Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Hypocrisy: 1, Cameron: 0

Don't you just love it when some of our favourite politicians are found to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth. David Cameron has been banging on about the unfairness of electoral reform and making largely unfounded claims about alternative candidate voting systems.

In brief, the Tories are all for sticking with the current first-past-the-post system (FPTP) and are against the government-backed alternative vote system (AV). Oh, and they are most definitely against the Lib Dem backed single-transferable vote system (STV), which is the only proportional system of the three.

However, Michael Crick of the BBC reports that, if the Tories had used FPTP in electing their current leader, we'd be more likely talking about "future prime minister Davis" than "future prime minister Cameron". It turns out that Cameron received only 28% of the party's first preference votes, while David Davis received 31%. It was only in subsequent rounds, which would not exist under FPTP, that Cameron overtook his party rivals. Priceless!

Any talk of the negatives of truly proportional representation (weak governments, unstable administrations etc.) are not only incorrect and misleading, but they are also irrelevant. If we are to have a representative democracy then we should have a representative and proportional system of allocating seats to parliament. That the UK is the ONLY country in Europe to use a straightforward FPTP system speaks volumes about how overdue electoral reform actually is. Although, AV is only a small step towards a proportional system, it is at least in the right direction.


Emmett Quanne said...

You make a good point regarding Cameron's double speak but it might be worth pointing out this Labour Government's motivation for the proposed change in electoral practice.

Spy Wednesday said...

That's very true. And what's worse, the Labour-proposed AV system is so far from being proportional it's not even funny. Although the Lib Dems would be clear beneficiaries of a STV system, the are still the only ones speaking honestly about electoral reform. I hope that this small change does get through and that it will leave door open for future improvements. We shall see!