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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peter Hain on vote reform

Former Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain is half right when he tells this morning's Western Mail that Labour should support electoral reform in next year's referendum. The idea that they should do so to drive a wedge between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories is though misguided and misplaced.

What a number of Labour people do not seem to have grasped is that the coalition is here for the long term, that both sides understand there will be differences of opinion and that we are mature enough to deal with those and move on, even if it does mean legislating to put in effect the will of the British people contrary to the views of many Tories.

Nevertheless, Mr. Hain has shown an understanding of the situation that seems to elude many of his other colleagues. He says:

“We can’t, however, just be a party of protest. We will support people struggling for their jobs, but we have got to have a credible alternative again for government.

“Being seen to be a leading force in the AV referendum is a very important part of it, because the Tories don’t want it, and it would be a great victory for the progressive cause in British politics.

“It would cause big tensions in the coalition, whereas if it was lost – this idea the Liberals would pull out is moonshine.”

He is right that this is a progressive reform, presumably that is why Labour had it in its manifesto. What is incomprehensible to me is that many in that party seem to want to campaign against their own manifesto commitment, just because they lost the election and have been thrown out of office.
It's potentially less proportional than FPTP. How is that progressive?
I think you mean next next years's referendum Peter.

But nevertheless if your government insist on lumping seat disttibution in this Bill (and as you must aknowledge. The draft example from the ERS is crazy). then this gives Labour an excuse to oppose it. Myself I will carry on campaigning for STV as you and your party should
No, it is more proportional than FPTP and it is progressive because it requires an MP to work hard for 50% plus of the vote and reduces the number of safe seats.

The referendum will not be on the equalisation of constituencies so otehr considerations will not come into it. People will be asked to vote entirely on AV so there is no excuse for Labour or anybody else.

I will also carry on campaigning for STV but if there is a 'no' vote on AV then it becomes even more difficult to achieve. AV is a first step. You should not cut off your nose to spite your face.
I have no problem with the equalisation of constituencies, that surely is sensible. I do, however, have a problem with the reduction of MPs at a time where federally we're one of the most under represented states in the world and are growing at some rate! I know it ended up in the Lib Dem manifesto but can't recall it coming through conference as I would certainly voted against such a backwards move... Stinks of populism (MPs are unpopular so lets have less of them?).
Glad to see you amended “in next week’s s referendum” to “in next year's referendum”. But it would have made my comment make more sense if you had acknowledged the error.

“AV is a first step. You should not cut off your nose to spite your face”.

If AV is passed then we will not see another referendum for decades if ever.

If you are in favour of STV then at least encourage your MPs to vote to amend the Bill accordingly. If they fail, well vote for the Bill but at least show some principles.
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