Alternative Vote Referendum

An amazing political development on Newsnight last night. Apparently Labour are likely to put in place legislation before the election in May 2010 to hold a binding referendum on the Alternative Vote after the election. The story is also here in the Guardian.


As I've said before here, here and here, I think STV in multimember constituencies is a much better way of voting. But anything is an improvement on the current system, and therefore welcome.


And—should the parallel have escaped anyone's notice—if Labour can set up one referendum before the election in May next year, they can just as easily set up another to give primary law-making powers to our National Assembly, can't they?

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Anonymous said...

AV would have delivered an even less proportional result in 2005 than FPTP. It solves no problems.

On the other hand, th eprecedent for a referendum arranged before the next GE is a useful one.

Anonymous said...

Av will be a total disaster for the whole political system. We already have very little actual difference between the 3 main London based parties, if they start trying to capture each others second choices they will reduce the whole thing to a beauty contest. What is the difference between a one party state and a mult-party state were all the parties say the same thing

Cibwr said...

AV indeed can give less proportional results than FPTP but at least it gets people into the habit of ordering their preferences. Labour will not go for STV though because it will help third and fourth parties and give greatest power to the electorate.

MH said...

Anon #1, I don't think you can say that AV would have delivered anything in 2005. That's because we have no idea who would have got subsequent choice votes.

Anon #2, I think you're completely wrong. AV is not intended to be proportional, but to solve the problem of tactical voting, i.e. people voting not for the person or party they really want ... but for what they don't really want, but can put up with.

Quite opposite to what you suggest, AV will encourage a greater number of candidates and parties to stand, safe in the knowledge that by standing they will not split the vote and let in a candidate they don't want. It even allows two rival candidates from very similar parties to stand (perhaps two rival factions of the same party) thus giving the political parties less of a stranglehold on the democratic process. That can only be good.

Cibwr, Agree completely.

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