the Scottish parliament had not been elected with a broadly
proportional system, Labour would have won a majority with less than a
third of the votes. Similarly in Wales, without a proportional system,
Labour would have had a clear lead in seats with no more than a third
of the votes. Such results would have been an affront to democracy, yet
Simon Jenkins (Nice but hopeless, the Lib Dems should call it a day,
May 9) objects to the notion that "a share of votes should be reflected
in a share of power".
Rather than a small number of people getting all they want, coalitions
and other forms of inter-party agreements make it possible for a much
larger group of electors to get most of what they want.
is about seeking a majority to enable an administration to conduct its
business, but it is not just about numbers in the parliament and
assembly - it requires shared policies and political agreements. As we
can see in Scotland, that is not always easy, but it is better that we
require politicians to seek areas of consensus than revert to electoral
systems that hand all the power to minority groups.
Dr Ken Ritchie
Chief executive, Electoral Reform Society