Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Some people do see AV as an end in itself

"The AV has a number of advantages.

"First, it would be fairer than first-past-the-post: it would stop the kind of  'exaggerated' parliamentary majorities the Tories achieved in 1970, 1979 and 1983 on just over 40 per cent of the vote by being much less biased against the third party. Second, the AV requires winning candidates to secure a majority of votes from their constituencies which is often not the case (in February 1974, for example, nearly two-thirds of MPs won on less than half the vote.) Third, there would be no fear of a 'wasted' vote, so electors' first preferences could be more truly stated and would be a more reliable guide to their real views.

"Fourth, it would undermine the tendency of the current system to concentrate party representation on a geographical basis, either between North and South or between cities and rural areas. Fifth, it would be easier than under PR to form majority governments, though coalitions would be more likely than under the current system. Sixth, it would be easier to understand than STV and much simpler to introduce. The existing constituencies could be retained, with only the ballot paper, method of voting and counting altered. Seventh, it would be a good system for by-elections, giving a more accurate picture of public attitudes to the government's policies than the existing system. Eighth, and most important, the single-member constituency would remain. This would overcome the central democratic objections to PR and maintain local accountability to the community and to party members."

Peter Hain, "Ayes to the Left" (1995)

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