Proportional Representation: Good Enough for the Celts, Why Not England?


Liam Bateman writes.

There’s no denying that the British electoral system is broken. Many experts on election systems across the spectrum, including well known YouTuber CGP Grey agrees. The First Past The Post system gave a party with 37% of the voters’ backing 51% of the seats and 100% of the control, much to the ire of Britons and Western political followers everywhere. The calls have been coming since the days of Margaret Thatcher, but still, little has changed, despite a referendum on the alternative vote, which I consider FPTP 2.0

Britain is one of the few countries in the Western world to still use the system, along with Canada, who may scrap the system in the event of a Liberal or New Democratic victory and the United States as part of their electoral college for the presidency. However, looking closer, it seems that first past the post is entering its death throes as more and more calls are being made for PR. And actually, Britain already has PR in the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, though two different systems are used.

The Scots and Welsh both use a form of MMP, though unlike us, their party lists are regionalised. This does mean there can be disproportionality still, but is much less than the inferior system. Northern Ireland uses the Single Transferable Vote system, a combination of MMP and AV. The constituencies elect multiple representatives to ensure a fair representation of the voters.

Even in Britain, we are seeing the death of the FPTP system and it’s time to ask the voters, “It’s good enough for the Celts, why not us?” If the system is kept, we are going to see a fall in turnout and a generation further turned off to politics.

I also have a message for those who think FPTP is a fine system. If you think it’s fine to have a system that turbo-enfranchises the parties you like and disenfranchises those you don’t, it doesn’t sound like you support open democracy, it sounds you support a dictatorship lite. Elections aren’t a sport with a winner and loser, it’s how we choose who will represent the people of our nation.

Here’s CGP Grey’s thoughts on Britain’s problem:


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