The Instigator
Dr_Evi1
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
joshhollowell
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Proportional representation is the best way forward for the UK

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/1/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 270 times Debate No: 81886
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Dr_Evi1

Pro

I will propose that the UK needs a change of electoral system to Proportional Representation (PR). First Past The Post (FPTP) is outdated and archaic. We need something to spur interest in politics and allow people to vote for who they believe in, not just the lesser of two evils.
Round One: Introduction
Round Two: Main points (as many as you like)
Round Three: Rebuttals
joshhollowell

Con

I disagree with you, and here's why:

Firstly, your argument about the current way of voting being outdated, PR systems were attempted. in 1920s and 30s Germany. Remember how badly that went? The problem is that there are huge coalition governments, which in turn lead to legislative gridlock and consequent inability to carry out coherent policies. There are particularly high risks during an immediate post-conflict transition period, when popular expectations of new governments are high. Quick and coherent decision making can be impeded by coalition cabinets and governments of national unity which are split by factions.

Secondly, A destabilizing fragmentation of the party system. PR can reflect and facilitate a fragmentation of the party system. It is possible that extreme pluralism can allow tiny minority parties to hold larger parties to ransom in coalition negotiations. In this respect, the inclusiveness of PR is cited as a drawback of the system. In Israel, for example, extremist religious parties are often crucial to the formation of a government, while Italy endured many years of unstable shifting coalition governments. Democratizing countries are often fearful that PR will allow personality-based and ethnic-cleavage parties to proliferate in their undeveloped party systems.

Lastly, PR systems are A platform for extremist parties. In a related argument, PR systems are often criticized for giving a space in the legislature to extremist parties of the left or the right. It has been argued that the collapse of Weimar Germany was in part due to the way in which its PR electoral system gave a toehold to extremist groups of the extreme left and right.
Debate Round No. 1
Dr_Evi1

Pro

The 1920's and 30's were a time of conflict and turmoil, nobody will dispute that, but to apply mistakes made then to our current situation? Thus emphasizing the outdated arguments against PR. Specifically in Weimar Germany there was indeed a huge rise in extremism, would the extremism not be there if they had used FPTP? Of course it would. Through the FPTP system the extremest become more disenfranchised and isolated, at least with PR they have the opportunity to be debated and challenged through the mainstream.
If you would like some more contemporary examples, look for instance at Germany and Japan (both of which use PR systems, and incidentally have the 3rd and 4th largest economies) they are hugely successful and have and score most highly in health and social indexes. A PR system allows for greater equality and if you read "The Spirit Level" by Kate Pikett it will explain how the lives of everyone is improved by having a more equal and fair society, something that is brought on through the implementation of a proportional system.
Additionally do you want really "strong" government? Look at Tony Blair, he barely consulted his cabinet before recklessly declaring war on Iraq. Strong government can be equally as dangerous as having one that is indecisive. With PR at least parties can focus more on what will be in the countries best interests rather than having to focus on short term policies to win votes and stay in power. The destabilizing effect it can sometimes have is a freak occurrence, much like our recent coalition in 2010 between Lib-Dem and Conservative.
PR may provide platform for extremists but it then allows them to be challenged by mainstream politics and again the Weimar Germany reference! This is not applicable to modern politics. Extreme parties, however extreme should be able to have an opinion however unreasonable it may seem to you, if people support them they should have representation. The Green party for example, they are a fairly left wing party, should they be excluded from the political system purely because of their core beliefs? No.
Lastly we can see how hugely disproportionate FPTP can be to third or small parties, or more specifically parties that have reasonable support but that are spread widely throughout the country, key examples would be the Greens and SNP in the UK, the Greens won almost 2 million votes yet got one seat whereas the SNP won only 1.5 million yet they won 56 seats. This was because they have concentrated support in Scotland whereas Greens are not. This illustrates huge unfairness in the FPTP system and really shows us how your votes don"t really equate to representation. Contrastingly in Germany the Green party there won 3 million votes and received 10% of the seats in parliament, a much more proportionate outcome. We also see support for small parties in FPTP systems, but not so much in the USA with their Green party receiving only around half a million votes.
joshhollowell

Con

joshhollowell forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Dr_Evi1

Pro

Dr_Evi1 forfeited this round.
joshhollowell

Con

joshhollowell forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Yes, so much this. I really wish I was more politically literate when the last referendum took place...
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