Tuesday 27 September 2022
A Sense of Proportion
No party wins a General Election by 17 points, and no party that expects to win outright advocates Proportional Representation, which in any case is merely the generic term for all electoral systems that are not First Past the Post. No explicit commitment to change the electoral system for the House of Commons will appear in the Labour manifesto at the next General Election.
I am uncharacteristically agnostic when it comes to PR. Like republicans, its proponents assert that it would lead to things that they cannot know would happen. Like monarchists, its opponents extol First Past the Post as the bulwark against everything that they spent the rest of their time bemoaning, so not much of a bulwark there. Therefore, as with the monarchy, whatever the imperfections of the present arrangements, the case for change has not been made.
Keir Starmer's promise of no deal with the SNP is not news. No Leader of either main party would ever have done a deal with the SNP. Any such Leader would, if necessary, have done a deal with the other main party rather than with the SNP. Yes, including that Leader.
But the Labour membership knows that there is going to be a hung Parliament, and therefore wants PR. The Labour Leadership feels the need to rule out a deal with the SNP, meaning that it is also aware. The Conservative membership is aware, although it will not say anything. In fact, it would be glad of anything as good as a hung Parliament. Only Liz Truss and her circle, so to speak, are so deluded as to expect anything better, and they might not be there very much longer.
To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament, which is going to require far fewer MPs than the SNP was likely to have returned. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.