A small step in the direction of a more meaningful democracy

Thursday, 9th June

• NO electoral system is perfect, and Martin Plaut made some relevant points, (Proportional representation systems are problematic, June 2).

But he also raised a number of red herrings. First, the main PR alternative system being considered (and used) in the UK is the STV, single transferable vote, which ensures that the person elected gets over 50 per cent of the votes. This system does not advantage extremists parties, whether left or right; if anything it disadvantages them.

Secondly, the STV system would also preserve the valuable constituency structure. In addition there should be no greater “manifesto implementation” issues, or coalition pressures, than is currently the case.

The underlying issue that urgently needs addressing is that, in a relatively homogeneous country there is a fundamental problem where there are three (or more) parties and one party gets 34 per cent of the votes, where the others get 33 per cent in each constituency, that party would win all the seats.

The lack of historic homogeneity in the UK in the 20th century – currently possibly being changed by “levelling-up” initiatives? – has, by accident, allowed the FPTP system to maintain some credibility. Moving to a STV system would be a small step in the direction of a more meaningful democracy.

Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management, NW6

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