Right of Reply: Martin Linton
The Labour MP for Battersea replies to Ken Livingstone's critical article on the Jenkins Report
Thursday 05 November 1998
Maybe we should have expected as much. It was always going to be difficult to keep Ken on board while he was running for Mayor of London. His stated reasons for changing sides are so irrational that he can't really expect us to take them seriously.
Lord Jenkins has put forward two moderate changes to the system to deal with its most obvious defects - preferential (1,2,3) voting to eliminate the need for tactical voting, and a small number of top-up seats to deal with the problem of wasted votes without increasing the likelihood of coalition government.
Ken argues that a referendum may be lost because Jenkins does not offer genuinely proportional representation. But we all know the reverse is true. A pure PR scheme would stand no chance at all, because most people simply do not want permanent coalition.
Ken argues that the preferential Alternative Vote can be even less proportional than first-past-the-post. Well, occasionally, it can. But Jenkins isn't proposing AV. It may be known as AV Plus, but it is really a top-up system and the top-up seats compensate for the disproportionality of AV. The faults of AV are thus largely irrelevant.
The aim is not to achieve perfect proportionality. It is to ensure that votes count and the Surrey Labour or the Glasgow Tory will at last be represented. It is the only chance of getting reform.
So, Ken, take a lesson from Dick Whittington. Think again.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
Star Wars 7: David Fincher's sequel idea sounds a lot more intriguing
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >