Proportional representation for dummies . . . by John Cleese

An SDP/Liberal alliance broadcast from 1987.

So it took the New Yorker to remind us of a party political broadcast, shown 23 years ago, that may prove helpful today. Here's the ex-Python John Cleese explaining the inequity of first-past-the-post and the benefits of proportional representation in a 1987 election broadcast.

 

 

In the previous election, the SDP/Liberal alliance had gained a 26 per cent share of the vote, which in turn translated into just 23 seats. Or, as he notes:

It took 40,000 voters to elect a Labour MP, only 33,000 to elect a Conservative and it took ten times that number -- 340,000 voters -- to elect one Social Democrat or Liberal MP.

UPDATE: In the interests of balance, and in case anyone is thinking of voting for a party that might insist on electoral reform, here's the front page of today's Daily Mail. If you don't get the symbolism of a blind Britannia walking dangerously close to the edge of a cliff marked "Hung Parliament", the headline is there to help you out.

 

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Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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