Why the Player Should Hate the Game: How Our Voting System Curtails Labour’s Ambition

Frances Foley

The effects of our First Past the Post voting system are all encompassing: it frames our national conversation, warps our perception of politicians’ behaviour, and dictates the decisions of our leaders. Even those seen as beneficiaries of the system – the larger parties – are more trapped by it than they seem to believe.

In Why the Player Should Hate the Game, Compass Deputy Director Frances Foley argues that deeper democratisation could not only win Labour votes but, in the longer term, liberate them from the contortions and constraints demanded by First Past the Post. If Labour could step back and see that the game we’re all playing works against a politics of emancipation and equality, how it makes us narrower, more timid, even more conservative, then it might be possible to understand themselves as potential long-term winners of a shift to proportional representation.

Unlock Democracy and Compass are working together on a Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust funded project to build consensus around a new democratic settlement. With a focus on the Labour Party, other progressive parties and civil society campaigners, we are looking to create the conditions for a new 21st century democratic settlement for our nations, communities and citizens.

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