No PR, No Vote

Image thanks to Morning Star

Another day, another broken promise. This time it is from the Leader of the Opposition although he may deny ever making such a commitment. At last year’s Labour party conference delegates overwhelmingly voted to back a change to the voting system for Westminster to a form of proportional representation. This included the support of unions including UNISON, UNITE and USDAW.

At that point my hopes were raised. I thought there was some chance that the first past the post voting (FPTP) was approaching its demise. FPTP is a hideous atrocity in that it allows those to govern on a minority of the electorate and denies people a meaningful vote (almost 23 million of them according to the Electoral Commission in the 2019 general election). It also means that people have to vote tactically to try and game the election system. According to YouGov, in the same election, nearly a third of people admitted to voting for someone else other than their preferred candidate.

But conference doesn’t set the manifesto, that is down to Starmer himself and the National Executive Committee. Apparently he has a ‘long-standing view against proportional representation’ and ‘isn’t looking to change the electoral system…It’s not something that’s a priority for him’.

That’s me out then. Despite my overwhelming desire to get this government out of power at the next general election I am going to struggle to lend my vote to a party that is content to maintain the status quo. 

One thing is clear, the Conservatives are good at winning elections. At a national level, the Tories win around 50% more than Labour. (In the last century, despite never winning more than 49.7% of the vote, the Conservatives have won 13 elections as well as being the dominant party in 2 coalitions and 2 national governments, while Labour has won 11). Labour may win the next general election but the Tories will be back. In my mind they are better at managing the system and FPTP works for them. It doesn’t work so  well for Labour.

I know it’s still some way away but there are two issues for me at the next general election: Our relationship with the EU and changing our awful electoral system.

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