AV – one small step forward for Democracy, just 12 years late!

Last night the Government finally came forward with plans to have a Referendum on changing the voting system to Alternative Vote (or AV). AV is different to the current method of First Past the Post used as it allows voters to rank their preferences 1, 2, 3 and so on rather than the current method of striking only an (X) next to your first choice.
The vote was won, and we suppported the proposals because they are a step in the right direction.
Most Labour and Tory MPs don’t want a fair voting system, because they know that they would be the biggest losers. Gordon Brown’s Government’s death-bed coversion is almost certainly a sham, and I won’t be holding my breath for the introduction of fair votes any time soon.

One response to “AV – one small step forward for Democracy, just 12 years late!

  1. Hi John,

    As you are the only elected member of Parliament in my locality who I believe may answer this question (no others have! – going back years) I though I’d ask you.

    I’m a former pupil of Oakwood, now Chorlton High School. Although I’ve lived and studied in Salford for many years now. My mother still lives in the Chorlton Park ward (Merseybank Estate) I’ve had the opportunity to vote in your constituency.

    This year I also stood for Parliament. Not something I ever though I’d be doing in a million years. One of the reasons being the sheer difficulty of actually ‘getting anywhere’ – especially for those from similar social backgrounds to mine.

    I’m sure you’ll be familiar with the demographics of the areas where I grew up. As a child I remember seeing orange masses of “LEECH” signs outside my School (now demolished) on Darley Avenue in the early 90’s, before you were elected as a councillor!

    As a Youth and Community Worker for nearly a decade I can safely (but sadly) say most young people have little interest in politics.

    Politicians rarely make their shortlist of positive role models, and as a vocation jobs like yours are considered unrealistic since the chances and prospects remain so very slim.

    Now AV has received royal assent do you intend to argue the case (as Vince Cable will) for genuine ‘fair votes’ and Proportional Representation (PR) ?

    Constitutionally speaking, the electorate has never had the option to decide on our voting system.

    First past the post (FPTP) was imposed ‘by default’ – and as you say since “it suits” those who have governed long before parliamentary democracy was introduced (however imperfect it may be!).

    So technically…

    a “NO” vote would not necessarily signal a “YES” vote for the continuation of FPTP.

    a “NO” vote would be a vote of no-confidence in AV as a replacement that can deliver a genuinely representative system in the medium to long-term.

    Chris Huhne stated earlier this year that the Liberal Democrats will “fight for proportional representation”. Concluding accepting AV would be “a deathbed conversion to electoral reform” and I agree with him. The arguments in support of AV tabled by Labour and now (reluctantly) the Conservatives are deceptive.

    As with the recent TIF (Congestion Charge) referendum we were asked to indicate if we either Agree or Disagree with a single proposal. There is no ‘multiple choice’.

    What I’m asking is – should the public reject AV in order to bring about PR more swiftly in time for the next General Election?

    I look forward to your response.

    Best Wishes,

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