Ed Miliband says Yes to AV

Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear I am absolutely delighted that Ed Miliband has given his unequivocal support for the Alternative Vote.

Ed is due to address a Labour “Yes” rally today, giving his first major speech on AV.  He will stress that “the time is ripe for change”.

This is indeed true.  First past the post effectively disenfranchises huge numbers of people. In a general election if you do not live in a seat which may change party, you’re vote is essentially worthless. It’s because of this that people try and vote tactically. The best that can be said for this is that it’s a hit and miss method of choosing your MP and doesn’t really work as a large number of people are required to vote tactically for it to have any discernible effect.

AV, however, would allow voters to rank candidates with preferences being transferred until one candidate receives over half the votes cast. Since this was the system used to elect Ed Miliband as Labour’s leader, I would have thought Labour Party members would be used to it and agree that it is, in fact, much fairer than the current majoritarian method used for the House of Commons.

Ed will today also urge Labour supporters to ignore the temptation to vote “no” in order to damage Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, saying, “We can’t reduce the second referendum in British political history to the betrayal of one man. I supported the inclusion of an AV referendum in our manifesto. If it was right then, it is right now.”

Labour Party members should back our Leader on AV and campaign for a yes vote. We are the only country in the EU which elects its national parliament by first past the post. It’s high time Britain moved into the modern world.

1 Comment

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One response to “Ed Miliband says Yes to AV

  1. Daniel Oxley

    The problem with AV is that it is not proportional representation. I do plan to vote Yes but this will be in the hope that it might eventually lead to a referendum on PR. I suspect, though, that the referendum will not be a milestone on the road to PR but a conclusion to the whole issue of voting reform; a cul-de-sac rather than a sign post.

    Nick Clegg has said that he would like a referendum on our membership of the EU. He was not advocating it after a damascene conversion to the cause of UK Home Rule but in the ambitious hope that the vote would be a firm endorsement of the EU, giving Federalists the mandate to enmesh us all even further in the stranglehold of EU Nationalism.

    Whatever his motives, he is right to recommend a referendum on EU Membership and I am minded to make a comment which has not been made for some time – I agree with Nick.

    It is difficult to see why the LibDems should want PR, other than to make their bland party seem to be firm on at least one issue. PR has been terrible for them in the EU Parliament. The fairness of the PR system has resulted in such success by UKIP; a level of success which allowed it a substantial victory over the Labour Party and a huge defeat of the LibDems.

    The point in the article about not using the issue to damage Nick Clegg was a valuable one. He is damaged beyond repair anyway. Don’t kick a chap when he is down.