Comedy legend John Cleese has starred in a newly released animation, features blabbering heads of political party leaders, in which he calls the UK’s democratic system “minority rule”.
In the video, produced with campaign group Make Votes Matter, a Pythonesque cutout of Cleese argues that change to our voting system is long overdue, saying:
“The Conservatives and the DUP hold a majority of seats in the House of Commons, yet just 43% of votes went to those two parties combined. 57% of us have to put up with a government we didn’t vote for and don’t want. This is what’s known as minority rule.”
The solution, he says, is simple: “Proportional Representation, or “PR”, simply means that seats in the House of Commons would reflect the way we vote. In other words if one party gets 20% of the vote, they get 20% of the seats - and as a consequence it would mean that Britain is governed by a Parliament that reflects its people.”
Make Votes Matter claims that the UK’s First Past the Post voting system means millions of voters are effectively shut out of our democracy. In the 2015 general election the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP received almost a quarter of all votes cast between them, yet ended up sharing just 1.5% of seats.
Millions more are forced to vote tactically, the campaigners add. In 2017, 20-30% of those polled said that they planned to vote tactically for a party who had a better chance of winning than their favourite candidate.
Klina Jordan, co-facilitator at Make Votes Matter, said: “In the video, John Cleese says that the alienation and mistrust that’s entered into British politics is a consequence of our unrepresentative voting system - and he’s absolutely right.
“British politics has broken down precisely because Parliament doesn’t reflect the people. It’s time we caught up with most developed countries by bringing in Proportional Representation and we’re delighted to have worked with John to make this point.”
The Monty Python and Fawlty Towers actor moved to the Caribbean island of Nevis in October, saying he would return to the UK, “when we get proportional representation”.