Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Are You 'AV-ing a Laugh?

In what can only be described as a pathetic election ploy and nothing more, Gordon Brown has announced his desire for a national referendum on replacing the British first past the post (FPTP) electoral system with the alternative vote (AV) system used in places such as Australia.

It seems to be a continual tactic of the Labour party to try and back the Tories into a corner by trying to announce another fix-all policy and when the opposition sensibly point out the pitfalls of such crackpot ideas they are accused of regaling on their promise to be the 'party of change'. This time Brown has gone too far and his attempt at electioneering is plain for all to see. Labour have had nearly 13 years to instigate such radical change with more commanding majorities (thanks to FPTP) so why wait till now? Well as I was taught in A-Level politics, this is the classic sign of a dying government.

I mean, just think what AV would mean electorally for Labour. They would undoubtedly pick up a lot of '2nd' votes from Lib Dem supporters as well as from the Greens and other parties on the left. Meanwhile the Tories would most likely only pick up such 'sloppy seconds' from parties on the right such as UKIP.

I'm not here to necessarily defend FPTP and I'll admit it has disadvantages but, then again, so does AV and all electoral systems. If there was a 'perfect formula' then all democracies would be using it by now.

I do believe though that the advantages of FPTP will become prevalent in 2010. If David Cameron achieves a healthy majority come May then the Conservatives will be able to lead Britain back to growth unencumbered by the desperate politics of New Labour.