Enough talk about pacts, let’s make votes matter!

Last year, I participated in an experiment. After more than a year of solid campaigning in anticipation of a general election, I stood aside in favour of a formal electoral alliance of different parties devised in order to maximise their number of seats and try to stop Brexit. Whilst the success and tactical merits of the Unite to Remain alliance can be debated at length, it at least saw parties band together in common purpose and try to play the first-past-the-post system against itself.

This controversial proposal was consistently met by claims from anti-reform politicians, including the Labour MP in whose constituency I stood aside and tried to unseat, that we were being anti-democratic, denying voters their right to vote for the candidate or party they most believed in, and for trying to rig elections for our own political ends. There may well be some merit to these claims, but what these politicians have to confront is that the same criticism they had could be applied directly to FPTP.

First-past-the-post essentially forces the majority of voters to either waste their vote on a candidate who has no chance of winning and therefore be denied their say in how their community or our country is run, or to pick from the lesser of two evils. Liberal Democrats have only survived as a campaigning force because we understood that if voters were faced with the choice between us or the Conservatives or us and Labour, they would pick us as the lesser of the evils. Its why our bar charts work, but also why we campaign for reform.

This leadership election has sadly, in my opinion, been polluted with questions over alliances and pacts or mergers. To me, this is entirely the wrong priority. We need to be asking our future leader how we’re going to make votes matter and secure the political reform we as a country so desperately need. How are they going to make that case to the country? How will they present the urgent need for electoral reform in a way which is engaging and persuasive?

The argument cannot be left to other parties who simply cannot be trusted to either follow through on their own or to have the platform needed to make the case. The Liberal Democrats should take this opportunity, as we continue our soul searching and develop a radical liberal policy agenda to once again be the party of reformers dedicated to making our politics work better and our country much fairer.

I was not the first victim of our first-past-the-post system and I won’t be last. As we move forward, let’s stop wasting time and energy obsessing over pacts, alliance or deals which distract from our message of radical reform. Let’s instead talk about why we want to make votes matter.

* James Cox is a teacher in Oxfordshire, an Executive member of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary exec member and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy.

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  • Aha. Common sense is getting onto our agenda, at last. We must stop pontificating as if we have some magic wand for everyone, in reality hardly anyone wants us, 6%, 6%, it needs repeating, down , down, down since the election. Good job there were no contests in May. It’s votes that count, nothing else, otherwise what is the point of being a political party. Which candidate is more likely to interest and motivate? Maybe neither, certainly not he who was acting Leader, presiding over debacle during this current year, but that is what this election is about, that’s the choice. I suspect turnout is going to be low, perhaps embarrassingly so. hope I’m wrong. Are we getting near the end yet, it seems to have gone on far for ever. Mind you that is us at the present time, slow, slow, slow, with not a quickstep anywhere to be seen. Yes James, bang on.

  • William Francis 22nd Aug '20 - 10:34pm

    Making votes matter ultimately will involve pacts in order to get a parliament that will push through voting reform, and that depends on Starmer.

    The alternative is mass protest, and I’m not sure if it will work given the issue.

  • Absolutely, we should be talking endlessly about why we want to make votes matter. And about why most votes don’t matter at present and why it’s wrong that the system gave the Tories an 80-seat majority on only 43.6% of the votes cast. At the same time we should be working quietly, informally, with the Labour leadership firstly to get key individuals to commit to electoral reform, which eventually they will because they need it, and then, to look for the opportunity to deliver this. Electoral reform is the game-changer.

  • Practically the last thing we should be talking about endlessly is making votes matter: we are right about electoral reform but to the public it just seems like self-serving whingeing. Our priorities are set out in the Preamble to our Constitution and we should be developing policies relevant to the current situation based on those and campaigning on them, plus a healthy dose of green issues/climate change.

  • I wish the LibDems would stop pandering to the poor who will never vote for them and get back to the core tenet of individual freedom (as long as they do no harm to others) and work through the thousands (millions?) of laws in this country with a view to getting rid or amending them where possible… this could also be weaved into a new tax system so there will be plenty of opportunity for headline grabbing snippets.

  • John Marriott 23rd Aug '20 - 8:10am

    I notice that Mr Cox “runs campaign groups on suicide prevention”. At the risk of being accused of callousness in search of a funny line I would say that, if the Lib Dems in their present state run another General Election campaign on the lines of “We are the next government”, suicide of the political variety is what they are likely to be committing!

    Voters seem to expect a binary choice and that is certainly what the Tories and Labour appear to be offering them. They have thick skins, unlike the Lib Dems, who continue to stress about what happened between 2010 and 2015. How often did I hear people say when the dust finally settled after the General Election just over ten years ago “We didn’t vote for this”? No you didn’t; but had you been a German voter, for example, you would would have had a strong suspicion that this would have been something like what you would have got.

    No, Mr Cox, be a realist, a pragmatist even. As long as FPTP rules and, more particularly, while Labour reckons it can go it alone, that stone needs more than just idealism to get it to the top of that hill again!

    The only way to offer minority parties a chance to survive is by changing the voting system – and hear we clearly have a problem.

  • richard underhill. 23rd Aug '20 - 8:56am

    theakes 22nd Aug ’20 – 5:57pm
    The simple point is that the Single Transferable Vote is MORE DEMOCRTATIC, offering more people what THEY WANT. if you come across a leaflet written by the late Enid Lakeman or a letter in a local newspaper written with maximum clarity.
    It was not a surprise to me to learn that when the Irish Republic held a referendum to try to eliminate STV Enid went across the water and won the referendum.
    The leader of Die Liberalen in West Germany advised Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan to use STV in Northern Ireland, which he did, and which has survived and thrived. Ask the APNI.

  • John Marriott 23rd Aug '20 - 12:04pm

    @Richard Underhill
    STV, De Hondt, AV Plus, ITV, whatever you call it, just get it! If you start by arguing which system is best, you won’t get anywhere!

    By the way, to the best of my knowledge, there is no such party as “Die Liberalen” in German politics. They call themselves “Die Freie Demokratische Partei ” (FDP for short) and are often described as being “business friendly”, although I have never known why.

    By the way, the German system of having roughly half the Bundestag elected directly by FPTP and half by PR from regional lists makes sense to me. It’s interesting to note that, unless it falls below the 5% of the popular vote (which has happened at least once to my knowledge), the FDP usually gets its MPs from the latter category.

  • In our present situation and national poll rating, we have little alternative than to go all out for PR, preferably by STV. Luckily there are other non-party organisations doing it already and Labour is still debating internally whether to. Without a form of PR our continued existence is not certain as is also our survival on this planet.

  • Julian Tisi 23rd Aug '20 - 4:11pm

    Yes we do need to campaign for voting reform but that can’t be the policy that defines us. As tonyhill says, it can come across as self-serving whingeing. We need to be clear about who we are, what we would do in government if given half the chance, what separates us from each of the establishment parties. By doing so, we need voters to recognise there are more than 2 sides to an argument; that we’re not just a little brother to Labour. If we do this, then voters might see that electoral reform is needed.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Aug '20 - 8:54pm

    Probably the best way “to make votes matter” is to just get more of them. Regardless of what voting system is used. Unless you can show how any Pact will benefit the Labour Party, and it probably won’t, that’s not going to be on offer anyway.

    The vote share in the 2005 election was Labour 35% , Tory 32%, Lib Dem 22%. That gave Lab a comfortable majority. So from the POV for anyone wanting to see the back of the Tories you need to increase your vote share by winning votes, and seats, from the Tories in places where the Labour party certainly cannot.

  • Daniel Walker 24th Aug '20 - 9:11am

    @Peter Martin “Probably the best way “to make votes matter” is to just get more of them.

    Here’s the thing though, Peter. In majoritarian systems in general, and FPTP in particular (I know you voted yes to AV) “getting more votes” only helps if they’re in the right place. Now, no system with constituencies, including STV, is completely immune to this, but FPTP (and, to a slightly lesser extent, AV), are exceptionally bad³. An extra Labour vote¹, or even quite a lot of extra Labour votes, in say, Epsom and Ewell², or (conversely) Islington North has absolutely no effect on the outcome. This is wrong. It also means residents in those constituencies will receive contact from their MP only at election time, and probably not much then, even if said MP genuinely attempts to do their constituency work properly (which some safe-seat MPs do, to be fair. But not all of them.)

    1. or Lib Dem, or Green, etc, but I’m trying to work from your perspective 🙂
    2. A seat so Tory that they elect Chris Grayling, allegedly on his own merits, and have never elected another party.
    3. The ERS’s report on the 2019 GE reckons 70% of votes were either to non-elected candidates or were “surplus”.

  • neil sandison 24th Aug '20 - 10:31am

    What we have to learn is not to put all our eggs in one basket which was the fatal error at the last GE . Education ,Environment ,and the Economy is a good starting point PR is where we look to build alliances across parties and shame Labour about the democratic deficit .

  • richard underhill. 24th Aug '20 - 10:50am

    23rd Aug ’20 – 12:04pm
    The FDP is a merger between two parties and is a member party of the Liberal International and was in government for long periods in coalition.
    “The Free Democratic Party is a liberal political party in Germany. The FDP is led by Christian Lindner. The FDP was founded in 1948 by members of former liberal political parties which existed in Germany before World War II, namely the German Democratic Party and the German People’s Party. For most of the German Federal Republic’s history, it has held the balance of power in the Bundestag. It was a junior coalition partner to the CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. In the 2013 federal election, the FDP failed to win any directly elected seats in the Bundestag and came up short of the 5 percent threshold to qualify for list representation, being left without representation in the Bundestag for the first time in its history. In the 2017 federal election, the FDP regained its representation in the Bundestag, receiving 10.6% of the vote.”

  • richard underhill. 24th Aug '20 - 10:54am
  • Peter Martin 24th Aug '20 - 11:01am

    @ Daniel,

    Yes I do understand the arguments for PR. There are some arguments against too. These should at least be considered. Going back to the 2005 result I mentioned previously, a perfect system of PR would, if the voting had been the same , have meant that a party with just 22% of the vote would have been able to decide between a Government of the left and one of the right.

    In practice, it would be unlikely to be the same. Introduction of genuine PR would almost certain lead to the creation of a multiplicity of political parties. The Lib Dems could well split into separate parties of leftish Social Democratic Liberals and rightish Economic Liberals. The Labour and Tory parties have their obvious fault lines too. The ultra right would become a significant political force. So we’d likely have governments of multiple parties in some sort of unstable coalition. It would be unlikely that just two would have enough support.

    I agree that we should move some way towards PR. AV does that but I do agree it isn’t genuine PR and won’t satisfy the purists. In any case it’s been rejected in a referendum and we’ll have to make the best of what we have for the foreseeable future.

  • Peter Martin 24th Aug '20 - 11:25am

    @ Richard Underhill,

    It is interesting that your supplied reference also shows a post war FDP poster calling for an end to denazification.

    The meaning of the word ‘Liberal’ in Europe isn’t at all the same as its UK and American meaning. The FDP is a very right wing party which doesn’t use the word in its title in any case. Take extreme caution when dealing with them. Use a long barge pole!


  • Daniel Walker 24th Aug '20 - 11:53am

    @Peter Martin “Introduction of genuine PR would almost certain lead to the creation of a multiplicity of political parties. The Lib Dems could well split into separate parties of leftish Social Democratic Liberals and rightish Economic Liberals. The Labour and Tory parties have their obvious fault lines too.

    Yes, probably. Certainly Labour and the Tories are at least two parties each; as you say, you could make the same argument for the LibDems (c.f. the Netherlands, where D66 and VVD co-exist. Liberals are anti-authoritarian and pro dispersal of power, as the salient feature; some are leftish and some are rightish economically)

    So we’d likely have governments of multiple parties in some sort of unstable coalition.

    Multiple parties, yes. Unstable? Most other countries in Europe use some form of PR and they aren’t generally unstable, as the Nordic countries, Germany, and Ireland would show, so instability is not necessarily a feature of PR. And here’s the rub; if Labour and the Tories (and the LibDems) have “obvious fault lines”, then they are de facto coalitions anyway, just not ones the electorate gets to choose!

    I agree that we should move some way towards PR.

    Excellent. Which system would you pick, then?

    AV does that but I do agree it isn’t genuine PR

    It’s better than FPTP, but it isn’t PR at all, nor is it a “step towards” it, necessarily. There is no proportionality aspect. It is a decent system for picking one representative.

    we’ll have to make the best of what we have for the foreseeable future.

    Alas, this is so!

  • @Peter Martin “The vote share in the 2005 election was Labour 35% , Tory 32%, Lib Dem 22%. That gave Lab a comfortable majority.”

    Don’t you see the problem here? How on earth should 35% in this instance give Labour a comfortable majority? This just shows how flawed FPTP is. In your subsequent post you hint at arguments against PR but the points you make are hardly convincing. 35% simply isn’t a wholesale endorsement of one party by the voters; a government made up of 2 out of those 3 main parties, focussed on the common ground between them, would have been a more reasonable reflection of voters wishes. What if those first two numbers had been reversed – if Labour were 32% and Conservatives 35% (a 1.5% swing from Lab to Con) – would that have justified a full-blown Conservative government, unchecked by a coalition partner?

  • Peter Martin 24th Aug '20 - 1:10pm

    @ Julian @ Daniel,

    Yes of course I understand what you both are saying, but I sometimes wonder if you don’t ignore the wider problem. Voting has to be more about making a decision than reflecting fairness towards an individual voter.

    Example of this would be:

    1) A majority verdict in a criminal trial. The defendant has to be found either guilty or not guilty. A 10-2 verdict for guilt could be considered unfair to the 2 who voted for no guilt.

    2) In a family there might be a 3-2 split over where to go on holiday. Unless the family splits there can only be one choice.

    3) The 52:48 split in the referendum. Of course some Lib Dems have argued that we should only 52% out but this isn’t realistic.

  • John Marriott 24th Aug '20 - 1:32pm

    So, Mr Bourke, why do YOU think the AV referendum failed? I’ll tell you what I think. It was the half hearted way the ‘Yes to AV’ campaign was run, together with the dark arts deployed by the ‘No’ campaign under the leadership of people like Matthew Elliott, who played a key rôle with Cummings in the Leave campaign a few years later. Also, as your link says, it was how the image of Nick Clegg crossing the threshold of No 10 that featured on the several leaflets delivered to households, was used. I don’t know about the rest of the country; but my house in Lincolnshire received no leaflets whatsoever from the ‘Yes’ campaign. Add to that the cynical indifference of Cameron, who let loose his attack dogs and Milliband, who just chickened out, and you can see why the one chance we have had in my lifetime for any kind of change in our voting system was squandered so massively.

  • Daniel Walker 24th Aug '20 - 1:47pm

    @Peter Martin “Voting has to be more about making a decision than reflecting fairness towards an individual voter.

    I very much do not agree.

    Anyway, your examples are false equivalences. They are single, binary¹ decisions, whereas electing members of a parliament is picking a representative² to make a series of decisions, hopefully with more time to understand the intricacies than an elector has. Unless you stand yourself, you won’t get someone who always agrees with you, but with a decent electoral system you might at least get someone who *usually* agrees with you.

    1. Well, you’re presenting the Brexit one as binary, which it wasn’t. Let’s ignore that on the grounds of staying on topic! You and I will not agree on it.
    2. Not a delegate!

  • Barry Lofty 24th Aug '20 - 3:09pm

    I don’t know whether I am going off topic but I was and still am a supporter of the coalition because of the need for a stable government in a very unstable period in time, but that does not mean that the Lib Dems got other decisions correct during that period the vote on the AV voting system was a case in point, a complete sham and also another rather weak climb down to Tory bullying. Any future coalitions must be conducted on tougher terms and conditions.

  • Peter Martin 24th Aug '20 - 3:10pm

    @ Daniel,

    I agree we have representatives rather than delegates. That’s why one MP per constituency works well. I prefer to vote for the person. There are people in my own party I wouldn’t want to vote for! Most people feel the same way. They don’t like party lists.

    It’s not a question of whether you and I agree. If we couldn’t get a yes vote for AV there’s no chance of getting a change for anything further than that. We aren’t really like the other North Europeans. We don’t have the same degree of social consensus to make a PR based multiparty coalition system work. We have riots in the streets now and again. They largely don’t.

    PS The EU should be a binary choice. We should be fully in or fully out. The complaint (by Barnier?) that we used to want to be in with lots of opt outs, whereas now we want to be out with lots of opt ins is perfectly justified. The EU isn’t an ‘a la carte’ menu.

    So, we have to be fully out for a period and then we can start to negotiate whatever trade arrangements we like. Just like we can with anyone else.

  • Daniel Walker 24th Aug '20 - 3:51pm

    @Peter Martin “I agree we have representatives rather than delegates. That’s why one MP per constituency works well. I prefer to vote for the person. There are people in my own party I wouldn’t want to vote for! Most people feel the same way. They don’t like party lists.

    Peter, you know very well that the LibDem policy is for STV, which does not have closed party lists, and you do vote for people, not parties. (Indeed, you and I have discussed this before in the context of neither of us being too keen on the D’Hondt system for that reason) Stop claiming your opposition to PR is based on something that’s optional for PR.

    I see no reason why my having a selection of representatives (with a good chance that I agree with one) is worse than having one (with whom I very well may not, or may be unable to oppose the Government due to being a Minister or the Speaker). One constituency per MP is a good idea; one MP per constituency isn’t required.

    If we couldn’t get a yes vote for AV there’s no chance of getting a change for anything further than that.

    One of the reasons the AV referendum failed, as listed in the 2011Guardian article Joe linked to above, was that no-one is particularly keen on AV. A lot of people, you and I included, felt it was better than FPTP, but “a bit better than now” is a tough sell when the opposition are willing to claim it will kill babies, especially if your campaigners aren’t that enthused.

    If you could engage on the substantive point that your examples were false equivalences, I would appreciate it.

  • Peter Martin 24th Aug '20 - 9:01pm

    @ Daniel,

    As I understand it we don’t with STV have one person representing everyone in a small area. Larger areas elect a number of representatives. These representatives supposedly reflect a diversity of opinion. So we all number our choices in order of preference.

    In this way it is not unlike AV. So if the electorate didn’t go for AV, possibly because they didn’t fully understand the rationale, I can’t see they would go for this which is even harder to understand.

    Lib Dem Policy might well be for STV but that’s not the point. IF, and that’s a big IF, we ever do get a system of PR it is going to have to come from the Labour party. I suspect the choice might well be the same as we had for the Euro elections. ie Some obcsure voting system that only the cognoscenti can explain. So my opposition to party lists is still a valid reason, albeit not the only reason, for opposing any move towards PR which goes beyond the AV.

  • Peter Martin 24th Aug '20 - 9:26pm

    @ Daniel,

    I don’t see any false equivalences. We are involved in voting all the time. You’re involved in choosing a leader. There can only be one winner. Whoever gets 50% plus 1 will win. That’s tough on everyone who might have been on the 50% minus 1 side, unfair even, but that’s the way it has to be. A decision has to be made and that’s the purpose of the vote.

    Most people see it like this. Except ardent EU-opliles when the 2016 vote went against them! I really didn’t expect the Leave side to win. I was expecting a Remain win by just a small margin. And of course if that had happened most of us leavers would have shrugged our shoulders and accepted the verdict, just like we did in 1975. Sure, some would have carried on and pushed for another referendum but they would have had to wait for some significant new development like being required to join the euro or the next big Treaty that was being implemented.

  • Daniel Walker 25th Aug '20 - 7:02am

    @Peter Martin “I don’t see any false equivalences.

    There is a qualitative difference between a single decision (your “where shall we go on holiday” example) and electing a representative or representatives to legislature. Your examples were binary ones, which isn’t even the case under FPTP, never mind multi-member constituencies.

    In this way it is not unlike AV. So if the electorate didn’t go for AV, possibly because they didn’t fully understand the rationale, I can’t see they would go for this which is even harder to understand.

    As far as the voting paper is concerned, it’s exactly like AV. AV is what STV becomes in the limit of single-member constituencies. As for complexity, the Irish and Maltese manage it, as did the UK for the Combined English Universities constituency until 1950. It’s not that hard. In any case, being a difficult sell is a different objection to being a bad idea in principle.

  • John Marriott 25th Aug '20 - 9:47am

    Voting ain’t that difficult really. Granted, as John Cleese said back in 1987, if you can’t count up to five you might be somewhat bewildered. So, you go to the polling station, unless you have a postal vote, you show your ID, get your ballot paper, go to the booth and number your candidates in order of preference. Of course, you can be canny and just put a ‘one’ next to your preferred candidate and leave it there. It might be nice if there were a space for ‘none of the above’. Then you post the paper in the box and leave the rest to all those people, often, from my experience bank employees to sift the papers to come up with a winner. Mind you, the chances of getting a definitive result within 24 hours might be problematical. That appears to be one of Trump’s main arguments against ‘mail in ballots’.

    If you can ween large sections of the electorate, or at least those, who can be bothered to vote, off the idea that any party can definitely win a majority outright with which to form a government and that the final end product, like the vote, might take a big longer to achieve, you might be making progress.

    If this became the norm, perhaps parties should divide their election promises into two categories, those policies that they would definitely stick to in the event of coalition discussions, and those they would be prepared to place on the back burner for the sake of making progress.

    Just to give an example from 2010. Had the Lib Dems had two lists, I would imagine that PR might well have been on List One, while the abolition of tuition fees might have been on List Two. For those who dispute that, if the Lib Dems had been fighting the election under PR, knowing that their best and possibly only chance of power was as a partner in a coalition, don’t you think that they might have been less gung ho about signing up to that NUS ‘pledge’?

  • Peter Martin 25th Aug '20 - 10:37am

    @ Daniel,

    “Your examples were binary ones”

    We can go on holiday to: Blackpool, Brighton or Bridlington

    We can elect to Parliament: Mr Brown, Ms Green or Mr Black.

    That’s “trinary”. Add another town and name for “quaternary”.

    I agree that the AV is best way of choosing but unfortunately the rest of the electorate didn’t . We can’t win them all!

  • I’m a long standing Labour supporter of PR, and I don’t see it happening any time soon.

    The paradox is that it would need to be enacted by parties who benefit from the current system. Your own party only became supporters of it once you’d experienced the rough end of the stick.

    The other route is through coalition. I see no evidence that this issue was given priority by your party at the time when it had real leverage. Of course, I’ve heard all the stuff about ‘national crisis’ etc. but since you see PR as a key to having a better politics you could argue it’s an essential change.

    You should have been playing Labour and Tories against each other to up the offer. I’ve never voted for you but given I’ve heard you going on about what you’d do in a hung Parliament for my whole adult life, I expected a lot more nous, I must say.

    At 6% it’s going to be a while before you’re in that position again!

  • Andrew Tampion 25th Aug '20 - 10:46am

    There is no propect of changing the voting system from FPTP to any form of proportional representation, or indeed to AV for the House of Commons while the curent Government is in power. If the next election results in a hung parliament then it might be possible to include that in a post election arrangement.
    On the other hand there is at least a possibility that the House of Lords might be reformed with at least some elected members. Therefore we should concentrate on proposing some form of PR for a reformed House of Lords.

  • Peter Martin 25th Aug '20 - 11:20am

    @ Peter Kenny,

    There wasn’t any appetite in the Labour Party after the 2010 election to try to put together a “rainbow” coalition. The numbers just didn’t stack up. The Tories were the largest party. So the Lib Dems couldn’t play us off against the Tories. But you’re right they should have had a lot more nous than they did. Not just on PR but everything else too. If only some Lib Dem MPs had made a nuisance of themselves, spoken out of turn, even got themselves sacked from the front bench. They could have kept most of their credibility. The lapdog look wasn’t good. That’s what has cost them most of their left of centre support.

    @ Andrew,

    A very sensible suggestion. Forget about PR in the HoC for now. At least until after the HoL is reformed with a successful PR voting system.

  • Peter Kenny: The Liberal Democrats only became supporters of PR when they experienced the rough end of the stick? Excuse me, if my memory serves me correct, this party along with its predecessor the Liberal party have always been in favour of PR which is one of my reasons for being such a long time supporter. Maybe you should look at your own party for the massive reason it has not happened, perhaps an even longer prospect of opposition will change a few minds??

  • Peter Kenny 25th Aug '20 - 2:45pm

    So, unfortunately I’m not in charge of Labour policy, otherwise…

    Barry Lofty – the Liberals were in power from 1906 (with a landslide) and established a Royal Commission on the electoral system, which recommended AV. They didn’t introduce even that.

    Their two PMs, Asquith and Lloyd George were hostile to anything more:

    David Lloyd George said that PR was “a device for defeating democracy, the principle of which was that the majority should rule, and for bringing faddists of all kinds into parliament and establishing groups and disintegrating parties”.

    So, when and why did the Liberals become so keen on PR?

    When they’d been shafted by FPTP, as I said, and had become a minority party threatened with extinction. It’s your Party’s history!

    I remember the days leading up to the coalition really well and I also recall the incandescent fury from the right wing when there were some talks with Labour. What I’m saying is that there was leverage that wasn’t used.

    I would suggest your MPs relationship with it is in proportion to your success under FPTP. In 2010 FPTP delivered you a place in government, and this supposedly key piece of electoral reform became a referendum on a tweak to FPTP.

    Now you’re shafted again, it’s crucial…

    It’s why I say I don’t see it happening – the self interest of the victorious.

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