Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Sun Says... on AV

Today's Sun poll shows that although there is already a majority against it, opposition is greater once the details are spelled out.
So let The Sun explain again why AV is such a risk.
It would mean dumping our traditional first-past-the-post system for a mind-boggling set-up where losers could become winners.
Mind-boggling = a system that Australians manage just fine, and is a variation of STV which lots of countries manage just fine
It could open the door to extremists. It would end strong party government and usher in permanent coalitions. 
It would spell the end of strong policies and condemn us to half-baked compromises. 
No, it won't open the door to extremists. It might open the door to the sort of parties that aren't liked at dinner parties, but hardly extremists. The only way extremists can win is if the majority of people want extremists, unlike FPTP where extremists could win with around 1/3rd of the vote (if the mainstream parties split).
As for "strong government", well good. Strong government does some downright fucking stupid things because they can, because they have enough careerist footsoldiers that even if they get some rebels, will still win. And to paraphrase Mark Wadsworth, compromise would actually be good as rather than wrenching from one government to the next, we'd see government shift slightly at elections. Most of Europe runs just fine on coalitions (except Belgium which has its own unique problems about being two peoples).
It would squeeze out conviction politicians in favour of duds whose only talent was for clinging to office.
Oh, get real. There's maybe half a dozen MPs I'd count as conviction politicians: Kate Hoey, Frank Field, John Denham and IDS (more suggestions welcome). The rest are careerist little bastards doing anything to climb the greasy pole of power.
In fact, AV is more likely to give you conviction politicians, because people don't have to climb the party ladder for years, don't have to keep their nose clean with the grandees. They can just appeal to the people on a policy forum and if enough people like them, can get elected. That's how the One Nation Party shook things up in Australia, standing on the sort of ticket that Sun readers would quite like (anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism).

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