Friday, February 27, 2009

Democracy Representation and PR

I have recently been internally riffing on to what extent these are the same things and I will return to that .This was thread about Proportional Representation on Cicero`s Songs who, like many Liberals , is good on aboard but poor in the UK .
I was interested in what a Giovanni had to say. He has actually experienced the system in action .Watching the way Israel organises itself I have been horrified to imagine that some people actually want that for us . There are many arguments against PR but the fact it doesnot work may be the best and Givani makes it with some feeling
PR Does Not Work
Only someone who has never lived in PR dominated countries could advocate such a disastrous electoral system. I lived for a long time in Italy where PR played a decisive role in the 50 governments in 60 years, in the creation of a political caste that makes the British political class look like part-time voluntary weekend workers and government coalitions so fragile that they governed down towards the minimum common denominator, which is power and little else.Look at Germany, look at Israel. Is this really the politics you want to introduce into the UK? That's what PR means, sure, lots more Lib-Dem MPs, but also Greens, UKIPs, BNPs and eventually other little clusters (English Democrats? Respect? Some other party?) How is any government supposed to form a majority in such a fragmented set-up?....But please, PLEASE, stay as far away from PR as is humanly possible.
The point becomes about what is more important: government or representation?Countries that prefer PR are usually run by coalitions and the question becomes what is more important, a government that gets things done or a government that is so inclusive of so many disparate parties that it is effectively paralysed? This is what happened in Italy, in Germany and in other countries. Look at Belgium: a PR system that returned so fractured a parliament they were unabled to form a government for six months! Look at Israel. Look at Germany again where the SDP and the CDU were forced into a Grossecoalition. Could you see Cameron and Brown in a similar set up in the UK?(Italy by the way returned to a corrected PR system in 2006- which brought about the disastrous coalition that backed the Prodi government)PR means vast coalitions that revert to a consensus politics that eschews any kind of confrontational government, even when the need for strong action and reforms are needed. The PR system that you advocate would render the systemic reform of the UK you advocate - and which to some extent I agree with- MORE difficult, not less.Sorry, but if the price of having a few dozen more Lib-Dem or Green MPs is a government paralysed, then it's too high a cost.One additional point: PR favours dissagregation of parties. The three main UK parites, Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem are tents with many disparate voices. A PR system would encourage the break-up of these parties into a number of successors, all of whom could probably get 5% of the vote here and there and splinter parliament even further. The Liberal and SDP wings of the Lib-Dems would suddnely fail to see a reason to hang together- for they would no longer be hung separately- as would Blarities and Socialists in Labour and Thatcherites and "wets" in the Tories.

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