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.

Posted on May 10, 2010, in politics, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. So if the discrimination is less blatant that is okay then? You’ll be testing the police recruits by albedo next, to make sure there is a visible policing presence.

    I agree that AV and similar systems will probably appease the LibDems self interest in changing the voting system without the horror that is PR. I’m not sure it will eliminate tactical voting, it just allows one to express one’s true intent whilst voting tactically.

    For example I’m in a seat with a popular Tory incumbent, with LibDem challenger in second. If I want to vote for the Labour candidate my vote is wasted. Under AV I vote for the Labour candidate, my vote is still wasted. Sure I can vote Labour 1, LibDem 2, but I would still be voting tactically if I thought the LibDem was a lesser evil than the incumbent rather than a candidate I want. As it happened the LibDem candidate looked to be one of the best, if not the best candidate locally..

    As long as you remember you are electing your MP not his party, then the current FPTP has a lot to recommend it. I fear the problem is people don’t vote for the candidate but for the party. Perhaps if a few more MPs crossed the floor each year, people would think more about the person than the party. Maybe a little LibDem to Labour flight would focus the minds of our MPs this session.

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