Voting Reform

Voting Reform has been in the news of late.

Various Labour and Conservative ‘Big Beasts’ have united to oppose any change in our current system of electing the House of Commons. I find it interesting to note that the Senior Politicians who have come out against electoral reform are all, well, senior in years, Margaret Beckett, Ken Clarke, David Blunkett, John Prescott to name some of the more prominent members of the group. They hardly represent the coming generation of politicians.

This has raised a few questions that I need to try to answer for myself

So these are my questions to answer.

  • Is the AV system worth fighting for?
  • Should we be looking at other – more radical systems
  • Are the Tory proposals to cut the number of MPs by 50 anti-democratic?
  • Shouldn’t we be doing something about the House of Lords as well?

I’ll make a series of posts trying to answer these questions.

Let us take them one at a time – AV first.

It is an improvement on the current system, in that it allows the voter the opportunity to cast their primary vote positively for their party of choice rather than negatively, voting against a particular party. As such it may help a few Green and UKIP candidates keep their deposits. It also means thy by the time an M.P. is actually elected, at least 50% of the people who actually cast their votes will have expressed some sort of preference for him or her. This compares with the current parliament where I believe only 3 M.P.s even managed 40% of the vote in their constituencies.

We can see from the Electoral Reform Society that had AV been in use at the last election it would have resulted in a few more LibDems a few less Tories and about the same number of Labour. Essentially It would have made no real difference.

Whilst can’t get all that enthusiastic about AV, it would for the first time allow me to cast my vote positively for the party I actually support rather than negatively, to prevent a Tory being elected. (I have somehow or other contrived to live my entire life in areas that are LibDem/Tory marginals.) It is also the only thing on offer so I will be voting for it come the referendum in May.

There are other and I think better systems that I think we should consider which I will get round to discussing in another post.

To list the ones that I think are worth considering :

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