Guests: Danny Dorling (UK) and Dan Koivulaasko (Finland)
The usual complaint by British lefties against proportional representation (PR) voting is that it generates moderate governments and keeps the left out of power.
Yet as we survey the state of the Labour Party today, the chances of the left having any significant influence on government here in the short- to mid-term seem remote indeed.
That’s why it is worthwhile to study the example of the LEFT ALLIANCE in Finland, which is one of more than 80 countries in the world that uses PR as its voting system. (Finland has always used PR since it was founded in 1917.)
In Finland’s most recent elections held in 2019, the LEFT ALLIANCE gained 8 % of the total votes. Because Finland uses PR, this ecosocialist party won 8% of the seats in the 200-seat Finnish parliament. Such a result would be impossible for a left party under the archaic “winner takes all/ loser gets zilch” voting system we’ve used in UK since the 1800s.
Moreover, the LEFT ALLIANCE is a member of the coalition government of five parties all led by women; see the above photo. PM Marin of the Social Democratic Party is in the centre; LEFT ALLIANCE leader Li Andersson is on the left. Others members include the Greens and two centrist parties. Again: can you imagine such a government under our wretched voting system?
To explain the current political situation in Finland, its history and how PR works there, as well as the role and future prospects of the LEFT ALLIANCE, GET PR DONE! has invited two guest speakers for a Zoom webinar. They are:
1) Danny Dorling:
A well-recognised professor of geography at Oxford University, Danny is a politically-engaged academic who has researched in a number of areas. These include the UK’s wide income disparity, the failings of our health care system and what lay behind Brexit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Dorling
We’ve invited Danny on 15 March to give us a lead-off backgrounder on Finland as he is a very engaging speaker and is co-author of the recent book: “FINNTOPIA – what we can learn from the world’s happiest country.” https://www.dannydorling.org/finntopia/
2) Dan Koivulaasko
A leading LEFT ALLIANCE activist, Dan is a former chair of Left Youth (of the LEFT ALLIANCE) and currently serves as a Vice Minister of Education to LA leader Li Andersson. https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Koivulaakso
Dan also has a lot of experience confronting the far right party called “The Finns” (once called “The True Finns”…so you can tell what they are about.) and has co-authored a book on the Finnish far right.