Wednesday, 10 February 2010

We need Proportional Representation

Last night George Galloway MP made a powerful speech in the House of Commons in favour of changing our current voting system. He rightly criticizes the Constitutional Reform & Governance Bill for not nearly going far enough. Here are some of the highlights from his speech:

"The Government are making a big mistake if they think that this little broom is going to sweep clean the Augean stables in this place. The labours of Hercules and the diversion of great rivers were required to cleanse the stench of those stables, and this little broom—this tiny little reform—will not do it…

I am in favour of the kind of reforms that are beyond this House….That there is cynicism is obvious. The Government are in favour of a referendum on this—a voting system that no one in the country is talking about—but on nothing else. A referendum on the Lisbon treaty, which everyone in the country was talking about, was promised in the manifesto, but it was denied…

If we moved to the system in the Republic of Ireland, as we can do if we support amendment (b) this evening, things would change. But then, if things do not change, there is no hope for politics in this country…Roy Jenkins suggested to this Government more than 10 years ago that they could have grasped this nettle, yet they refused to do so for the same cynical reason that they are now grasping for it. If they had listened to Roy Jenkins and implemented the Jenkins commission report, the centre-left majority that exists is this country would be entrenched in power…Do the maths; look at any opinion poll; add up the Labour and the Liberal and the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and Respect and other parties, and it is easy to see that there is a very clear centre-left majority in this country. What would be wrong with an electoral system that gave the House of Commons the actual levels of representation that the people had voted for?...

Proportional representation is about giving people a House of Commons that reflects how they voted. What is wrong with a system that provides 10 per cent. or 30 per cent. or 50 per cent. of the seats in a Parliament if the party received 10 per cent. or 30 per cent. or 50 per cent. of the votes. What is wrong with that?"