Daily Archives: May 10, 2010

Alternative Vote

Well fancy that!  Both Labour and Tories offering a possibility of AV voting!

I could support AV as preferable to the present system.  Whereas our present system is commonly described as first past the post, that’s a misnomer, because there’s no post to pass.  AV is a true first-past-the-post system with a post at 50% of the total vote.  Most importantly, it rids us of the motivation for the fundamentally antidemocratic abomination of tactical voting.

And it deflects the libdems campaign for proportional representation.  Easy for them to campaign against a system that’s obviously wrong; less easy when a defensible system is on offer.  No wonder they’re whoring and playing hard to get – though that could also be down to some of the dumber members falling for Labour’s honeytrap!

Of course, a change to AV does nothing with the regular problems of our system: gerrymandering, rotten boroughs, electoral fraud, and above all the Westlothian question (which suddenly becomes an acute constitutional crisis if the Nationalists were to abandon their moral high ground and enter a “rainbow coalition”).  But neither does it make anything worse: it’s orthogonal to these problems.

One new argument the libdems might put in favour of PR: a regional list offers a defensible mechanism for social goals, like getting more women into parliament.  Just put quotas on how the lists are constituted, and you have more balance without the blatent discrimination of barring men altogether from standing for some constituencies, as Labour has done.  Can’t see the tories giving it a hearing given their strong attachment to the fiction of the constituency link, but some in Labour might bite.