Monday, February 21, 2011

The unavailability of loaves is no argument against taking half a slice

Max Atkinson is scathing about David Cameron's speech opposing AV -

"you may, like me, come to the conclusion that Cameron's case against AV actually amounts to a rather powerful argument for a more proportional voting system than AV (e.g. STV) - in which case one wonders why he's bothering to oppose what could be a first serious step in that direction."

If Steve Norris' line of argument on 10 O'Clock Live last week was at all typical (although admittedly Norris is rarely typical of anything), the Tories seem to be rather brazenly asking "if you want proper electoral reform, why on earth choose AV of all things?".  Which would be fair enough, if the possibility of choosing any other type of electoral reform hadn't been blocked by...the Conservative Party.  A referendum on AV alone was "a final offer, to go the extra mile" - weren't those Mr Hague's words?  Of course, the Liberal Democrats are equally culpable for settling for the prospect of such a modest reform (it is, of course, mere coincidence that they are just about the only smaller party that would stand to benefit under AV), but really the charge against the Tories on this issue is the same as the one against all three unionist parties on the Scottish constitutional question - if you're so sure you're on the right side of the argument, why are you so afraid of giving the public a proper choice?  Until you do, it's utterly absurd to suggest that reformers shouldn't be grabbing the few scraps that are actually on the table.

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