The Herald on Sunday

Labour played fair with PR


MANY years ago, when the then all-powerful Labour Party was considerin­g what form of voting system was best for its new devolved system of government, it decided to play it fair. At the time, Labour votes in Scotland were weighed rather than counted. When the system now in use was advocated, Labour agreed. They knew that they would win the vast majority of seats with first past the post, so a PR system was adopted that would allow no one party total control. This system was not, as some on the paranoid nationalis­t fringes argue, to prevent the SNP ever taking over – at that time, when nationalis­t representa­tives could be counted on two hands, that was a prepostero­us propositio­n – but it was an attempt to be fair.

I distinctly remember powerful arguments against. Many argued that a series of Israeli government­s using a similar system had been controlled by extreme and unrepresen­tative small parties for years.

This is exactly the situation that exists in Scotland at the moment. The Greens are a small and numericall­y insignific­ant group with an extreme agenda. But for their 30 pieces of silver they are keeping the nationalis­ts in a majority.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

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