The debate over prospective electoral reform is charged with a sense of excitement that I think is misplaced. It sounds at times like talk of a daily tablet that will cure cancer, or a cheap machine that will end climate change, a piece of wishful thinking obscuring what’s at stake.

Proportional representation (PR), it is said, was a gigantic mistake. MPs are beholden to the party bosses who determine party lists, and are thus frightened and compliant, the legislature weak and insipid. A hybrid system mixing PR with constituency representation will bolster parliament’s independence. MPs will be more frightened of upsetting their constituents than of party bosses. They will, for the first time, actually represent the people who voted them into office...

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