Neil Kinnock: AV will bring a new vitality to our democracy
Tuesday 03 May 2011
When Britain’s two main parties won over 90 per cent of the vote between them First Past the Post was a fair system that generally reflected the true political feelings of the nation.
But in the four decades in which the United Kingdom has had multi-Party politics that fairness has been fading away. At the last election the two largest Parties took just 65 per cent of the vote between them, and the turnout was lower than at any time in the 1950s.
In short first past the post has enabled Parties with the support of less than 30 per cent of the electorate – to wield 100 per cent of the power.
That is the central and abiding argument for changing from First Past the Post to an Alternative Vote system in which the consistently non-conservative majority can cast meaningful votes for their progressive preferences in every constituency instead of making hopeful tactical guesses.
The change to AV would not be huge – voters who only wished to vote for one candidate and Party could obviously continue to do so. But it is enough of a shift to wake up British politics, give a new vitality to our democracy, and make the choices in all constituencies more real and effective.
They are all positives. By contrast, the campaign against changing to the Alternative Vote is composed entirely of negatives. No clear reason for retaining First Past The Post is advanced by “No” supporters. They simply declare that it provides protection against the “instability” of hung Parliaments and that it’s cheaper.
The claim that AV requires “machine voting” is complete rubbish. In Australia, which has had AV for 90 years, they’ve used a pencil to mark the ballot paper and manual counting of votes just as we do here. That would continue if the UK had AV. There is absolutely no need (or demand) to spend £130 million on machine voting. There is no law or finance to facilitate it.
The First Past the Post system in which the anti-conservative majority is divided has served the Tories well. That’s why they are so desperate to keep it.
Labour people should recognise that reality. It is fundamental to understanding why and how the future can be better than the past and it re-enforces the solid practical democratic reasons for supporting AV.
I hope that everyone who wants to increase accountability, foster plurality and strengthen democracy will think hard – and then, on May 5th , vote YES to progress.
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...