Saturday, May 03, 2008

The other London election result

You could be forgiven for believing that London has only been electing a Mayor this week. There was also an election for the London Assembly, elected by a form of proportional representation. And one of the results is a horrific breakthrough:

The British National Party have won a seat through the party list system. For the next four years Londoners will have representing them on the Assembly Richard Barnbrook, a member of a facist & racist party with fringe support.

This is what proportional representation means. There are many reasons why the Assembly needs the election system overhauled (if the Assembly isn't abolished outright), but this is easily the most pressing.

2 comments:

Mustafa Arif said...

It's easy to blame PR. Yet the fact is that just over 5% of Londoners felt the BNP represented. Politicians should deal with this reality - and the reasons why ordinary people feel they have no option but to vote BNP - rather than try to hide the problem by supressing the representation of minority voices.

If we didn't have PR would you just let things simmer until they had enough support to win a FPTP seat?

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

I can't think of any other body in the UK that uses PR and has such a low de facto threshold for winning seats in a particular constituency. And of course PR was not used outside of Northern Ireland as recently as ten years ago - restoring that would hardly be "supressing the representation of minority voices", it would be going back to how things were previously and not provide easy grabbings for small parties. That in turn would force them to broaden their appeal if they wanted to be elected.

No I wouldn't let things simmer until they get enough support to win a FPTP seat. I would take on the problems that generate support head on - addressing the issues of concern, getting both main parties to take the areas seriously and not for granted (and here in East London we've been making a start by fighting a fierce campaign and not giving up on anywhere). I realise much of this is easier said than done, but I don't see this as incompatible with removing the motivation for the BNP to stir things up even worse than they are now.

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