Monday, October 14, 2013
Proportional Representation - Will It Be An Issue In The Next Election?
I put this comment on the main "LibDem" blog LibDemBlog. The bad news is that it hasn't been answered but the good news is that, for once, it hasn't been censored:
"One question not asked here, following UKIP’s success is are the LibDems still enthusiastic for PR. For all my life this has been the one policy all LibDems were known for and agreed on but when the council elections were declared Simon Hughes went to great lengths to insist that UKIP had not overtaken the LDs because the latter may have had fewer votes but because of the FPTP system they still have more councillors.
Paint me cynical but the LDs principled support for PR seems little mentioned now. Does the party still actively, not just nominally, support it?"
The "political consensus" is that the establishment saw off proportional representation for a generation by winning the "not actually PE but all we'll let you consider" referendum by refusing to debate the issue and being rude about Clegg.
However it got a no vote precisely because it wasn't PR. This is a graph of polls which shows long term support for PR
You don't get much more conclusive than that, though to be fair the producers of it made a desperate attempt to say otherwise.
Also interesting is that there seems to be a total halt to polling on the subject since, which shows how much the agenda is set from on high.
However an absence of looking for evidence is not evidence for a change of view and it seems overwhelmingly likely that there is still a similar disparity between supporters of democratic elections and of the present corrupt system.
I suspect that this is both going to become more of an issue and an issue on which opinion is even more unanimous, as we approach the next election. It seems likely that the largest party, even if it doesn't get an absolute majority, will have little over 30% of the vote. Labour might even pull an overall majority on that. UKIP and the Conservatives could each get about 25% and the LDs 10% with drastically different (& smaller) representation. The old defence of FPTP, that it produces stability and strong government will be completely exposed, since whatever the law, any Labour government behaving dictatorially would merely make the nation ungovernable.
UKIP is committed to PR (& as the comment above shows) may be the only party now fully so committed. PR is also the one policy on which all "LibDems" agree so it would be extremely difficult for the party to advise voting Labour or Tory in preference to UKIP in seats where their own candidate has no chance. It is also one of the issues for which the accusation that UKIP is "right wing" is clearly proven false.
Lets see. Click on this poll. If you choose the 3rd answer please comment here.
I have recently read Nigel Farage's autobiography Flying Free and it confirms my opinion that the party he leads is basically reinventing the Liberal party as historically defined, the Pseudoliberals having sold their inheritance for a mess of parasitism.