29 November 2010

The Conservatives are Content With AV

Let's remember the events that led to the choice of a referendum on AV:

- Coalition negotiations opened between the Tories and the Lib Dems.

- The Lib Dems have longed for a change to a fairer PR voting system and were hesitant about doing a deal without a commitment to electoral reform.

- To try and secure cooperation with the Lib Dems, the Tories offered a referendum on AV.

- While it was not what the Lib Dems really wanted (AV is not PR), it was enough to win them round and enter the Coalition.

This is telling - given that it was the Conservatives who picked AV instead of a PR system, they have shown that they would be content with AV. If the Tories were against all electoral reform, they would have given a referendum on PR to guarantee the backing of the Lib Dems.

AV is not the ideal system for the Tories, and nor is it ideal for the Lib Dems. The No2AV campaign are arguing that AV is the system that nobody really wants, which is accurate. But AV is a system that people from both sides are more content with.

Similar splits of feeling exist across other parties. Labour has a faction who want to keep the existing system, and a faction who favour PR. They promised a referendum on AV in their manifesto as they recognised it as a compromise between these two factions. UKIP are similarly split.

So bear this in mind when you cast your ballot: do you want to give one faction exactly what they want, whilst giving the opposite faction exactly what they don't, or do you want to give both factions something that both sides are content with?

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