We appreciate that your new Alliance is looking at the issue of democratic change which is vital in making our society more equitable. But we are sure that tens of thousands of electoral reformers will be very disappointed — indeed perplexed — by your decision to omit any reference to proportional representation (PR) from the 1 June mission statement of a group that is calling for “radical democratic change.”
Not wanting to change the voting system comes across as illogical if you are serious about making other reforms. And, to be clear, PR is not especially “radical.” More than 90 countries around the world already use PR and this far fairer voting system elects the legislatures in both Wales and Scotland. Westminster is the laggard.
Moreover, we are doubly disappointed that two leading Labour politicians strongly in favour of PR — namely, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford — have obviously lost out in making PR a part of your group’s mission statement. Other Scottish politicians from the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, two parties which also support PR as a matter of policy, have obviously lost out as well.
SUPPORT FOR A CHANGE TO PR GROWING RAPIDLY
Your statement is being issued at a time when the overwhelming majority of Labour Party members support PR and three of its largest unions — UNITE, UNISON and USDAW —- all support PR. So do the majority of UK voters. Only the Conservative Party still supports the archaic first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system.
Set up in the 1880s, FPTP is notoriously undemocratic. It has created hundreds of safe seats and means that millions of votes are wasted. Minorities often rule. Under PR, by comparison, seats won match votes cast. PR is far more equitable and nonpartisan.
AFRDC, which is headed by former PM Gordon Brown, was set up in Edinburgh on 1 June. Here is a press release of its launch:
We in GET PR DONE! ask that the AFRDC consider revising its mission statement and include PR as a basic democratic principle for a democratic country. Retaining FPTP is simply indefensible for democrats.
The steering group of GET PR DONE!