Is it time for Proportional Representation?

Anthony Tuffin

Tuesday, November 19 2019 at 7:30PM

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38 West Street
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185

Anthony Tuffin

What's the talk about?

Both sides of the Brexit debate see flaws in British democracy. Anthony Tuffin will suggest a solution: Proportional Representation (PR).

The current First Past the Post system used to elect MPs is broken. Parliament does not reflect how people voted and millions of people feel locked out of the political system.

Under the PR system, every vote counts, regardless of where you live or who you vote for. Seats in Parliament match how the people vote.

Anthony Tuffin is the Chair of Make Votes Matter in West Sussex. He is the former Treasurer of the Electoral
Reform Society and has no party-political affiliation.
Jonathan Brown is the District Councillor for Southbourne. He was the Liberal Democrats' parliamentary candidate there in 2017. 
£5 entrance on the door.  Everyone welcome. This is a not-for-profit event.
Arrive early for a 7.30pm start.
Summary of talk
Anthony Tuffin, Chair of Make Votes Count, began this talk by pointing out that our current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system is the exception rather than the rule in Europe.
He went on to outline the various types of the alternative Proportiona
l Representation (PR) voting system, concentrating on the most popular one Single Transferable Vote (STV).
Anthony used pie charts for different regions of the UK to show how unfair the FPTP system is, always resulting in a ruling party with less than 50% of the votes. All votes for opposition parties count for nothing, despite being the majority.
He pointed out that one in three elections using FPTP have led to hung parliaments. Furthermore, large elected parties like Labour and Conservative rule by the whip because of the wide range of views held by their MPs.
Using a mock STV ballot paper for Chichester, Anthony demonstrated the merits of PR. He went on to dispel various myths about the PR system.
Jonathan Brown, Lib Dem District Councillor, gave some practical examples of where a PR system would give individuals a say in parliament that they currently do not under FPTP, e.g. local issues such as house building, employment.
Both speakers responded to a wide range of questions. You can hear their answers in the video.
How would PR change our current parties?
Would PR give a voice to extreme groups?
Would PR lead to inequalities between regions?
Will PR lead to less stable governments with short-term policies?
How might PR be introduced in the UK?
How would PR change campaigning during elections?
What is the reaction of Labour and Conservative MPs when asked about PR?
Is it likely that the Brexit referendum would have taken place under PR?
Anthony invited visitors to fill in a Democracy survey. We'll be putting this online soon.
After the talk, Anthony was asked why the Brexit referendum was a simple majority vote (50% + 1 vote). He explained that there was a debate in parliament and it was agreed that because this was to be an ADVISORY vote, a simple majority was appropriate.
[Of course, this was then ignored by the Conservatives who began the mantra "the people have spoken". Both Labour and Conservatives promised to uphold the decision to leave the EU, despite a tiny majority in favour, and even though most MPs had little idea of it's implications. The rest is history.]
Here are some links:
Local Facebook page for Make Votes Count in West Sussex

You can download a PowerPoint presentation in pdf form and a Word transcript of Anthony's talk by clicking on the Files tab.