Whoa! Canada

laurel l. russwurm's political musings

John Cleese taught me about Proportional Representation

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The first time I saw the John Cleese video on Proportional Representation I began to realize what was wrong with our own First Past The Post winner-take-all electoral system. Better still, it gave me an idea of what needed to be fixed.

I was shocked to discover the UK had ignored the case Mr. Cleese made for Proportional Representation. When I watched it, the video was something like twenty years old: why hadn’t Proportional Representation been adopted in the UK? Proportional Representation is such an elegant solution: a beautiful way to way to make representative democracy democratic. It’s a no brainer. What’s not to like?

The problem is, of course, that the electoral system in the UK is at least as undemocratic as our own. It no longer surprises me that it hasn’t changed, because I know now there are very powerful special interests that want to maintain the status quo, because the inequity in our electoral system benefits them.

When a minority controls the legislature and the media, it is difficult for ordinary people to achieve meaningful change. The Internet helps a lot, but it still takes a lot of time and energy for any underfunded grass roots organization to counter the constant barrage of main stream media propaganda designed to keep our inequitable system in place.

A drawing of John Cleese accompanied by this quotation "I've always thought that the principle of Proportional Representation is thoroughly democratic.  That's why I've always supported it in the UK." - John Cleese

“I’ve always thought that the principle of Proportional Representation is thoroughly democratic.
That’s why I’ve always supported it in the UK.” — John Cleese

The inimitable John Cleese, writer, actor, director and icon, is taking his Last Time To See Me Before I Die Tour across Canada just now. Since Mr. Cleese’s classic video on Proportional Representation is quite popular in Fair Vote Canada circles, supporters will be distributing FVC postcards to Canadians attending his shows.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to see Mr. Cleese myself this time, I’ll have to wait for his return engagement.  But perhaps you can get out and see him for me.  If you do, please tell him I said, “thanks,” for all he’s done, not just to entertain the world, but to improve it.

Canadians can catch John Cleese LIVE in:

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from “Proportional Representation ~ What’s It All About

“To sum up:

“1. PR operates throughout western Europe and has all party support here.

“2 It’s change, yes, but change to give us greater stability.

“3. Coalition Governments in Europe are doing a lot better than we are.

“4. You’ll have several local MPs so you can talk to the one you like best.

“5. The system is too complicated for the British …. ha, ha, ha.

“The single greatest advantage of PR is that it will give us a House of Commons that reflects better how we vote. That is, reflects the balance of opinion in our country. And that better balanced House of Commons will give us more balanced policies, and will increase the amount of discussion, cooperation and compromise.”

— John Cleese, “Proportional Representation ~ What’s It All About

Oh, and if you haven’t signed the Fair Vote Canada Declaration of Voter’s Rights, this would be a good time :)

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