Senedd voting system part of ‘Blairite’ elite plot to ‘smash’ the United Kingdom claims Peter Hitchens
Introducing proportional representation at Senedd elections was part of an underhand elite plot to “smash” the United Kingdom, according to Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens.
The author and journalist claimed that introducing the PR voting method for Welsh elections in 1999 was part of a “Blairite” plot to bring the same voting system in for General Elections and ensure that left-wing governments were in power in perpetuity.
“When Anthony Blair and Gordon Brown smashed up the United Kingdom 25 years ago, they did not just propel Scotland and Wales towards independence,” he said.
“They realised that most people would not look at the details, and took the chance to introduce PR, in the form of the additional member system to the new Scottish and Welsh mini-parliaments which resulted.”
He added: “One day, this may turn out to be the model for the national republic the Blairites long for, but will never admit they want.
“Like their vandalism in the House of Lords, where they trashed the hereditary peers, it was a subtle move towards the day they secretly long for and never discuss in the open — when they abolish the monarchy.”
Warning that PR will become a reality if a Labour-Lib Dem coalition rules the UK after the next General Election, he said that “we may be very near the end of British Parliamentary Democracy as we have known it.”
Detailing his opposition to Proportional Representation, Peter Hitchens said that it would destroy an “arrangement that goes back to the very beginnings of our Parliament”.
“In a proportional representation (PR) system, all these safeguards vanish,” he said. “All its bargains are made in secret after the polls close, rather than in the open, before the voting starts.
“Parliament becomes an elite conspiracy against the voters, rather than a cockpit in which the angry divisions of the country are constantly reflected and echoed, a safety valve preventing political violence and revolution.
“Vote how you like in PR countries, but you have very little control over who keeps, gains or loses office after the election. All that is done in closed negotiations among the political class.
“Tiny parties can hold on to power despite having few votes, and demand the pursuit of crazy pet policies in return for propping up larger parties.”
Last week Welsh Labour voted overwhelmingly to further reform how Senedd elections take place. 75.64% voted for the changes and 24.36% against at a special conference.
Proposals to expand the Senedd to 96 members and change the voting system had already received support from a majority of Senedd Members.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I am delighted that Welsh Labour delegates have today decided to support Senedd reform.
“Today’s vote will strengthen Wales’ democracy, secure the future of our Senedd and ensure people across Wales are better represented – reflecting the modern Wales in which we live.”
Three unions closely affiliated with Labour had however had said that they opposed the reforms, saying they were concerned they could make it harder for Labour to hold on to power in Wales.
GMB, Community and Usdaw were understood to be against the proposals. In the end however they passed comfortably.
Welsh Labour MPs Chris Bryant and the party’s deputy leader Carolyn Harris had also criticised some aspects of the plans.
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant had said that his party branch had “voted unanimously” to oppose the plans because the new constituencies would be too large.
“Although we support reform in principle, the Rhondda Labour Party voted unanimously last night against the present proposals for reform of the Senedd,” Chris Bryant said.
“We object to electing six representatives in each 200,000 constituency on closed lists. It will make MSs much less connected to local people.”
The Welsh parliament voted last month to rubber-stamp the reforms which will see the number of members expanded from 60 to 96.
The 32 Westminster new constituencies will be paired to create 16 large constituencies, electing six Senedd members each.
Senedd elections will also use closed proportional lists with integrated statutory gender quotas, in practice giving parties full control over their list of candidates.
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