The days of a meaningful mandate under FPTP have gone. Even a new New Labour project is impossible to assemble against the backdrop of an economic system that’s isn’t working for a growing majority. The vast bulk of the party has decided irrevocably to turn away from the politics of compromise beyond purpose. But a single Big Tent of the left is equally impossible. The social, cultural, regional and nation tensions are too great for one party to hope for a monopoly of the progressive vote.
By backing PR the party will be in touch with modernity and the way change happens in a networked society. And it will boost the party’s chances of getting the Tories out. A commitment on PR would cement a progressive alliance in which only the Lib Dems can defeat the Tories in the South West and lays the basis for a deal with the Greens. PR would also boost Labour representation in Scotland. This is probably the only hope of defeating the Tories and through it win mandate for electoral system change. This was always Mrs Thatcher’s biggest fear that Labour would cotton on to the way FPTP embeds a Conservative Britain.
But to make the shift it has to be done soon, not as a basis for a last minute and desperate stitch up. Labour should adopt PR because it’s morally the right thing to do – to count everyone’s vote equally. And the issue of a constituency connection is easy to deal with via a system like the Alternative Member System.
Neal Lawson: It’s time for Labour to give up on tribalism and embrace PR