Labcon’s big electoral reform fibs

Iain Dale has written a post about PR (via MMVC). He’s not in favour. His reasons?

Whatever system emerged would be bound to ruin the link between MPs and their constituencies.

Oh really?

Just look at the system for electing MEPs. I suspect only a small proportion of the people reading this could name their own MEPs.

The system for electing MEPs is shit (I think you will find that most people calling for PR would much prefer STV to the ridiculous party list system). But that’s not why people can’t name their MEPs. People couldn’t even name their MEPs when they were elected via FPTP. The reason people don’t know who their MEPs are is the woeful, almost non-existent coverage of EU-level politics — not the electoral system.

If we had PR I think you’d find a plethora of new political parties being formed.

I never really understood this ‘argument’ ‘against’ PR. It’s coming up to a decade since PR came to Scotland. So where are all the new political parties in Scotland, eh? I hardly think Solidarity counts, especially since most think that it just reduces the chances of any socialists getting elected next year.

The first commenter on Iain Dale’s post, tapestry, actually puts forward a good case for FPTP actually benefiting new / small parties more.

I do wonder why there are so many myths about electoral reform, especially since they are all so patently, demonstrably untrue. Oh, actually I know why. It’s because Labour and the Conservatives will tell every fib under the sun to maximise their chances of staying in power. If they were to tell the truth about electoral reform, that pesky democracy malarkey would just get in their way.


  1. The big problem with FPTP is that an election is decided by a small amount of swing voters in marginal constituencies. Those of us who have a sitting MP with a decent majority have a worthless vote. If that doesn’t undermine the process, I don’t know what does.

    Iain is part of the machine that benefits from this process, so, yes, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

  2. I just wish people would stop calling our present parliamentary election system first past the post. In the vast majority (no pun intended as the word isn’t really applicable) of cases it actually means NEAREST the post – certainly in terms of 50% of the votes cast in most constituencies. In other words most people get an MP they didn’t vote for and the country gets a government it didn’t vote for (voted AGAINST in fact) and which acts as if it had a proper mandate.