Simon Carr: Three million voters made their preferences plain – they abstained

Sektch: The Liberals are on the slow road to destruction – why take a shortcut?
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The Independent Online

Are you Preferential or Alternative? If you've got a degree in voting systems you're probably Single Transferable (that's the system that will increase the parliamentary representation of giraffes).

This is never going to take off – not unless rebel MPs get their amendment requiring anyone supporting AV to have to inhale helium before making the case.

Without the Milibands in the chamber the discussion never really caught fire, but the professional vote chasers stayed to thrash out the longest statement in recent memory. It concerned them, you see. It was like expenses.

What happened? Nick Clegg pitched his honeymoon-fresh ideas to the Commons promising power surging away from the government to Parliament and thence to the people. Are you ready, people of Britain? You probably won't notice it happening. In the end you'll vote and still get some characterless, tripe-coloured, middle-aged establishment lackey.

More positively, it transpired that Nick and Dave are going to innovate with the referendum protocols, settling the question by cage fighting – winner takes all. That'll "engage the electorate", especially the 3.5 million unregistered voters out there. And consider how well tearing off each others' ears would work in with the fairness and respect agenda. No, damn, it was all a dream, a beautiful dream.

Animal noises from below kept waking the Gallery up. In order to make sure they'd have a five-year turn with the limousines and outriders, the coalition had rigged the numbers. They had insisted on 55 per cent majority on a vote of confidence. But because they "listen" (in this case to the yelping constitutionalisers) they've gone back to a simple 50-per-cent-plus-one vote to carry no confidence. You'd think the Opposition would be pleased at this. They didn't look pleased. They're not there to be pleased.

Was it something to do with the need for a 66 per cent vote to dissolve Parliament? Now the coalition won't be able to call a snap election – lacking as it does a Blair-type majority.

But the Liberals won't want to do any of that. They're on the slow road to destruction – why take a shortcut? Let's not argue about it, just take my bet for £200,000 – I'll give you 5-1.

Labour was complaining about "outrageous gerrymandering" (the proposal to make all constituencies roughly the same size). Their own outrageous gerrymandering (getting all those seats on 28 per cent of the vote) was forgotten.

They were described by one Tory as "a party having their rotten boroughs removed". Another, Bernard Jenkin, criticised holding the voting referendum on local election day as it would "artificially inflate the turnout". He says what others daren't think.

Many of the yelpiest Labour contributions concerned the 3.5 million people who weren't registered to vote. It "wasn't fair" they said. But the most likely explanation is that those 3.5 million want nothing to do with the whole system. It's nothing to do with "fairness". It's to do with "boredom" and "repulsion" and "wanting to be left alone".