Coalitions are not necessarily bad

Thursday, 9th June

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On Saturday June 11 thousands of people will be marching in Westminster as part of Make Votes Matter National Day of Action

• MARTIN Plaut questions readers’ enthusiasm for PR, saying it can have some unfortunate side effects, (Proportional representation systems are problematic, June 2).

Of course, most strong medicines have some contraindications, but people still take them if they know they will make them better!

Allowing smaller parties of right and left a voice in parliament or local councils may be exactly the valve needed to reduce the pressures and conflicts within the major parties.

I would have thought Mr Plaut might welcome the left wing operating outside the Labour Party rather than within.

Coalitions are not necessarily a bad thing, they encourage co-operation and recognise that there are many issues upon which parties agree and can temper the extremes which he seems to fear.

Many members of the public are critical of the overly combative nature of our politics. During World War II we had a successful coalition. Perhaps that is what we need to tackle the climate crisis?

As Mr Plaut says, there are many different types of PR, with different advantages. The Electoral Reform Society (www.electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems/types-of-voting-system) provides a very helpful guide, scoring them for proportionality, voter choice, and local representation.

Among these are Single Transferable Vote (used in Ireland, Scottish local elections, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and Malta); the Additional Member System (used for the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru, Germany and New Zealand); the Alternative Vote, (used in Australia and for the Irish President); and the Party List (used in South Africa, Brazil and Israel).

Each has pros and cons, but this does not mean that PR is of itself a mistake; or does Mr Plaut think that our current system is perfect?

On Saturday June 11 thousands of people will be marching in Westminster as part of Make Votes Matter National Day of Action.

What we want is a commitment to some form of PR and an open and inclusive process to decide which model to adopt. We hope that you and your readers will give us your support.

CATH ATTLEE
Fordwych Road, NW2

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