HOW DID OTHER DEMOCRACIES GET PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION?
The tide is turning for our archaic first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system. Over 100 countries worldwide use some form of proportional representation (PR), while fewer than 50 still use FPTP. Sadly, while 40 out of 43 European countries use PR, as do Scotland and Wales for their legislatures, elections to Westminster are among those seemingly stuck in the past. But there are signs that this could change sooner than we think.
In October 2022, 83% of Labour Party members voted overwhelmingly for PR in Westminster, joining 60% of Constituency Labour Parties, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens who have all long advocated for PR. Latest polls indicate that 51% of the British public are now in favour of PR too, so the time is ripe.
But what factors in the UK might just tip the balance and pave the way for PR? Put another way, can we learn from the way in which PR came about in those countries that have adopted it?
Dr. Dennis Pilon is a Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at York University in Toronto, Canada, and widely acknowledged internationally as an expert in his field. Prof. Pilon has made a special study of how PR came to be introduced in all current democracies which use it. He has agreed to speak to British electoral reformers on the subject of “How did the other democracies get proportional representation?”
Zack Polanski is the Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and an elected member of the London Assembly. He has chaired the Environment Committee in London for the last couple of years and has regularly campaigned for years on both a Universal Basic Income and for Proportional Representation. Zack will respond to Prof. Pilon’s narrative and reflect on how it might relate to the situation in the UK.
Q&A session will follow the speaker slot.
The session will be chaired by Alan Story, co-founder in 2020 of GET PR DONE!
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