To AV Or Not To AV

For what it’s worth I’ll be voting for a change to the alternative vote in the referendum tomorrow.

Not that I think it’s a perfect system, there isn’t one – and there’s not a snowball’s chance that anyone but Labour will win in my parliamentary constituency, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, anyway, under any system – but simply that it’s a (tiny) bit fairer than the so-called first past the post method which I have blogged about before.

[To see just how perverse the FPTP system can be see doctorvee’s excellent post on the subject here.]

I also see AV as an essential first step towards a more fully proportional election procedure. Consider: the coming of universal suffrage in the UK took nearly 100 years from the Great Reform Act of 1832 till women finally got the vote on the same terms as men – and one person one vote was not achieved (with the abolition of university seats) till after the Second World War!

If the AV referendum posts a no vote it will be taken to mean that, or represented as, there is not a wide desire to see a fairer system in place and the chances of any sort of PR system for UK parliamentary elections will thereby be lost for perhaps a generation, maybe even for my lifetime. Anyone who votes against it on the grounds that it isn’t the PR system they prefer is letting the worst (FPTP) take the place of the acceptable-for-now.

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