Winston Churchill on electoral reform

Winston Churchill‘s view on first past the post wasn’t exactly complimentary when he spoke in 1909:

The present system has clearly broken down. The results produced are not fair to any party, nor to any section of the community. In many cases they do not secure majority representation, nor do they secure an intelligent representation of minorities. All they secure is fluke representation, freak representation, capricious representation.

Though do remember that by contemporary tabloid newspaper standards Churchill was an army-insulting, anti-Christian foreigner. And that’s without mentioning the drinking or depression…

Hat-tip: John Strafford via Left Foot Forward

10 responses to “Winston Churchill on electoral reform”

  1. Andy: I mention it as something that parts of the modern media hold against politicians and others in public life, not as something that should be held against them (hence also, for example, my reference to him being a ‘foreigner’ because of one of his parents).

  2. Winston Churchill on AV:

    “The plan that they have adopted is the worst of all possible plans. It is the stupidest, the least scientific and the most unreal that the Government have embodied in their Bill. The decision of 100 or more constituencies, perhaps 200, is to be determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates. That is what the Home Secretary told us to-day was ‘establishing democracy on a broader and surer basis.’ Imagine making the representation of great constituencies dependent on the second preferences of the hindmost candidates. The hindmost candidate would become a personage of considerable importance, and the old phrase, ‘Devil take the hindmost,’ will acquire a new significance.
    “This method is surely the child of folly, and will become the parent of fraud. Neither the voters nor the candidates will be dealing with realities. An element of blind chance and accident will enter far more largely into our electoral decisions than even before, and respect for Parliament and Parliamentary processes will decline lower than it is at present.”

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