Hypocrisy, AV and the illusion of proportional representation

The Lib Dems and their allies in the Take Back Parliament movement are a deluded bunch.  They continue to delude themselves that AV is a stage on the road to real proportional representation.  Of course we know that this isn’t true at all; it’s another illusion that has been designed to give the appearance of the possibility of a fair voting system. This Lib Dem blogger whines that Labour are now “hypocrites” because they no longer support the Yes camp on the forthcoming referendum on the Alternative Vote system (AV).

At the 2010 general election they supported immediate legislation to change the electoral system to AV. A few weeks later they now oppose it- on the grounds that the Lib Dems and the coalition are for it.

Actually, the coalition doesn’t support it;  the biggest support comes from the Lib Dems. This BBC article says,

The Lib Dems insisted on electoral reform as the price of forming a coalition with the Conservatives, even though most Tories, including party leader David Cameron, oppose it.

These naive folk believe that referendum will be “fun”.

The campaign to ditch Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system in favour of the Alternative Vote will be “fun,” its organisers have promised.

Of course the Yes to AV camp has been linked to the Lib Dems

He said the Yes to AV campaign was also keen to counter the impression that it will be a Liberal Democrat “front” organisation – stressing it will be a cross-party, non-partisan organisation and not run out of the Lib Dems’ Cowley Street headquarters as some bloggers have claimed.

Too late, the campaign is dominated by the Lib Dems because who else would be so hopelessly naive to support such a bad compromise? It was the Lib Dems who decided, somewhat naively to go into coalition with the Conservatives when they could have propped up the Tories with a confidence and supply arrangement instead.

In spite of what the Lib Dem blogger said, Ed Miliband is in favour of AV but offers a proviso,

EM: Yes. I am in favour of AV and will campaign for it if there is a referendum. But the Coalition is giving political reform a bad name by spatchcocking together with the AV referendum a naked attempt to gerrymander the parliamentary boundaries.

Miliband the Elder sings from the same hymn sheet,

DM: I strongly support political reform and I would support a system of AV but I do not support the Bill in its current form. I think it makes little sense to introduce reform for the Commons without introducing PR for the House of Lords. The Lib Dems are giving parliamentary reform a bad name.

The coalition have complained bitterly that Labour’s accusation of gerrymandering is a smear but as this Conservative blogger indicates, the fear of gerrymandering existed before the General Election,

Labour and the Lib Dems have completely lost touch with what the public want. They want a general election now to clean up Parliament by electing a new set of MPs. They do not want the existing lot to vote for a referendum on gerrymandering the voting system. Let us not forget that Labour and the Lib Dems were the parties who promised a refendum on the EU Constitution and reneged on that as they thought they might lose. These parties cannot be trusted.

Hypocrites, eh? You don’t know the meaning of the word.

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2 Comments

Filed under Electoral reform, Government & politics

2 responses to “Hypocrisy, AV and the illusion of proportional representation

  1. Can Labour win the next Election ?

    Labour it may be suggested faces a difficult struggle over the next five years as it now appears that it will have to fight two party’s both the Orange Book Liberals and the Conservatives. For it is almost certain that the far right Orange Book Liberals will support the Conservatives in future elections.
    The changes to the electoral boundaries, the proposed system of AVand electoral pacts will help both the Conservatives and the Orange Book Liberals to gain more seats thus Labours uphill struggle starts to become a mountain. The answer to Labours dilemma may come in the form of further electoral reform by supporting Full PR. The Open List System will allow every vote to count and may gain massive support from electors who have been disenfranchised for decades under the current system and how have been treated unfairly by boundary changes.
    If Labour were to support the Open list system then this might unbalance the Liberal Democrats and drive a wedge between them and the far Right Orange Book Liberals. Disaffected Liberal Democrats may even join Labour as they realize That a commitment to a PR system if Labour were elected could create a vacuum with The Orange Book Liberals and Conservatives on the far right and Labour, The Green Party,rebel liberal Democrats and others filling the centre left.
    Clegg may find himself under massive pressure as a proclaimed supporter of PR for he will know that under The Open List system the LibCon coalition would be revealed and vulnerable as a far right group thus it is conceivable that Clegg would find some way to reject PR so as to maintain his cosy relationship with the Tories and the monopoly of power they may gain through boundary changes, AV and electoral pacts. Labours best weapon it may be suggested remains the transparency and honesty of a binding Commitment to Full PR should they be elected.

  2. I think Labour needs to pull its finger out and go for the Open List system. I don’t think it can win the next election with an outright majority. If the party adopts proper PR then it can become the largest party in a coalition with other left wing parties.

    I agree about Clegg and the Orange Book mob; they will join the Tory party.

    AV is a big confidence trick and the sooner people wake up to that fact the better.

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