David Cameron to campaign against Alternative Vote reform

This morning, David Miliband – leading contender for the Labour Leadership – said that he’s in favour of Alternative Vote reform.

Now the BBC reports:

David Cameron will campaign against changing the voting system, his spokesman said, in a referendum expected next May.

His spokesman said the PM would be asked his view and “clearly his view is that he’s not in favour of it”.

There’s been some ambiguity about whether Cameron being against AV constitutes him campaigning against the reform – the Prime Minister’s own spokesman doesn’t yet seem sure:

He will be campaigning against AV. I can’t predict precisely how the campaign will unfold but clearly he is going to be asked his views during that campaign and he will make them clear.

His view is that he is not in favour of it.

Last month Mr Cameron said that his role in the “no” campaign would not be an active one: “I will have other things to do as well,” he said.

Whilst the Tories supported the principle of the referendum as part of the coalition agreement, this was “without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.” Therefore the Tories are free to campaign against the outcome – AV- that their coalition partners prefer.

It seems that David Cameron’s word is his campaign, leaving the press and his party to do the rest.

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  • Everybody is entitled to their own views. I like the idea of AV myself, but I sometimes think we use the electoral system as an excuse for not thinking our policies throuh properly. To win an election we have to except people as they are not what we think they should be.

  • I am intrigued as to what will happen if we lose this referendum.

  • “Looks to me that he will say he is against AV, if asked, but not dedicate huge amounts of time or effort to the campaign.

    Given that he will have a swathe of jittery Tory council candidates to support next May that seems a perfectly reasonable approach for him to take.”

    However Nick Clegg – who equally has swathes of jittery council candidates – has chosen the opposite course of action.

    Discuss. 🙂

  • Andrea Gill 3rd Jul '10 - 9:32am

    @Hywel – our own council candidates can breathe a sigh of relief at the by election results so far though.

  • It’s going to be delicious seeing which arguments they come up with to oppose a switch to AV; even their arguments against STV are extremely weak, but against AV I can think of pretty much nothing. The only line I can foresee is ‘it aint broke, don’t fix it!’ Except that for the majority of people who didn’t vote for the MP they’ve got, it is VERY broke.

    Everybody is entitled to their own views. I like the idea of AV myself, but I sometimes think we use the electoral system as an excuse for not thinking our policies throuh properly. To win an election we have to except people as they are not what we think they should be.

    Yeah, but the electoral system really IS a very good excuse. It utterly clobbers any small parties that don’t have strong regional support. UKIP got a million votes and 0 seats. The DUP got 150k votes and 8 seats. Whether you agree with their policies or not, no democrat can look upon that as anything other than an absurd injustice.

  • Richard Hill 3rd Jul '10 - 10:15am

    @Jez The BNP got a few votes as well, AV and first past the post does stop small paties getting far more influence than they should because they hold the balance of power.

  • If the BNP got enough votes to deserve seats under a proportional system, they deserve those seats. I’m personally not so insecure about my political views that I wish to design an electoral system to keep those with whom I disagree strongly out of Parliament by force. The correct way to do things is to win the political debates.

  • Oh, and by the way, too much is made of this ‘balance of power’ argument. In order to hold the balance of power, a small party still needs to actually have a bill supported by a mainstream party to support. No mainstream party is going to put forward bills for the BNP’s more egregious policies and support them, so the BNP can’t pass their favoured laws with a handful of MPs. All they can do is support bills *already* supported by mainstream parties. If they’re supported by mainstream parties (the theory goes) they won’t be too bad in the first place.

    Of course the New Labour ‘mainstream’ party has put through some truly shocking legislation, but that’s another matter…

  • Richard Hill 3rd Jul '10 - 11:24am

    Hitlers paty was a mainstream party so the argument that mainstream parties will noy put through bad policy does not really wash with me. Human nature is a strage thing. People can change very quickly when circumstaces change. A period of famine can alter minds at a rapid rate. There are problems with democracy and trying to set up a system to try and counter these problems is not easy.

    At one time I had no respect for the House of Lords (a bunch of old gits) now I think to try and pick the wisest people in society to check the antics of a bunch of populist MPs is a good idea. I worry about what is happening there.

    When I was young and the way it was presented to me, I thoght euthanasia was a good idea and might have voted for it in a referendum. Now I am 57 I am not so sure. Going back to ancient Athens and loking at democracy and the problems with it, life is not simple. Athens is sometimes used as an example of how democracy should not be. Think more than twice before you decie what is best.

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