing the house of commons by proportional representation.Describe the arguments for and against electing the house of commons by proportional representation. Arguments for FPTP (including those against PR)Arguments for FPTP (including those against PR) Arguments for PR (including those against FPTP)Arguments for PR (including those against FPTP)

3 Part 1 Myths about PR Rebuttal points

4 1. Some fear the central party but - the central party (that holds the balance) will become a pivot They would become a RESPONSIBLE pivot and would be held to account by the electorate. It would also be checked by its larger coalition partner. Power is SHARED and there would have to be CONSENSUS

5 2. Some say PR is complicated – but it isn’t Are British people more stupid that our European neighbours who use PR e.g. Germany? PR is already used in Britain – STV for councils in Scotland, Party List in EU elections.

6 In 1994 Black South Africans voted for the first time. 80% of them could not read or write. However they managed to vote using Party List. Party List is one of 4 PR systems currently in use in the U.K.

7 3. PR encourages extremism? – It does not. Hitler came to power because of other issues e.g. Versailles, economic collapse etc. NOT because of the voting system.

8 4. PR encourages the proliferation of parties? It does not. PR has led to a reduction of the number of parties in Ireland and Germany.

9 5. PR means frequent elections – It does not. Germany and Ireland average the same number of elections as the UK. In Scotland Labour and Liberal Democrats formed coalition governments in 1999 and Each ran its full term.

10 6. PR means coalitions and this means that voters don’t actually choose ‘The Government’ Under FPTP voters are often choosing which party will govern – Labour or Conservatives. Opinion polls however inform the voters and they can make decisions based on that.

11 7. PR destroys the link between M.P. and constituency? Some systems (such as Germany) have retained single member constituencies. Multi member constituencies such as Scottish Councils (STV) means the public are better served as they can speak to a representative who shares their view.

12 Arguments against FPTP Source – Ian Wright of the Electoral Reform Society

13 Only one MP is elected per constituency DUMFRIESSHIRE, CLYDESDALE AND TWEEDDALE - GENERAL ELECTION 2010DUMFRIESSHIRE, CLYDESDALE AND TWEEDDALE - GENERAL ELECTION 2010 David Mundell (Con) 17,457David Mundell (Con) 17,457 Claudia Beamish (Lab) 13,263Claudia Beamish (Lab) 13,263 Catriona Bhatia (Lib Dem) 9,080Catriona Bhatia (Lib Dem) 9,080 Aileen Orr (SNP) 4,945Aileen Orr (SNP) 4,945 Steven McKeane (UKIP) 637Steven McKeane (UKIP) 637 Alis Ballance (Green) 510Alis Ballance (Green) 510 Voters who didn’t vote for the winning M.P. may feel that they are not represented. David Mundell only need one more vote than Claudia Beamish to win and so over 4,000 of his votes didn’t matter. Those who voted for neither Labour or Conservatives wasted their vote.

14 Wasted Votes In 1997 there were 14.7 ineffective votes. (That is 48% of those who voted). Examples include Labour voters in Surrey ( a Cons area) and Conservative voters in Durham ( a strong Labour area).

15 There is a lack of choice to voters. Candidates are selected by a small number of party members. The voter can only vote for the candidate put forward by their party. STV would change that.

16 Voters are unequally represented In 2010 the Lib Dem vote rose by 23% (1 million votes) but they lost 5 seats! In 1997 Labour got an M.P. elected with – on average – 32,000 votes. For the Lib Dems the average was 113,000. A crowd of 113,000

17 FPTP leads to people casting negative votes. People often vote for someone they don’t like to stop someone they hate election figures

18 FPTP distorts results In 2005 Labour won 35% of the vote but gained 413 out of 646


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