Billy Bragg, singer and campaigner
Billy Bragg, singer and campaigner
PR is the best way of re-engaging with a group of the electorate that seem to have lost interest over the past 10 years. I think it gives people more choice. If people felt they could vote for the Green Party and their vote would count, more people would turn out on election day. It's about re-engaging with people who think it is not worthwhile to vote. In the end, I want a government that governs so I am not sure about having referendums all the time.
Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist
A PR system which includes a transferable vote eliminates the temptation of tactical voting, it fairly reflects the voting intentions of the country, means the electorate can feel their vote counts. It's true that most people could probably say that their vote was wasted unless they were in a marginal constituency. I wouldn't want to support PR in a narrow sense, it has to include a transferable vote, a system of voting for individual candidates rather than parties.
Bonnie Greer, academic
I do support PR. We cannot have a handful of people dictating who is going to run the country and a situation where the government thinks that it has a mandate when so few people voted. I never really thought about whether my vote counted, I suppose deep down I believe it does, I would not do it unless I thought that. This is a democracy, and people say, " Oh, but Parliament will be full of small parties".
So what, if that's what people want?
Professor Sir Bernard Crick, election expert
The system is so arbitrary now that it should be reformed. Proportional representation could save wasted votes and would increase popular interest in voting. I doubt there will be change until we have a hung Parliament, however. The difficulty is in getting turkeys to vote for Christmas.
Will Self, novelist
PR would reinvigorate the political process. People talk a lot about the apathy of voters, and there are key areas of numbness that surround the body politic. I think that PR will reintroduce nervous connections between politics and the people... it would reintroduce people to what representative government is.
Alexei Sayle, comedian and actor
Sixty per cent of me thinks we should install PR, and 40 per cent of me thinks we shouldn't, so I calculate that we should! But we have to be careful not to become Israel or Italy. The real problem is that our government is a pack of bastards. I wouldn't care about PR if that wasn't the case.
Claire Rayner, agony aunt
Of course we've got to change the system. I wish I lived in a democracy, you can't possibly have a true democracy with a FPTP system. I despise tactical voting, it absolutely sickens me, we should be able to vote for who we want to vote for. I'm a single transferable vote lady myself.
Katherine Hamnett, fashion designer
The system we have has got nothing to do with democracy. It's a travesty. I totally agree with PR. The Greek meaning of a democratic government is a system 'run by the people for the people and tolerating minority views' which does not need leaders. The Romans introduced leaders to distance themselves from democracy. Leaders such as Tony Blair promise you anything to get in, and when they're in, they do what they like.
Jo Brand, comedian
I don't think the system as it stands is particularly democratic because of the way the votes are divided up into big and small constituencies and people say that a party could get into power without majority support, which is ridiculous. So I am in favour of proportional representation to the extent that I think it is a fairer system. But, with the good comes the bad. With the nice, strokeable Green Party comes the BNP and all the extreme right groups which you have to tolerate as well.
Wayne Hemingway, fashion designer
When you see the figures - 20 per cent of the vote and only 10 per cent of seats, for example,I can understand the arguments... It is tempting not to vote when you know that your vote is wasted, that's the most dangerous thing about our system. In my constituency there was only going to be one winner. My vote, my wife's and my son's were wasted. I think PR would bring more young people into voting and it would engage more people in the voting process.Reuse content