Don't worry, I haven't lost my marbles and paid the Murdoch Levy, but courtesy of ConHome I've been reading a little snippet of the former Tory Chancellor's bizarre rant in the Times about AV. Or at least, he seems to earnestly believe it's about AV...
"Under AV we would have permanent coalitions and institutionalised breaking of election promises. Politicians, not voters, would decide which parties were to form the government. In Britain, we don’t have to demonstrate in public squares. People vote and the government is out. AV would make it more difficult for voters to summon up the removal van and kick the government out. AV would change the nature of elections, which would become high on rhetoric, low on policies. Party manifestos would become meaningless, full of “aspirations”"
Memo to Lord Lamont and the Tory party : if you really want to spend the next two-and-a-half months going off on one about what a God-awful idea proportional representation is, it might have been an idea to actually hold a referendum on proportional representation. Not a single one of those gripes has the slightest relevance to AV, which is a majoritarian voting system every bit as much as the current one is. To be sure, it's a somewhat better majoritarian system, in that it empowers the voter more and doesn't produce such perverse results in individual constituencies, but it's a majoritarian system nonetheless. It doesn't particularly make coalitions more likely, and the idea that it would produce perpetual coalition is in the realms of fantasy. More's the pity, in a lot of ways, but there it is.
Which leaves only one question to be answered. Are we witnessing delusion, or pretence?