Saturday, 29 January 2011

Debating AV

Here's a recent televised debate between the Establishment politician Margaret Beckett and Jonathan Bartley, who heads the campaign group "Yes to Fairer Votes". Personally I think Mr Bartley got the upper hand in this debate, but you make your own mind up:

On 5th May, we're all going to get the chance to vote for or against the introduction of the Alternative Vote system (AV), a seemingly small but significant change to the existing First Past The Post (FPTP) system. The difference with AV is that you number the candidates in order of preference, so you put 1 next to the guy you want to elect, 2 next to your second choice and so on. If your first choice doesn't get enough votes to be elected, then he's eliminated and your vote gets transferred to your second choice. This should eliminate the problem of tactical voting - instead of voting for whoever you think has the best chance of beating the guy you really don't want to get in, regardless of whether you like them or not, you can give your first preference to your favoured candidate without fear of your vote being wasted.

Although it's not a proportional system, it's an improvement on the current one. Not only will it eliminate wasted votes, it should also give a clearer picture of what kind of government the electorate actually want. The Libertarian Party supports this proposed reform, as do a broad range of other minority parties. Funnily enough, it's less popular with Establishment politicians, who seem to be generally happy with the system that got them elected (very often on small minorities).

5th May is going to be an opportunity to introduce a beneficial constitutional reform and give us, the general public, a bit more say in how this country is run. Don't miss the chance to vote Yes to fairer votes.