Those who support electoral reform seem to think that the public is crying out for a change in the way we vote; even outside Lib Dem circles. A survey in the Sunday Times today suggests that 62 per cent of people want a more proportionate system of voting (against 13 per cent who don’t).
I’m suspicious about that poll and would love to see how the question was phrased. I also think Michael Gove hit the nail on the head when he told today’s Andrew Marr Show that Thursday’s result proved one major advantage of first-past-the-post; people could throw out those MPs tarnished by the expenses scandal (eg Jacqui Smith). That would be harder to do under many PR/AV systems*.
The old argument against proportional representation or a hybrid model is that it gives more voice to the most minor parties. Would its proponents really be so happy to see the British National Party get seats in the Commons? That, presumably, would be the outcome given that the BNP picked up 562,000 votes last week – up from 192,000 in 2005 (although it’s not entirely straightforward; see the update below). Read more