Suddenly proportional representation is looking like the wise choice after all – isn’t it, Britain?
Some might say the result of the 2011 referendum on whether to introduce proportional representation for Parliamentary elections in the UK was a dire warning of the corruption that we see in government today. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The bid to introduce a fairer voting system was resoundingly defeated by a 68 per cent of votes against to only 32 per cent for, on a turnout of 42 per cent of the electorate.
I wonder if the survivors of the other 58 per cent of registered voters at the time regret not bothering to turn up now they know that the result meant a continuation of “safe seats”, allowing the MPs who occupy them to corrupt themselves with second jobs with impunity.
“FPTP has clearly given some MPs a brass neck. The leadership of opp parties must accept the only way they can give the public a realistic opportunity of unseating the worst offenders is by working together to secure a fairer voting system,” #PR https://t.co/FG6M7zrj2v
— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) November 21, 2021
You see, the current First Past The Post system lends itself to tribal voting, meaning that areas that traditionally vote for a particular party are likely to see that party’s representative into Parliament at every election, because there only needs to be enough of them to see off all the other contenders individually.
It means a minority of voters can impose their will – or, more realistically, the real plans behind the lies that their favoured party told to get elected – on the majority.
Do you think most of the UK wants the NHS carved up by a cabal of private corporations? Of course not – around 70 per cent of voters want full re-nationalisation. But that won’t stop the Tories taking it another step towards full privatisation – the exact opposite of what we want – on Tuesday.
By the same token, the individuals occupying those safe seats know that they’re unlikely to be voted out, so they know they can take second jobs and rake in the cash.
As the Guardian article states, the facts “undermine Boris Johnson’s suggestion that voters who disapprove of their MP’s outside work can simply unseat them at an election”.
Either that damned fool spoke without thinking (yet again), or he simply lied. Neither alternative is acceptable in a prime minister but – oh! He’s in a safe Tory seat! So you can’t vote him out.
You see how it works?
Pretty much all of the problems we have with our democracy today stem from the fact that in 2011 the UK voted not to have one.
Clive Lewis’s words (above) are absolutely true – but there is a fatal flaw.
The 2011 referendum was a once-in-a-lifetime situation, forced by the fact that the Tories had failed to win a majority in Parliament and a referendum was a condition of their coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
Now we live in a dictatorship where Boris Johnson lied his way to an 80-seat Conservative majority. Neither he nor any Tory who replaces him will ever allow another referendum because they know it would end the dictatorship they have lied so hard to achieve.
And we’re unlikely to see another hung Parliament for the foreseeable future because the main opposition party – Labour – is currently run by a red Tory wetwipe who probably couldn’t win an election if he was the only candidate.
Public opinion might push Johnson towards a gesture of some sort, but it won’t be much. He has already watered down plans to restrict MPs from holding second jobs.
And this week he can distract us all with the votes on the NHS and on asylum seekers.
Bread and circuses. It’s a tactic that has worked since Roman times – because you’re always going to fall for it. Or will you..?
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