Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Other Referendum

The most important referendum in Wales next year will be held on March 3rd - which will be about granting more power to the National Assembly for Wales. But another referendum will be held on May 5th, the same day as the Welsh General Election, (which is the proper way to describe the Assembly election). This will be about whether we replace our 'First Past The Post' system of election for the 'Alternative Vote' system at future General Elections. I thought it was wrong to have the two votes on the same day, and caused a bit of fuss be signing an EDM to that effect a few weeks ago. Too late now. Its fixed - unless something dramatic happens in their Lordship's house over the next three weeks.

Whatever, this post is about which way to vote in this referendum. I will be voting No. I remain a FPTP man. The AV system is not the fair system its supporters claim. It makes some voter's 4th or 5th vote of equal value to some voter's first vote. Lets look at what would have happened in Montgomeryshire last May. Around 41% voted for me, about 37% voted Lib Dem, and about 22% voted for the other 4 candidates. Its entirely possibly that the second preferences of all the other parties would not have given either Lembit or me the necessary 50% because they may well have voted for each other. Its possible that we would have reached 3rd, or even 4th preferences for either of us to reach the 50% mark. The winner would have been decided by some voter's 4th preference. Another disadvantage is that the count could take several days to complete. Australia is the only major country which uses this system, and it took 17 days to decide who had won earlier this summer. No wonder most Aussies want to switch back to FPTP. And of course all this counting would be another expense for taxpayers to meet.

I have accepted since the Coalition Government was formed that this referendum must be held. It was part of the deal struck between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats when the Coalition Government was formed. And a deal is a deal. But I really do think that the UK electorate will not be daft enough to do anything other than stick with First Past The Post. I will try to persuade them of this. And if there were to be a change, the Alternative Vote is absolutely not the best way to go.

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