AV

Now that the Bill paving the for the holding of a referendum on whether the country should change the system we use to elect Members of Parliament has completed its passage through Parliament I thought it would be useful if I posted a few articles about AV.

Firstly AV stands for Alternative Vote and it is the name given to the system that will be used to elect MP’s in future if the Country votes yes in the referendum which is to be held on the first Thursday in May the same day as the local elections in England. In Wales and Scotland it will be held on the same day as the Welsh Assembly elections and the Scottish Parliament elections.

Secondly, the referendum is not simply seeking the opinion of the Country if the Country votes yes then the new system which is already provided for in the Act will automatically come into force for all future general elections.

Thirdly, this is the case regardless of how many people turn out to vote in the referendum. During the Bill’s passage through Parliament many of us felt that in order for the referendum to be binding there ought to be a requirement for a minimum number of people to vote but this was rejected by the Government.

I should say at the outset of this series of posts on AV that I support the retention of our existing system of electing MP’s which is often referred to as First Past the Post system. I prefer the more accurate term of Most Votes Wins. I consistently voted against the Bill in Parliament and I will be voting No in the Referendum. In future postings I will explain how the new system works and why I will be voting No.

4 thoughts on “AV

  1. David,

    please can you explain why your party thinks that the British electorate is sufficiently well informed to make a decision regarding hugely complicated EU treaties, but should not make decisions on how this country is governed? As I understand it the AV referendum part of the coalition agreement was what Cameron found hardest to sell to you.

    Why are we not having a more comprehensive debate and vote on our constitution? AV is a system that only addresses our democratic deficit at the margins, why are we not given a full PR option to vote on, or a say in the final shape of the Lords or horror of horrors a vote for a republic?

    • Hi,

      I never have people ask me about holding a referendum on the voting system but I do have plenty of folk asking why we can not hold a referendum on our realtionship with the EU!

      I suspect that we are not having a more comprehensive debate is that very few people want one! Never mind keep arguing your case.

      David

  2. Ewan,
    People are bombarded with information these days and any well-informed voter has to work hard to really understand the issues.
    Most working families are just too busy trying to support their families, worrying about their jobs etc. and by the end of the day are too worn out to pay much attention to current affairs.

    Is it any wonder they switch off when as far as most people are concerned, politicians are liars and cheats and are only in it for their own gain.

    Fortunately, that’s what the political elite want, a nation of people too concerned with their own substantial problems to pay any attention to what goes on at the top so’s they, the political elite, can carry on doing what they do best – making money for themselves and their mates.

    You would think that on David Camerons visit to the middle-east he would take a selection of fine thinkers, maybe professors of education, anthroplogists, right minded people who can help stabilise and rebuild communities, lead those countries forward to democracy?

    No, he takes a delegation of arms dealers representing companies selling rubber bullets and CS gas for crowd control as well as heavily armoured riot vans!

    When David Cameron says he’s ‘inspired’ by the Egyptian people I think he means ‘ooooo, now there’s an opportunity to re-stock their gun locker’

    Now we all know that David Cameron is a better PR man than a politician but how ever did he think that going round the middle-east selling weaponry to counries in revolt was a good idea?

    Crass and insensitive behaviour like this is becoming a trademark of our governments.
    Do you think the Libyans, Egyptians, Tunisians etc. will look kindly at England for re-supplying their ‘masters’?

    Tsch… and we wonder why some of these people wish bad things to happen to us?

  3. Dear David,

    It is indeed an astute (but also obvious I would hope to think) observation that far too much is being made of an incredibly complex overhaul of the voting system -the change itself is extremely significant and should not be left to a referendum with so little time for explication to the people, many of whom would put a switch to AV as pretty far down the totem pole of what they would like to see a referendum on. You are right that if there has to be a referendum on anything, our EU membership should be first up for nomination. For those who say we don’t have enough a grasp on this equally complex subject matter, I would argue the basic fundamentals are indeed being seized upon by the general British public – polls come out almost daily saying that at its base/core level, EU membership is not something the majority of the electorate want. Particularly given the fact that we don’t elect those who propose all the legislative changes which we end up having to abide by (the Commission/Council) and the fact that more and more of these proposals encroach on every aspect of our lives and sovereignty! Keep fighting the good fight…I am indeed proud to have an MP, and a particularly new one at that, who has wasted no time in getting his views heard, instead of toeing some absolute party line in the hopes of landing a Cabinet job (as so many of the new intake are prone to doing).
    I am also very impressed by your determination to have such a low claim on your travel expenses, along with the fact that you really seem to be trying to do everything in Westminster yourself without having to rely on costly staff….I just hope this doesn’t detrimentally affect the amount you can do in Parliament and the quality of your performance of course!

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