LETTER: Disadvantages of PR system

Unlike the proportional representation enthusing correspondent, Ms Prior, there are millions of us who voted against PR in the 2011 referendum who are glad the result was as decisive as it was a majority against of over two to one.

Friday, 15th December 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:51 pm

So, yes, the issue was settled then and any return to the issue would be unwarranted.

At first sight PR does indeed seem a fair way of electing MPs but it achieves nothing more than the existing system, with a major disadvantage thrown in.

Blairite Labour, love it or hate it, was born out of the threat posed to Old Labour from the newly formed SDP/Liberal alliance to its right.

The shift of the Labour Party in the 90s towards the political centre was achieved by this threat to its traditional vote, not by horse trading with other parties in the inevitable hung elections a PR system would be likely to produce.

Similarly, a Conservative administration after a PR rules election would have found itself in coalition with UKIP in order to govern.

As it was, David Cameron could see his electoral support dangerously draining away, so he took the central plank of UKIP’s agenda, a referendum on EU membership, and made it his own.

The same effect as PR achieved without weakening the rest of his manifesto.

If you look around Europe at the present time, all PR has done is to achieve weak, emasculated government, from Dublin to Rome, and now Berlin.

Taking German history as an example: the Weimar Republic, an eminently democratic form of government, was set up after the first world war, with PR as the cornerstone of its existence.

Soon a small, insignificant, some would say crackpot party was able to inveigle its way into coalition and ultimately form the government. Thus was born Nazi Germany.

Had the fathers of Weimar adopted the first past the post system, the horrors of Hitler and the terrible consequences of his rule that we still grapple with today would have been avoided.

PR? No thank you?