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Voting Yes But Say NO

Apparently changing our electoral system will make MP’s work harder, be more honest and clean up politics. Here are the list of the politicans, think tanks and organizations who are stretching the truth with their support of AV:

Party Leaders

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg, Deputy PM & Leader – “a miserable little compromise thrashed out by the Labour Party”:

The Lib Dem leader said that he wanted the AV-plus system recommended by Lord Jenkins’s 1998 report for Tony Blair on voting reform, which would retain MPs’ constituency links but deliver a result that was more proportional to the number of votes cast.

Nick Clegg (again) – “Speaking in the Commons: The timid option of Alternative Vote”:

So will the Prime Minister now call a referendum, this Autumn, to give people a choice? A choice between the bankrupt system we have now. The timid option of Alternative Vote, a baby step in the right direction. And serious proposals for reform like Roy Jenkins’ AV+ or better still the Single Transferable Vote?

Chris Huhne, Sect of Energy & Climate Change – “…the alternative vote does not give voters enough power”

Chris Huhne (second time) – The Alternative Vote is not the solution:

The electoral system would continue to be like an ill-fitting corset attempting to squeeze all the diverse strands of opinion in our society into an inappropriate and deeply uncomfortable shape.

Instead, we need a parliament that properly represents our country in all its argumentative glory. Only when the Commons becomes an honest reflection of our people – not a fairground distorting mirror – will we be able to resolve the tensions and conflicts in our society.

Chris Huhne (again) -“Liberal Democrat Press Release on Changing to a REAL Fair Votes System”:

We will bring forward amendments next week to give people a real choice for a more significant change to fair votes and a proportional election system. Gordon Brown has undergone a deathbed conversion to electoral reform now that defeat is staring him in the face, but the Alternative Vote is not proportional and it does not give voters enough power over both the party and the person elected as MP.

Green Party

Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader – “a fake reform that covers its embarrassment with acronyms and jargon”:

The Alternative Vote system, still doesn’t give people an opportunity to make sure their vote counts. Indeed, AV is still slanted in favour of the bigger parties, and tends to exaggerate large swings. If we’re really being democratic, we should be focusing on delivering what the voters want.

Caroline Lucas (again) – “I’m desperately disappointed that the zeal for opening up this place so people’s voices really count, by introducing some form of proportional representation, has been lost”

Caroline Lucas (yet again) – “…in the referendum planned for May 2011, we will be offered the “choice” between two flavours of vanilla – first-past-the-post or the Alternative Vote”:

Real reform is not on the agenda. That’s why, as MPs start the second reading of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill on 6 September,

I am tabling an amendment that would rewrite the referendum question to allow people to choose from a wider range of voting systems, including properly proportional options such as the additional member system (used in elections for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Greater London Assembly) and the single transferable vote (used in Northern Ireland). As the Labour leadership battle narrows in favour of the Miliband brothers, I challenge them, even at this late stage, to support my amendment, to demonstrate their commitment to both pluralism and democracy.

Caroline Lucas (still going) – Speaking in the House of Commons on Second Reading of AV:

Because it is hugely disappointing that AV is the only alternative to first past the post contained within this bill – a bill which as a result fails to live up to the promise of genuine reform and reengaging people with the political process.

Caroline Lucas (when will it end) – Interview in the Telegraph:

Nick Clegg. Had he demanded a referendum on proportional representation as part of the Coalition deal, he could have handed her real power. She was in her office near Brighton station when she heard he had settled for the less progressive alternative vote system instead. “Total betrayal,”.

Caroline Lucas (is this Deja Vu?) – Quoted in The Independent:

There should be a referendum before the end of the year which includes options for a genuinely proportional system not the self-serving system of AV which is even less proportional. The people should be asked what voting system they would prefer. That is proper democracy.

Caroline Lucas (hopefully stops soon) – In the Independent (again):

The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, said AV was a “small step” in the right direction but “won’t transform politics, and it won’t open up the House of Commons to diverse voices”.

Caroline Lucas (does it end now?) – On Ekklesia:

There should be a referendum before the end of the year which includes options for a genuinely proportional system, not the self-serving system of AV, which is even less proportional. The people should be asked what voting system they would prefer. That is proper democracy

Labour

Ben Bradshaw, Head of Labour Yes campaign -“The reason I’ve never supported AV is that…”

…it would have given us an even bigger majority in 1997, and it would have given the Tories an even bigger majority in 1983, and probably 1987 as well.” He is full of praise for Lord Jenkins’s proposed alternative of AV+. “The system I favour, which is Jenkins’s . . . was a brilliant synthesis of systems that both maintain the constituency link, which I value, and introduce a greater element of proportionality. As we’ve got that [report] why continue to reinvent the wheel?” He goes on to argue: “If one of the reasons that we want reform is to rebuild public trust and confidence in politics, make MPs more accountable, give more power to people and establish a political and parliamentary system that more reflects the will of the public, then AV doesn’t deliver that.”

The Guardian

Editorial – Alternative Vote: Loved by No One:

So the mood among the political classes is underwhelming. AV is loved by no one, and distrusted by many.

The Observer

Editorial – Our voting system needs a radical overhaul:

AV still doesn’t allocate parliamentary seats in line with the parties’ national share of the vote. A better system is the single transferable vote, where voters also give numerical preferences, but a number of seats are awarded per constituency.

Unlock Democracy

Peter Facey, Chair of Unlock Democracy and Chair of Yes to Fairer Votes – BBC Reported :

The AV system, whilst offering the voter greater choice, is not proportional and a mere baby step in the face of the widening chasm between voter and politician, Parliament will remain as unrepresentative and subsequently unresponsive as ever.

Unlock Democracy position on AV+ and AV:

AV alone would not be broadly proportional and would be a backwards step democratically – failing to remedy many of the present system’s faults, and in some cases even worsening them. Only AV+ would be the democratic step forward – thus it must be supported.

James Graham, Campaigns and Communications Manager, Unlock Democracy – Who will fight for Electoral Reform?:

Over the last ten years of Labour’s repeated botched and abandoned attempts to reform the political system, it is hard to get excited by this sudden reformist zeal for a system which isn’t that earth-shattering itself.

The Electoral Reform Society
Dr Ken Ritchie, former CEO of the Electoral Reform Society – Move to AV ‘Negligence’:

… at a time when our democratic institutions are in crisis a move to AV would be nothing short of negligence..People are looking for choice and accountability at elections, with a vote that might actually count. That simply won’t happen with AV”

Dr Ken Ritchie (again) – Society warns of Brown’s Hobson Choice:

With a referendum on AV, Brown’s Choice would be too much like Hobson’s Choice – whichever way you vote, it’s business as usual at Westminster.

The Electoral Reform Society website – Disadvantages of AV and Society’s View:

AV is not a proportional system, the Society does not regard it as suitable for the election of a representative body, e.g. a parliament, council, committees, etc

The Electoral Reform Society (again) – Kiwi’s face their own electoral reform referendum:

The Government wants to offer us a referendum on whether we elect MPs using AV or our present ‘first-past-the-post’ system. But they will not give us the option of choosing a much better system, such as STV which would give us the advantages of AV and also a more representative parliament.

The Electoral Reform Society (pattern emerging) – AV system would have had a minimal impact:

The ERS said their modelling results show that AV would have proved a very modest reform at this election with second preference votes having a minimal impact.

I Support AV.co.uk

Anthony Butcher, Take Back Parliament member and runs ISupportAV.co.uk:

The Alternative Vote system is a waste of time. They just hope that Lib Dem voters will put Labour as their second choice, thus keeping more Labour MPs in.

Power 2010

Pam Giddy, (now chair of Yes to Fairer Votes) Power 2010 supports Yes to Fairer Votes:

Proportional representation has to be fundamental to any deal … If Nick Clegg walks away from that the sense of disappointment will be palpable. The voters have not given an unconditional pass to Downing Street to any one party. They want them to get together – electoral reform is part of that.

Pam Giddy, (again) in the Independent:

Gordon Brown would deny the public the chance to vote for proportional representation and restrict the choice to the Alternative Vote, a system hand-picked by ministers which allows voters to rank candidates but would do nothing to end the unfairness in the current system.

Pam Giddy, (yet again) – in Progress magazine:

Without troubling the public for their views he has hand-picked a voting system which will not really offer more choice to voters or open up the political system.

Pam Giddy, (one more time) - BBC Reported:

We are in the midst of a political and financial crisis – will these reforms [Labour’s AV] deliver an accountable Britain?

Take Back Parliament

Guy Aitchson, spokesman for the group who predate Yes to Fairer Votes:

The bottom line in the negotiations has to be change to the voting system. Polls have shown there’s two-thirds support for proportional representation – there is a hunger for a new politics.

Academics

Dr Matt Qvortrup, trumpeted by Labour Yes Campaign for reasons why they should support AV said of FPTP:

At a time of economic crisis, when people are calling for clear leadership and direction, it would be foolish to abolish a system that carries out these functions. For, as Laski rightly put it 60 years ago, “it is the great merit of our system that, as a general rule, it has usually, at any rate since 1832, been successful in maintaining those purposes”. There are many things that could be changed in our political system, but to abolish the very thing that works, would be ill-advised.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2011 4:12 PM

    Of course we know that the press will likely find fault with any system. That’s been the experience in Canada where they have lined up against any change to the status quo – often by arguing for some other system than the one on offer.

    However, AV is a step in the wrong direction, being often less proportional than first past the post. Moreover, AV supporters actually tout its ability to shut our smaller parties as an advantage (adds stability and prevents “radicals” from winning seats)!

    The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats should be ashamed of proposing this pig of a system. And the ERS should be doubly ashamed for even considering it as a viable option.

Trackbacks

  1. Voting Yes But Saying NO « Vote NO To AV
  2. March For Hyperbole | Political Pundits

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