Tuesday, 2 February 2010

AVS: A Veritable Swindle

Gordon Brown spoke today about reforming the political theatre in favour of the people it is designed to serve. What a great idea but wasn’t that what the current political set up was designed to do as well? Some of his ideas sounded brilliant, however, we must never forget that these politicians are consummate survivalists who are currently bending over backwards to save their own necks.

Now don’t get me wrong; I have argued for change for quite a while now. Some of Mr Brown’s proposals sound appealing: An elected House of Lords, elected select committee members, basic guaranteed rights within public services, more power and control for local councils, a written constitution and at long last – a new voting system.

…except the new voting system is designed to keep all the votes within the old boys club, which is why the main political parties will want to back it.

AVS, Alternative Voting System, is designed to allow you to vote for your candidates in terms of preference. So if you want to vote Labour you pick them first. This bit is no different to the first past the post (FPP) system we have now. The new bit will be that you can choose, as a second preference, another candidate – lets say Conservative – who you would never have voted for in a month of Sundays before.

What the voting system changes is the possibility that in marginal seats, the current second place candidate could actually beat the FPP candidate winner by second preference voters because the majority of the constituents as a whole preferred the second candidate.

The illusion is that the majority voters have elected the AVS candidate either as a first or as a second choice. Does this sit right with you? I mean how many times have you heard a football fan say, “Which team do you support? Who would you support next?” Or how about “Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife? What about a bit on the side?” See my voting system by way of comparison (which incidentally I sent to the Society for Electoral Reform but they politely failed to respond; why? Because, I reckon, they have supported AVS for about 100 years).

I support a change in the voting system but I do not support AVS. I believe there should be a much broader choice of voting systems placed before the electorate and that we should allow them to choose. Is this not what Gordon Brown said about placing the power in the hand of the electorate, or is their interest only in the kind of power that the old boys clubs can still control?

Let the people decide the voting system Gordon. It doesn’t matter what you politicians prefer; it is what we the people prefer that count.

Now I know that my system only gives the voters a 99.6% first preference outcome – a mere 30% plus higher than any other voting system. It also keeps MPs within their constituencies, albeit that the constituency is bigger and it will be served by both first and second candidates. However, I know that many people will want to keep out candidates like the BNP, which my system will not guarantee. On the other hand, my system, unlike AVS will not exclude (as it is designed to do – just like FPP) the Green Party, English Heritage Party, UKIP and other grossly under represented parties.

AVS favours big political parties. It does not favour the will of the people. Yes we need electoral reform but AVS isn’t it.

No comments:

Post a Comment