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  1. Spotlight on Policy
  2. Elections
5 May 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:21am

Proportional representation for dummies . . . by John Cleese

An SDP/Liberal alliance broadcast from 1987.

By Jon Bernstein

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.

 

 

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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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