Sunday, June 07, 2009

Why do the Tories resist PR?

We in Wales already realise the benefits of even a nobbled system of proportional representation to the Conservative Party. Without the top-up list, they would have had no more than one representative in the first Assembly, when there was clearly widespread support for the party across Wales. The party can now point to five AMs elected directly from a constituency, but would it have achieved this success without the credibility which eight AMs elected from the regional list in 1999 gave them? One of those was, and continues to be, Nick Bourne, their leader.

Now comes a beautiful example from last week's English local elections of first-past-the-post benefitting Liberal Democrats to the detriment of the Tories. This table shows the results from Cambridge City wards:

June 2009
Candidates

Party
Stood Elect U/O Votes %
Conservative 14 0 0 7153 21.7
Labour 14 2 0 6930 21.0
Liberal Democrat 14 11 0 12121 36.7
Green 14 1 0 5159 15.6
UKIP 3 0 0 475 1.4
Independents and Others 2 0 0 1181 3.6
Totals 61 14 0 33019 37.4


I reckon that means that LD have 0.91 seats per 1000 votes, Labour 0.29, Green 0.19 and UKIP & the Tories zero.

Look at it another way: in Cambridge it takes only 1,102 voters to put a Liberal Democrat in, but nearly 3,500 for Labour and infinity for the Conservatives!

Frank Little
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