Monday, March 31, 2008

Jack Straw

When Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary I had a lot of time for him, but apparently he's anti-PR, claiming it would "damage our democracy", despite the fact democracy has been damaged since 2000 by the actions of his government, elected on an ever-declining share of the popular vote (and yet still able to govern like a dictator, with no effective parliamentary opposition outside of the unelected House of Lords).

Johann Hari writes a brilliant piece espousing the benefits of PR (see here). It debunks those tired myths that get trotted out by opponents of PR (myths that are usually never challenged) and cuts right to the heart of the matter: unless you're lucky enough to be one of 200,000 people living in swing seats across the country, your vote currently doesn't count for diddly squat. In a PR system, every single vote would count, and you could - at last - vote for a party who reflected your views, whatever they are.

And if someone else tries to equate PR with weak government, look at the governments of 1973-9 or 1992-7, which were elected through FPTP. And please don't drag up the example of Adolf Hitler, as I'm sure dictators have been raised up through all kinds of voting systems - Christ, we've had two elected dictators (Thatcher and Blair) in this country over the past 30 years. And if you think that's over-egging the pudding, just try and hold a peaceful protest against something that goes against the interests of a powerful company or politician... Hint, they'll have you arrested under something laughably called the "Human Rights Act"...

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