Letter: Under PR no one gets what they voted for

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The Independent Online
Letter: Under PR no one gets what they voted for

Sir: Your leading article of 6 May on proportional representation suggests that the present electoral system is self-evidently "the least perfect of all" and points out that if the parties' representation was proportional to the votes cast, Labour would have 285 MPs, the Tories 201 and the Liberals 165.

In other words, there would now be a Lib-Lab or possibly, and with the help of the minor parties, a Lib-Tory government. And who would have voted for the Lib-Labs? Those who voted Labour because they believe Gordon Brown's promise that he'll keep taxes down? Or those who voted Liberal Democrat because Paddy Ashdown promised to put taxes up?

What did the Lib-Lab manifesto look like? Did you see a copy? Did any voter? And did they also see a copy of the Lib-Tory manifesto or even the Lib-Tory-Green-Referendum-Martin Bell manifesto?

The worst thing you can say about the present system is that 44.4 per cent of the voters have the government they voted for and the government which can be held accountable to the promises it made during the campaign. The worst that can be said for a government elected by PR is that nobody voted for it and that there is no set of promises to which it can be held.

First-past-the-post is, indeed, imperfect, but it is the least imperfect of all the options.


London W12