Re: "Shy Tories"
The belief that the UK has ever been offered a PR option is very strong. There was no vote on PR. There was no option for PR. The Lib Dems fluffed that, along with pretty much every other thing they could in their desperate bid to actually matter for once.
Alternate Vote (which there was a referendum on, and rejected) is a majoritive voting system, just designed to more accurately reflect people's choices from a multiple options. It is pretty much the same as straight majority votes if you only have 2 options, but if you have 4+ then they are relevant. It means that even if your first choice candidate is not going to win, your vote can still influence who does. So your vote for your local Lib Dem, who isn't going to get in, but you would prefer say Labour over Conservative over UKIP.
None of the major parties wants to give PR, in any form, a chance. Since it will almost always result in coalition governments, and those are bad for those versed in the party political system. It also almost always leads to fracturing of the larger parties, which again is not something that those who have spent years playing the party system are keen on.
The fact that a referendum on AV got passed off as one on PR, and is widely accepted as such, is a great trick pulled off by those who prefer the party system (and FPTP) over getting anything slightly more representative.
In NZ there is MMP (half PR, half FPTP) for electing the 99-105 MPs, and STV for local council. You can witness the incredible bitching from the ex-councillors who lose their seats from STV who would have won under FPTP, becasue of the number of people who effectivle voted "anyone but them".
Check out: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems to see some reasonable explanations of different systems, and the flaws and advantages in each.
For my UK vote, during my lifetime it has never mattered. My constituency has returned 50%+ for the Cons every election :)