A wonderfully graphic image of how our voting system is, as it were – no, as it is – disproportinate:
This winner takes all is also, it occurs to me, very destructive of political engagement. Why would you choose to vote in a contest in which, once over, you are completely ignored?
As an example Robert Peston tweeted:
The Irish leaders’ debate is really quite shocking. The three leaders have a detailed grasp of complex welfare and tax issues, they are polite and courteous, they admit mistakes, they say sorry. They might even be largely honest. Why is all that possible in Ireland but not here?
It is remarkable that he and many of us are so blinkered…
At least Keir Starmer – surely the runaway favourite to lead Labour – has nailed proportional representation colours to his mast. It has sometimes been to Labour’s advantage to go for winner takes all majority but it has never, ever, been fair. Starmer is completely correct, I suggest, not to gamble on majority rights but simply to concentrate on fairness.
Proportional representation forces people to recognise other points of view – parties are unlikley ever to get an overwhelming majority simply because the winner never takes all and a proportional system, based, as in Ireland, on preferences and so potentially transferable votes, means each party needs to have some sort of appeal for second, third and fourth preferences effectively by moderating their tones… Extremist parties are never favoured unless somehow other parties support them. And then probably anyone of those elected will have to govern in a coalition too.
What bliss it must be in Ireland to be alive…