Leader – Sense of proportion

HC Crest

It’s clear: the UK party system is at a turning point.

To understand the implications of this, we need to go back to nineteenth century continental Europe when political turbulence led long-established parties to move their countries toward proportional representation; this was the only way for them to avoid the total wipeout that might have resulted from the retention of distorting majoritarian formulae.

Now is the time for our legacy parties to have the same thought.

Even here in reddest-of-red Hackney, the Labour vote share fell from 53.4 per cent in 2014 to 35 per cent this year.

Were anything approaching the recent poll results to be repeated at a General Election, the Conservative party would soon become a distant memory, and Labour would be seriously challenged in many parts of the UK.

Hackney citizens have long been partial to electoral reform; the borough topped the UK rankings in support for ‘yes’ in the ill-fated 2011 referendum on the alternative vote, with 61 per cent in favour of such a move.

Proportional representation would give parties seats in parliament that reflected their vote share; true, this might necessitate coalition governments, but the UK has more or less been in that position for the past decade anyway, and the recent explosion of party alignments indicates that stable single-party majorities may well be gone for good.

Social justice requires political justice, and the only way to achieve that is to have a fair electoral system.



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