Proportional representation is a an electoral system in which parties gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for them, rather than our first past the post system where the individual with the most votes, irrespective of the number in relation to the size of the electorate gets into power.
It has always been resisted in Great Britain for a number of reasons.
According to Fair Vote, the most common criticism of proportional representation is that it increases instability and leads to weaker governments. This is based on the tendency of PR elections to produce coalition legislatures. It also gives smaller parties the balance of power and allows them to play an elevated role in government as king-maker.
In the Northern Ireland Assembly however, a form of PR, known as a single transferable vote is used. Why this method was chosen, I do not know but, according to the report ‘The 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly Election: How Voters Used STV’, Northern Ireland’s voting system allows for a more diverse, open politics. This opens the question of why sauce for the goose and not for the gander.
The point of my blog is that despite not having PR in the Westminster Government we are suffering from proportional representation. We are victims of one of the very things PR was supposed to be cursed with, without any of the system’s benefits.
Following the last general election the Conservatives did a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to secure a majority in parliament. This is an arrangement that nobody in the electorate voted for and I doubt that the views of the DUP are representative of many people in Great Britain, let alone the United Kingdom.
The DUP has been allowed to become king-maker. Money which the government throughout the last parliament, has been telling us we didn’t have was found to sweeten the deal.
We don’t have PR in this country, instead we have something much worse UPR, unproportional representation. Once again, politicians have colluded to undermine the suffrage of the people they represent. Democracy is under threat.