Readers of this blog will know that despite holding strong and sincere political views and believing passionately in Christian involvement in politics I am reluctant to be drawn on party-politics. I think it is the duty of those in leadership or any other kind of public role to remain as impartial as possible while still being willing to enter the debate.
The AV or Alternative Vote debate then is a tricky one to negotiate. It transcends party politics with members from all party’s on both sides of the argument.
So on one level I am freed from that side of things but as Crimperman noted in his excellent and well balanced blog on the matter it also is very hard to comment without coming down on one side of the argument. So on this issue I’ll come clean!
It may come to no surprise to anyone reading this that I am broadly opposed to the Alternative Vote system. But its not that I am necessarily opposed to electoral reform, I think there are many things that could make the vote fairer in this country. Its just I am yet to be convinced that AV is one of them.
AV is a flawed system that is just not a step a modern democracy should be taking. Yes FPTP is not perfect but we need to be careful here that we are not seeking change for the sake of change. With AV that is what we are getting. Most reformers don’t want it, but are willing to compromise for the change.
If we need a fairer system then we’d best wait for the opportunity rather than settle for a badly conceived half-measure.
Would the suffragette movement settled and been happy if only women over 50 had been offered the vote? Or if the wives of ‘gentlemen’ were allowed to go the ballot box? No and rightly so.
Of course you have to be careful about drawing lines between voting reform and civil rights, but you get the idea.
I am not opposed to reform, I am not opposed to changing the way we vote if we can come up with a truly innovative and fairer system. But AV just ain’t it. If FPTP is as unfair as its opponents say then AV is just differently unfair.
AV is a compromise, its unpopular in the few countries that use it and it is not fit for the purpose of electing the good men and women who govern this fine land.