Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mebyon Kernow leader backs Yes to AV

I'm encouraged to read on his blog that Councillor Dick Cole, leader of the Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow, is strongly supporting a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on electoral reform.  MK is an ally of the SNP and Plaid Cymru in the European Free Alliance, and like its Scottish and Welsh counterparts is firmly in the social democratic, civic nationalist mould.

"I say this because it is my strong view that the present First Past the Post system does not work as part of a 21st century democracy. I fully support a more proportional voting system (PR) and recognise that AV is not PR, but I do see this reform as a step in the right direction. At the present time across the UK, the vast majority of parliamentary constituencies are safe seats and the main political parties pour disproportionate resources into a small number of marginal seats...

Politics is also becoming increasingly pluralistic with more and more political parties entering the fray, but the electoral system has not caught up. In modern parliamentary contests, as I know from experience, great pressure is brought to bear on people to vote tactically to stop certain political parties from winning. I feel that this distorts political debate and often derails serious consideration of the issues that really matter to communities throughout the UK. AV will eliminate tactical voting, allowing voters to always support their first-choice candidate." 

In a Scottish context, this of course means an end to Labour's false - but all too often persuasive - argument that only a vote for them in Westminster general elections can keep the Tories out.  In future, voters will be able to simply say "no problem, I'll give you my second/fourth/seventh preference, ahead of the Tories".

By my reckoning, all three leaders of the nationalist parties in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall are now supporting a Yes vote, albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm.


  1. He's right. The UK voting system was designed for the Whigs and the Tories. Like most of the governmental systems of the UK, it is 200+ years out of date.

  2. Absolutely, Tris - even a few decades ago, 95% of MPs were elected by an absolute majority of their constituents. Now it's only about 33%.