New Times,
New Thinking.

  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.

 

 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

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.

 

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.

Content from our partners
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change
Tackling the UK's biggest health challenges