Monday, June 1, 2009

Diane Abbott - enough to make any muesli-eating sandal wearer see red

Left to my own devices, I often gravitate towards the BBC Parliament channel. When I flicked on this evening, Kelvin Hopkins, the single homed MP for Luton was talking very engagingly about local democracy. So far so good. Until an intervention by Diane Abbott, looking particularly pleased with herself, making a smart-alec remark about PR not allowing a link between MPs and their constituencies. She obviously doesn't know what she is talking about (nor do I, by the way) and was fortunately put in her place, pronto, by Martin Horwood.

This prompted me to do a bit of self-education on proportional representation. The Electoral Reform Society web site has some excellent material on the subject, including a Myths and responses leaflet here (which includes a voluminous response to Ms Abbott's charge).

Unlock Democracy also has some excellent material and nicely sums up its view on the subject as follows:

Unlock Democracy wants all UK elections to offer real choice and real fairness. We believe that means a proportional electoral system that broadly reflects the votes cast for each party in an election, but also allows voters to support specific candidates and not just party lists.
There are several electoral systems which would satisfy these, including the Single Transferable Vote and various open list systems.

There is also Make my vote count (aka Make Votes count) from whom I receive regular updates.

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