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Friday, October 02, 2009

The passion of Gordon Brown?

According to the Guardian, the Prime Minister will campaign “passionately” in favour of a move to the alternative vote system if a referendum on electoral reform goes ahead. They report on an interview last night in which Mr Brown committed the party to back this system because he believes that it is fairer than the “first-past-the-post” system currently in use. Asked whether he “passionately” believed in and would be “urging people to vote for” the electoral reform, Mr Brown replied: “Yes I will”.

Maybe it is because I am a Liberal Democrat that I find this so bizarre. In actual fact the Alternative Vote system barely registers as a fairer system than the one that we are using currently. It actively reinforces the position of the bigger parties and produces a significantly less proportional result than other forms of PR.

But if Gordon Brown is so passionate then why has he waited so long to act? Could it be that he faces imminent defeat at the polls? Labour have had a commitment to reform since 1997. They do not need a referendum, just a manifesto pledge. The more that one examines the PM's words the more that it looks like an attempt to triangulate his position to prevent Labour voters deserting them for the Liberal Democrats.

There is no principle in these words, there is no chance of reform in the route that Labour are taking, there is no fairness in the proposed system and the only passion is the desire to hold onto power. Labour are a busted flush and their proposed new voting system is a red herring that does not even command the support of the majority of their MPs.
I'm fairly sure he originally promised a referendum on polling day. And now "in the next term". Seems he can't even organise a press stunt properly.
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