Sunday, 4 July 2010

AV: The wrong reform at the wrong time

The biggest danger of a successful referendum on AV is that it will give the illusion of political reform without actually having changed very much. I can't summon any great reserve of opposition to AV; it preserves the constituency link, and even allows voters to vote honestly rather than tactically for their first choice knowing that a second choice will ensure their vote isn't wasted. It also allows the gap between winner and runner-up to close-up enough not to allow the winner to be complacent about their majority - never a bad thing.

No. The problem is that it leaves the most damaging and pernicious faults with the electoral system intact. Firstly the deviation from a national electoral quota; we urgently need to recognise that a Scottish or Welsh vote should not be worth inherently more than an English vote. So the same EQ should apply right across the UK. Secondly, the envelope of constituency size around the EQ; like commentators on this blog I would allow only two exceptions, the Isle of Wight and the far highlands and islands. Every other constituency should be in the envelope +5% to -5% of the UK electoral quota.

Secondly, the state of the electoral register. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky has estimated that for 45m voters, the register is 7m voters out; there are 3.5m voters registered who shouldn't be, and 3.5m missing who should be. many of the latter will be natural Labour supporters - so they should support moves to regularise the register. A one-off validation, perhaps coincident with the 2011 census, in which either passport or birth certificate is required, will correct the register.

Finally, we must with reluctance withdraw the right of Commonwealth citizens to register on the electoral register and vote in general elections. This is an anomaly from the days of steam liners and has no place in an age of jet travel when we are host to at least a million Nigerians.

Some action from Cameron on these desperately needed reforms would be welcome indeed.

2 comments:

The Sceptical Sceptic said...

I totally disagree.....

the problem with politics today in Britain is that it is has become consensus politics....the aim being to rule by consensus, Clegg and Cameron have said as much in their own words.


All three main parties are frankly just left of centre...stuffed on the whole with career politicans straight out of a stint in pointless PR roles with no real life experience. how many of the cabinet today have ever served in the Armed forces? (just one) how many have ever run a business? (one) how many have ever been local councillors representing local interests? (one) how many have been shop stewards representing workers interests? (none)

we have a coalition for one reason only and its simple.....the electorate didn't want any of the main three to win...because in the electoraes mind the thought process was "same old..same old...its makes no differene who wins" its that simple

The TV debates that were micromanaged to the second to avoid confrontation on anything of relevance to the majority of the electorate or Britain today were a classic example of consensus politics in action, with the exception of profanity or outright personal abuse against an individual why weren't the gloves allowed to come off? why did it need an 180 book of rules when the USA can do it with four pages? why weren't the leaders allowed to tell it like it really was? they couldn't because they all basically agreed on all the major issues....

where in Parliament are the voices illustrating the folly of Afghanistan, the voice representing the victims of crime under the joke of the criminal justice system, the voices crying out about unfettered immigration and where are the voices shamefully exposing our subserviance to and our surrender of sovereignty to The EU under Lisbon?

nowhere....because of consensus politics.

do any of the major parties truly represent what we the majority of Britain want?

will we ever get a party that is truly non bigoted pro British (I believe in the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Brtiain) for thats what put the GREAT into Britain the melting pot of four distinct nations, heritages and cultures to bring out the best in all for the common good.

but I digress....

Just from reading your own blog posts its apparent that your a Conservative at heart possibly with a capital C as I am too...

if AV is introduced we will be weighed down with this consensus political tripe and the ill advised stupid governace it produces for a generation to come if not more...

give me adversarial politics anyday with a first past the post mandate to do something about the mess any previous government produces....

the majority being able to vote for what they want is the answer....not second best...do we really want the second best candidate running things?

the winner is what we vote for, the winner is what we should get...that is true democracy in action....

Anonymous said...

Yes, but the first past the post system almost invariably means that the one elected is the one whom the majority of voters did not choose.