News of the local elections and AV referendum dominated last week. As Eddie Izzard, a long standing Labour supporter and enthusiastic AV supporter, pointed out this was the first and likely to be the only opportunity when we are asked about the way in which we do politics in this country. (See my blog from earlier in the week here).
Now that a referendum has decided that we should continue with the system of First Past the Post we are unlikely to be asked again, and certainly not for many many years. So, the opportunity to have any further meaningful debate over a proper system of proportional representation seems to be out of the window.
Something else struck me about the AV result which is that Cameron has massively out manoeuvred the Lib Dems. The Yes campaign started out with a decent amount of support and yet the moment Cameron saw quite how much support there was, he poured a lot of resources into the against AV campaign. He has reduced the number of constituencies and has kept FPTP and has therefore totally outmanoeuvred the Lib Dems.
Acknowledging the anger of the Lib Dems, Ed Miliband urged disaffected Lib Dem ministers in Nick Clegg’s party to quit the cabinet and join Labour in a fight against rightwing Tory policies. The story was broken in today’s Observer and you can read it in full here.
The list of problems with the referendum meanwhile could fill my entire blog and requires much lengthier analysis but to my mind it should never have been held at the same time as the local elections. It is entirely separate issue to these and should have been fought as such.
Tom Clark provides analysis on the AV referendum in the Politics Weekly Show a weekly political podcast produced for the Guardian. You can hear it in full here.
The local elections and referendum didn’t leave much room for other news, but I was delighted to read about the Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards 2011.
Seven women at the forefront of science, engineering and technology were honoured last week at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.
The awards recognise the achievements of women who are ‘an inspiration to others.’ Their portraits will be displayed in the halls of leading scientific professional bodies and academic institutions. You can see them here with a short biography of each woman.