As Boris Johnson loses control, Keir Starmer is starting to get a grip | Polly Toynbee

It’s a long way back – but the Labour conference is revealing a revitalised party ready to take on this government of incapables

As Harold Macmillan’s notorious “events” rain down on Boris Johnson’s incapable government, it will become clear that he’s to blame. This chaos carries the hallmark of his character, out of control and unprepared.

At a local petrol station with a long tailback, someone has scrawled: “If you voted Brexit, go to the back of the queue!” A sign outside a pub in Pembrokeshire I saw read, “Staff wanted, dead or alive”: the next day they’d added “and manager”. Labour’s message that the Tories have lost control, delivered at its annual party conference, resonates around the country.

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Proportional representation would spell disaster for Labour. Party members should reject it | Richard Johnson

PR would make Labour majorities all but impossible, yet give the Lib Dems a permanent foothold on power

  • Richard Johnson is a lecturer in politics at Queen Mary University of London

At Labour’s annual conference this week, a motion is to be put forward calling for the party to back proportional representation (PR) for the election of MPs to the House of Commons.

There are many philosophical arguments that can be made against PR. PR makes coalition governments the norm rather than the exception. It reduces the ability of a party to deliver on its manifesto promises. It gives disproportionate weight to small parties. It encourages a more transactional form of politics, based on post-election horse-trading. It produces a more fragmented, inward-looking form of politics, whereby parties no longer need to seek broad-based electoral support in order to achieve power.

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