Conrad Landin

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Alternative indeed, but desirable?

I’ve started blog posts on AV a number of times but stopped in sheer boredom part-way through writing them.

I’ll make my position clear – I’m voting NO for sure, but I’ve been quite disgusted by the techniques used by the NO campaign. The very idea that one’s main argument against AV is that it’s expensive and we could use the money to save babies instead is absolutely ludicrous.

If that’s the way we’re going, why not abolish elections altogether and have a dictatorship? We wouldn’t have to employ people to count votes that way, would we?

I’m voting against for two main reasons:

1. It’s less proportional than first past the post in all likelihood. I’d be in favour of a system that gave greater representation to smaller parties – such as AMS, perhaps – as I believe this could completely change the climate of British politics, and allow smaller parties to develop into serious political forces. In the Scottish Parliament, for instance, over its 12 year existence we’ve seen the Greens, the far-left and a number of independents gain representation. But there’s nothing to suggest anyone would gain from AV other than the Lib Dems.

2. When Nick Clegg went into negotiations with the Tories, he had the opportunity to put anything on the table as a coalition condition. He could have stood up for free education, like the Irish Labour party did just a month or so ago when they went into coalition with the centrist Fine Gael. Instead, he feebly promoted a gimmicky lipservice to the electoral reform he had promised his voters. He had described it as a ‘miserable little compromise’ – but it was one he was prepared to make so he could sit in his plush Whitehall office. I don’t want to vindicate or legitimise his miserable, shoddy little deal with the Beelzebub of Whitehall.

Left-wing supporters of AV are still parading around this idea that it will keep a ‘progressive majority’ in power forever.

But that ain’t necessarily so.

The latest YouGov poll exposes this idea as a complete myth.

Once upon a time, when Lib Dem votes were eliminated, they might have transferred to Labour candidates, and vice versa. But since the election, polling has shown a complete shift in this trend.

Now that all progressives have deserted the Lib Dems, their main support comes from right-wingers who wish to see the continuation on the coalition. They will put their 2nd preferences to the Tories – and so will Tories who don’t mind the fact that such a useless party is giving them cover for their worst policies.

And what if the Tories and Liberals promote a reciprocal agreement for supporters to second-preference each other? People always say “supporters never would” – but if you’re right-wing and it’s the best chance to maintain a right-wing argument, I don’t see why not.

Anthony Wells’s analysis – here at UK Polling Report http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/3424 – is more convincing than my relative polling novicery.

The other question raised of late is that we’re voting over whether to slap Cameron or slap Clegg. My NO vote, above all else, will be a slap in the face to the coalition agreement and t0 future shoddy deals to the benefit of both partners in crime.

A final swipe at the YES campaign – why can’t you be honest and call yourselves YES TO AV? All this YES IN MAY and YES TO FAIRER VOTES is blatantly trying to reinforce the perception among the public that this referendum is on proportional representation.

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4 Comments

  1. Chris Bennetts says:

    Good post Axel – our views seem to be remarkably similar!
    http://impossibleproof.blogspot.com/

    My fear in the long-term is that the Lib Dems will rebound; we British are a notoriously forgiving bunch and I’m worried that Clegg will be able to gradually create a ‘we did what we thought was right for the country’ narrative. Still, for now Labour securely has the mantle and we’ll be able to give ’em a stuffing in the locals.

  2. Axel Landin says:

    Conrad – this is most likely my fault as I’ve just posted it up on Facebook. That said, as you will know for our discussions this is also my own viewpoint.

    Good to hear from you at any rate, Chris, and I’ll give your blog a read.

  3. […] you read my piece on AV on this blog a couple of weeks ago, some of the above arguments may be familiar. But they’re better expressed here – and, […]

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