AV not the whole reform

Stephen Fry - national treasure

If you read this blog you will find I am a liberal minded, neo classical economist with a Rawlsian social justice centre, that honours both Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. So I am not by inclination with the No Campaign for AV.

Yet I must take issue with the Yes campaign on their blog page.

“We’re delighted to welcome Stephen Fry as an endorser. An English actor, screenwriter, author, playright, journalist, poet, and comedian, Stephen Fry has featured in productions including Blackadder, QI and Jeeves and Wooster. He’s also a director of Norwich City Football Club. He commented:

“The last couple of years have been faintly depressing for anyone who cares about the health of our political system. Yes, Westminster has made a start putting its house in order, but we still have a voting system in place that is not up to the job.

I love Stephen Fry and wish I could have his babies, accept neither of us are biologically inclined (my lack of a gestating system only a minor obstacle). Yet this is “politician’s logic” – something must be done (political system unhealthy) this is something (new electoral system) therefore we must do it. It is not an argument to do the thing only that it is a change.

“Rowan Davies has come on board as a Vice Chair of Yes to Fairer Votes. A writer and editor, she adds that:

Throughout my childhood my parents were effectively disenfranchised by living in a safe seat, and for the last four years I have been effectively disenfranchised myself, for the same reason. Our current electoral system grants huge power to the votes of a few thousand people in marginal constituencies, while ignoring the views of millions of others. First Past the Post is clapped-out, and we have a once-in-a-generation chance of consigning it to the scrapheap.

If you live in a seat where the winner gets 50.01 % of the vote you are still disenfranchised under AV. Under a proportional system which treated the whole country as one constituency, or at least had a second vote for party for a quota of seats, we would have a situation where every vote counted towards the representation in parliament.

“James Palumbo also joins us as a Vice Chair. He is best known as the co founder of Ministry of Sound, which has since grown from a single nightclub into a global multi media business. He says:

“AV will bring our voting system into the modern day by giving voters more of a choice. People will be able to choose their candidates in order of preference. It’s really simple: as easy as 1,2,3.”

Surely an electoral system that gives you more then one representative in your constituency from the same party or different parties would give you more choice?

In short AV does not deliver the choice or fairest reflection of votes cast, or treat votes equally, that other electoral systems can. it does not go far enough. And if you think this is at least a half step in the right direction think on this.

This is how we elect the people that make our laws. We need a system that is fair to the electorate. Let the people have a choice of what system we want. We could rank them according to preference, with the lowest one eliminated and second preferences given to others and so on till ….

Until then back room deals should not chose what is on offer. my mind is made up. No or abstaining till I get a real choice.

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3 Comments

Filed under British Politics

3 responses to “AV not the whole reform

  1. Iain

    “till I get a real choice.”

    That will be another 80 years or so, then: once the “we had a referendum and it showed there was no appitite to change” argument finally gets worn down.

  2. I want the seats in parliament reflected by the proportion of votes cast. AV does not guarantee this; it could make the result more disproportional then the other system and in close votes allow BNP voters the casting choice. I want electoral reform that really makes every vote equal.

    Agree to this it will take even longer to get a proportional voting system.

  3. Pingback: Local Elections 2011 and AV referendum « Homo economicus’ Weblog

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