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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Labour minority?

One of the future pub quiz's questions will most likely be "In which election did a government get into power with the smallest share of the vote?" The answer is of course 2005 with 36.3% for the Labour Party (unless it gets beaten next time around of course). This has caused a great deal of hot air, and calls for Proportional Representation.

To which I basically say "tosh".

If Tory complainers cast their minds back only a little, Maggie Thatcher never got in with a majority of the popular vote either. Indeed, in recent times I think only Labour in 1997 managed to break the 50% margin. Assuming the system worked for Maggie Thatcher then it works for Tony Blair. All the howling is about the fact the Tories lost for a third time. I'm sure there were plenty of complaints about how the system favoured the Tories back in 1987. The fact that both Tories and Labour have managed to maintain sizeable majorities with minority votes is a sign that the system works.

All in all I find myself in complete agreement with DM Andy.

I also happen to think PR is absolutely what we must avoid. Political Parties are mostly unaccountable as things stand. No need to give them complete control of the political system. Or, in other words, three independents won in seats in this election. While I have an antipathy for George Galloway, the system that allows independents to stand in a constituency with a reasonable chance of winning if they can motivate local feeling is a sign of a healthy democracy. That is all.

Edit: corrected the % figure. Cheers Andy.

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