LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott – AV is not the only vote

Over at The Guardian’s Comment is Free website, former Conservative, now Liberal Democrat, MEP Edward McMillan-Scott argues there should be a third option in the coming referendum on electoral reform – the single transferable vote. Here’s an excerpt:

I understand that the Electoral Reform Society and senior Liberal Democrats have concluded that the alternative vote option presented in the coalition agreement is the best that can be achieved at this stage and that any discussion on the issue will cloud the debate. …

Single party advantage has no part to play in what amounts to a change of constitutional significance. Westminster has been in a mire and is too self-regarding. Over the weekend, reading the commentators online in print and in the media the consensus is for real change, not partisan politics. The best is not the enemy of the good; the best is best and the best is STV.

You can read Edward’s article in full here.

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7 Comments

  • Stephen Wellington 5th Jul '10 - 4:26pm

    Won’t this just result in the pro-reform vote being split between AV and STV? And therefore FPTP winning?
    Or am I missing something?

  • Stephen: quite. It really needs to be STV or FPTP, if it’s to be a reasonable referendum. Concentrating the ‘no’ vote into one option gives it an unfair advantage just because of the voting system (something the Tories know all about 😉

  • Andrew Suffield 5th Jul '10 - 8:01pm

    Or you could even run two questions on the ballot paper, as “Change the voting system Y/N” and “Which system do you prefer?”

    As long as you only ask 2-option questions that give unambiguous answers, it’s legitimate.

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 6th Jul '10 - 1:58am

    “The best is not the enemy of the good; the best is best and the best is STV.”

    Absolutely- as D Miliband has also proposed (in the Staggers debate).

    ‘only AV’ was merely a gesture that matched the Labour manifesto and secured compliance in a government of excessive ideological austerity rather than simple fiscal probity.

    STV on the referendum ballot paper would have actually been a real concession from Dave to Nick

    Which is why Nick never got it :-0

  • George Kendall 6th Jul '10 - 10:38am

    There are two disgraceful faults with First Past The Post:
    (1) it forces people to vote tactically, in order not to waste their vote
    (2) it is producing a disproportionate parliament that doesn’t represent the way people voted

    Although AV doesn’t fix the second, it does fix the first. It would be a big step forward, but the arrayed ranks of the right-wing media will do their utmost to prevent it happening.

    I’m all for Edward McMillan-Scott and others continuing to campaign for STV, as long as, in doing so, they don’t undermine the case for AV. The best isn’t always the enemy of the good, but it can be.

  • I’m still not convinced that STV is even desirable for the House of Commons (AV+ I’d be more inclined on, though STV for the Lords no problem).

    There’d be zero chance to win a STV referendum right now… MAYBE after we’ve had a couple of successful coalition governments (which are a virtual certainty under STV, whilst only slightly more likely under AV), but now, 0, zilch, dream on.
    So AV might not be perfect, but it IS an improvement (MPs elected with 50+% of at least partial support, end of full tactical voting) and people who think they can get STV (or probably even AV+) without it first are delusional.
    If they refuse to support AV at the referendum, they’ll bury the electoral reform debate for decades as any time they’ll raise the issue, whoever is in power will just point to the failed AV referendum as proof that the public has no appetite for change.

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