Thursday, 24 February 2011

My letter in yesterday's Times

Yesterday the Times published my letter in response to a feature they carried in Saturday's edition looking at possible billboard adverts on either side of the debate on the fairer votes referendum.

One of the 'No' campaign adverts suggested that Hitler would be in favour of changing the voting system. There are good arguments against a change in the way we vote (although I think the benefits outweigh these), but linking the change to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis is definitely not one of them.

My letter read:

Far from being an argument against electoral reform, Hitler's rise to power in 1930s Germany exemplifies the need for change (advertisers posters on each side of the AV debate, Saturday's paper).
Hitler may well have won several years earlier had the Weimar Republic used First-Past-the-Post. As a party with a large level of support - but never a majority in an election - the Nazis would have been ideally placed to take advantage of a system whereby winners emerge with 30-40% of the vote.
In the event, Hitler's rise to power was delayed by several, crucial, years.
It is perhaps no wonder that leading Nazis during trips to Britain expressed their envy of the UK system in such terms.


Alex Folkes

Mind you, the real adverts which have been designed by the No campaign are hardly much better than the Hitler mock-up.

Note - The Times website operates behind a paywall, hence the lack of a link.

1 comment:

Heraclius said...

Your supposition is right here. According to Michael Burleigh's comprehensive "Third Reich: A New History", there are extensive computations which show that under FPTP the Nazis would have won in 1930 rather than a few years later, and Burleigh discounts the voting system as a significant factor in the rise of the Nazis.