20 February 2011

Cameron's objections to AV make a powerful case for a more proportional system than AV

Andrew Rawnsley has an interesting article in today's Observer that's well worth reading as we approach the forthcoming referendum on electoral reform.

Under the headline The cynical enemies of electoral reform think we're stupid. Those against the alternative vote believe they can persuade the British that we are too dim to count up to three, comes a confession from Rawnsley:

'I belong to that tragically nerdish minority who are fascinated by electoral systems and think they can make a significant difference to the quality of politics and governance. Perhaps you too are a member of this small club of saddos who enjoy teasing out the rival merits and demerits of the single transferable vote versus the additional member system.'

My answer is that I am indeed another saddo member of this 'tragically nerdish minorty'.

I also agree that David Cameron' speech launching the 'No' campaign 'was not among his best' as well as with Rawnsley's conclusion:

'Does the campaign to keep first past the post think that most Britons are stupid? Yes. Not only that, they are relying on the stupid vote to win.'

For me, this attitude of the 'No' campaigners was summed up in the following sequence from the speech. Leaving aside the fact that Mr Cameron seems have hitherto un-noticed problems with English grammar - four sentences are apparently "less than a sentence" - there is something profoundly patronising about his advocacy of simplicity.

And I've always been baffled by the way Tory and Labour politicians are so obsessed with political turn-taking that they're quite happy to defend a status quo that can and often does leave them out of power for decades at a time.

If you join the 150 other nerds who've (so far) watched the speech on YouTube (below), you may, like me, come to the conclusion that Cameron's case against AV actually amounts to a rather powerful argument for a more proportional voting system than AV (e.g. STV) - in which case one wonders why he's bothering to oppose what could be a first serious step in that direction.


Roger said...

Errr...because AV is not a more proportional voting system?

Plus if as seems probable it does pass it will kill off the campaign for actual PR until we get a result like the 1977 Australian election that discredits it.

Keith Underhill said...

I anything passing reform could give a campaign for pr more momentum.

It is pretty clear that keeping the status quo will be a strong arguement against a further referendum.

Can you not hear the old politicians "the people have spoken they support the current system they do not want change and we are not going o spend money etc etc..!"

So if you are really for PR you should vote for AV which is a better system anyway because it massively reduces the benefits of tactical voting . It gets rid of vote splitting and is the fairest system if you electing one person.

Anonymous said...

Very few people will vote in this referendum for several reasons.
Whatever the outcome voters will still feel that they have no control over policy because they are denied a direct say on issues that concern them such as immigration, the EU, the 'justice' system etc.
For most people the UK (and especially England) is barely more democratic than Libya.

John Ellwood