Thursday, 17 March 2011


Would a turkey vote for Christmas or Thanksgiving? I really have my doubts. Therefore it is hardly surprising that so many of our politicians of all party persuasions are dead set against AV (the Alternative Voting System). After all many of them are in seats which the present first-past-the-post system preserves but which under the AV system would probably mean a different result and a loss of seat for them.

For years now we have been run by political parties which have a majority in the House of Commons but which don’t have a majority of the votes cast. Under the new system a candidate will require 50% of the total vote to win the seat. If no candidate succeeds then the second preference votes will be allocated from the least successful candidates until one of the candidates has obtained the necessary 50%. Whilst this system is not ideal it is a far fairer way of electing members of Parliament.

The turnout at General Elections has often been pathetic with many people opting not to vote. One of the reasons for this could be that in many constituencies there seems little point in voting. One or other of the parties has such a stranglehold that it is impossible to unseat them. I remember some one said to me years ago that in Constituency x if they put a blue cabbage it would be elected (for blue cabbage read red cabbage/yellow cabbage). With the AV system there would be a good chance that predictable safe seats would no longer be that. And that would be good for democracy.

As John Richardson points out on his blog “The Ugley Vicar” the General Synod of the Church of England have used this system for some time now and, of course, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats elect their Leader using AV and it is in use in many other countries and institutions. I hope that come 5th May the people of this country will vote for the AV system of voting to inaugurate a new system of voting, fit for the 21st Century.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, Father, it's not true proportionality. AV isn't really the solution, it's just less-bad than the present one. My fear is that, if we get AV at the next election, the idea of full proportional representation will be forgotten for a generation or more. I'd rather have three more Westminster Parliaments moving to an Open List, or at least a Single Transferable Vote (already used in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland) Parliament thereafter, than an endless succession of AV Parliaments with no real proportionality in sight.