Campaign group GET PR DONE! has penned an open letter to a new alliance set up by Gordon Brown and Andy Burnham expressing dismay at its priorities.
It was announced today that a group of leading Labour politicians has banded together to campaign for reform of the UK.
Led by former prime minister Gordon Brown, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar will speak at an event in Edinburgh on Thursday as they launch the push.
The group – dubbed the Alliance for Radical Democratic Change – will call on political leaders from other parties and parts of the country to back their goal.
But they have already attracted criticism.
An open letter penned by GET PR DONE! has expressed dismay over the lack of electoral reform pledges included in the group’s mission statement.
We appreciate that your new Alliance is looking at the issue of democratic change which is vital in making our society more equitable. But we are sure that tens of thousands of electoral reformers will be very disappointed — indeed perplexed — by your decision to omit any reference to proportional representation (PR) from the 1 June mission statement of a group that is calling for “radical democratic change.”
Not wanting to change the voting system comes across as illogical if you are serious about making other reforms. And, to be clear, PR is not especially “radical.” More than 90 countries around the world already use PR and this far fairer voting system elects the legislatures in both Wales and Scotland. Westminster is the laggard.
Moreover, we are doubly disappointed that two leading Labour politicians strongly in favour of PR — namely, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford — have obviously lost out in making PR a part of your group’s mission statement. Other Scottish politicians from the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, two parties which also support PR as a matter of policy, have obviously lost out as well.
Your statement is being issued at a time when the overwhelming majority of Labour Party members support PR and three of its largest unions — UNITE, UNISON and USDAW —- all support PR. So do the majority of UK voters. Only the Conservative Party still supports the archaic first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system.
Set up in the 1880s, FPTP is notoriously undemocratic. It has created hundreds of safe seats and means that millions of votes are wasted. Minorities often rule. Under PR, by comparison, seats won match votes cast. PR is far more equitable and nonpartisan.