Mr Farage admits AV is not the real deal

 

               It was interesting to hear Mr Farage on Any Questions arguing that Yes to AV is a step on the way to a fairer voting system. I doubt his support will tip the balance in favour of AV. Once again UKIP will bang the drum and exhort its troops, but may only  demonstrate it cannot win a referendum any more than it can win seats at  a General Election.  

               It is difficult to understand UKIP  logic in  preferring AV. I cannot see any  seat in the country where AV would have given the job of MP to a UKIP candidate after AV recounts. Maybe UKIP  hopes more people would give their first preference vote to UKIP,  in the knowledge they could  vote Conservative as second choice to avoid a federalist Labour or Lib Dem winning.  If this strategy had any degree of success it would simply split the Eurosceptic vote more than it is already, making it more likely the federalists would get past the 50% threshold first as other candidates second and third preferences were counted. If UKIP was at all successful in lifting its first preference votes under AV then  of course it is less likely those voters’ second preference would be decisive or even come into play, depending on how split the rest of the votes were. If the aim is to win more second and third preference votes, on recent election performance few  of these would be valuable, as the UKIP candidate would be one of the first to be excluded for having too few first choice votes.

AV is not a proportional system, as Mr Farage acknowledges. Under AV the majority of the highest polling party might have been increased in past elections, not diminsihed. One thing for sure is AV would  not give seats to parties that come well down the poll on first preferences.

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48 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    AV will make it even harder to get decisive government and decisive government is what is needed badly.

    A lot of people will vote UKIP 1 Conservative 2 but this will make little difference in the outcome. It is the Liberals who will gain most and I would suggest it will make sensible & decisive government much harder to obtain.

  2. Peter
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    The only problem with your argument Mr Redwood is that when we do get a Conservative prime minister we still don’t get euro-sceptic policies, just more of the same old going along with the herd.

    • George Anderton
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      We may have a Conservative prime minister but we have not got a Conservative government. With Lib Dem partners there is no possible chance to do anything about the EU. This is why I cannot for the life of me understand why UKIP are supporting the Yes to AV camp. AV will almost certainly result in hung parliaments with the EU loving Lib Dems holding the balance of power. I have great sympathy with the aims of UKIP but I fear the only chance we will ever get anywhere on the EU question is to see the return of a Conservative government with a majority of EU sceptic MPs. There is evidence that the last intake of new Conservative MPs went some way to bringing that about.

  3. Duyfken
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    It is worth saying again: any blandishmetns from politicians about the merits and demerits of our voting system are likely to be tainted by self-interest:

    a) UKIP see AV as a stepping-stone to obtaining seats at Westminster. That they have probably calculated mistakenly, should be of no interest to any voter who is trying to evaluate the advantages of AV or otherwise.

    b) Most Tories and many Labour politicians advocate FPTP, but their advocacy patently stems from wanting to keep the status quo of two-party politics.

    c) The LibDems, especially in the person of Chris Huhne, can be seen as desperate for power or more power at Westminster. They originally wanted PR voting but agreed to go along with AV as the best on offer. That is hardly a ringing endorsement of the value of AV and again exhibits how self-interest is the prime motivator for them and indeed for all of the political parties.

    Of the official campaigns, the “NO’s” at least provide some fairly objective reasons for consideration, albeit all advantageous to their side, but the “YES’s” seem obsessed with parading dubious celebrities as their idea of persuading the public. That seems puerile and the plan to field Izzard is just bizarre – why should anybody find that extraordinary person as the font of all political and psephological wisdom?

    • Dave
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      “Of the official campaigns, the “NO’s” at least provide some fairly objective reasons for consideration”

      Really? I have yet to hear one.

  4. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Does this position imply that Mr Redwood is in favor of a proportional system?

  5. Helen
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    No one can know the unintended consequences of AV.

    We must always keep in mind, that Labour gave Scotland its own Parliament, because they believed it would finished the SNP and ensure that Labour remained in power there, forever. How stupid they must feel now.

    The reason that England was denied its own Parliament, is because “the Tories would always win.” [Figures show this is not true, but it is a widely held belief of the Left]

    No one believes that the democratic interests of the nation are the first consideration our politicians, but evidence surely points to the electorate not voting in the way expected of them when the game plan changes.

    If AV is introduced, then the best prediction anyone can give is, “Suck it and see.”

  6. Tim Jinkerson
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I agree, UKIP would gain nothing from AV. The vast majority of people wish to remain in Europe, and would use an AV vote to ensure that would happen. I am a Labour Party supporter, and so they would get my first choice, but I’m grown up enough to see that, if I can’t have a Labour MP, then I need to use my vote to ensure I don’t get a UKIP or BNP MP or Councillor. If that means swallowing my pride and allowing my vote to transfer to the Conservatives, then I’d be happy to do that under an AV system.

    • Simon
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      How do you know that the vast majority of people wish to remain in Europe ?

      Isn’t a referendum the proper medium for establishing such as issue of sovereignty ?

      Reply: Yes of course it is, but the electorate do not elect Parliaments that will vote for a referendum on this issue.

      • Akvavitix
        Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        “Reply: Yes of course it is, but the electorate do not elect Parliaments that will vote for a referendum on this issue”

        Actually they do or at least rather they think they are. Then said politicians renege on their “cast iron guarantee” so leaving us no choice but not to trust that party ever again and vote for somebody else next time. Mr Shameron will never be allowed to forget his treachorous lying to the public on this issue and it will come back to bite the Tory party…hard…at the next election.

        Reply: Mr Cameron told us before the last Election there would be no EU referendum.

      • zorro
        Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Maybe if ‘cast iron’ Dave had stuck to the spirit of his word on his referendum pledge, they might have had a realistic chance of doing so…..

        zorro

      • FaustiesBlog
        Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        John, how can you make that assertion? We have never been given the chance to vote for anything other than LibLabCon, via FPTP, and such issues have never been in their manifestos!

        Reply: FPTP gives you every opportunity to vote for different parties. It is just that people do not usually choose to do so. If people had wanted a referendum on the EU badly enough they would have voted for the Referendum party when that was around. Changing the way we count the votes would not have changed the fact that not enough people did want it that badly.

      • Stuart Fairney
        Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        But they did elect a parliament committed to a referendum on the Lisbon treaty as I recall as all major parties guaranteed one as a manifesto promise.

        Reply: Not so – the Conservative leadership dropped the promise of a referendum on the EU before the Election.

        • Iloathlefties
          Posted May 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          That’s why he lost 3 million Tory voters who stayed at home. As a consequence we have this monstrosity of a coalition following Lib Dem policy on all the issues that concern ex – Tory voters i.e. mass immigration, EU, foreign aid, Human Rights Act. Mr Redwood we are totally fed up being taxed and borrowing money for the benefit of foreign nationals!! Its madness.

    • sm
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      We all live in Europe? unless we emigrate. I am not so keen on a undemocratic European superstate although i am begining to wonder if it could be any worse?

      If the EU were democratic it would insist on EU referenda on its most important decisions.

      AV may just break the deadlock and force ‘another cast iron EU in/out referenda’ as a coalition dealmaker.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      To be clear, there’d be no possibility of you “allowing” your vote to transfer to the Conservatives; you’d have to give a positive direction to that effect through your ranking of the candidates on your ballot paper. If you didn’t include a candidate in your rankings then there’d be no way that your ballot paper could end up in his pile. The elector remains in control of the disposal of his ballot paper through the forward instructions he gives thereon.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      “The vast majority of people wish to remain in Europe” – this is a typical example of Labour spin – make totally unsupported statements in the hope people will believe you. The last poll I saw gave the out view a small majority but the gap was covered by the don’t knows, so in short it is finely balanced, no vast majority either way.

  7. John Moss
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    It is an oft-quoted line that Conservatives could have won seats had UKIP not stood or people voted Conservative instead, because the margin by which Conservatives lost was less than the total of UKIP votes.

    This is being put forward – wrongly – by pro-AV campaigners in an attempt to persuade Conservatives to back AV. However, one needs to look at the whole result.

    Whilst it is true that had UKIP not stood and their votes gone to a Conservative candidate under FPTP, the Conservative might have won, under AV, one needs to ask what would have happenned to the votes cast for other losers? It is likely there were more votes for Greens, Respect, Labour or Lib-Dem, than for UKIP and it is unlikely a majority of them would have gone Conservative with their second preferences. The result under AV would almost certainly be more Conservative losing to pro-federalist lefties.

    If Conservative-minded voters want to see Conservatives win, they should vote No2AV and vote Conservative, not UKIP.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Sure I’m conservative minded, but that is secondary to my hatred of all things EU. I couldn’t give a toss about the referendum AV as it totally irrelevant while parliament is subservient to Brussels. Until we have a genuinely anti-EU Conservative party then I will continue to vote for UKIP simply because I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.

  8. Bernard Otway
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    AS THE EU BECOMES A BIGGER AND BIGGER ISSUE WITH THOSE OF US WANTING OUT BEING MORE THAN 50%,WHAT IS TRUE IS THAT NONE OF THE THREE MAIN
    PARTIES DARES ADDRESS THE ISSUE,LIEBOUR AND THE LIBDEMS ARE WEDDED
    TO IT AS IT IS A LEFTIST PROJECT DEDICATED TO A MARXIST FEDERAL EUROPEAN
    STATE INITIALLY BY STEALTH AND NOW QUITE OPENLY,THE CONSERVATIVES
    EVEN THOUGH THE SCEPTICS ARE IN THE MAJORITY ESPECIALLY AT THE GRASS ROOTS LEVEL WILL NOT DO ANYTHING EITHER,ALL THE MP’s BEING TOO SCARED
    IN THE MOST OF ROCKING HIGH COMMAND’s BOAT AND DESELECTION.
    MY INSTINCT IS THAT AT THE NEXT GE THE ANTI EUROPE VOTE WILL SCARE THE PANTS OFF ALL POLITICIANS AND DELIGHT UKIP.WHY THE VOTERS IN THE WEST COUNTRY BACK THE LIBDEMS AS AN EXAMPLE I AM AT A LOSS TO UNDERSTAND BEING IN THE EU CAUSES THEM NOTHING BUT HARDSHIP
    ESPECIALLY THE FISHING INDUSTRY,AT THE NEXT ELECTION THE UKIP CANDIDATES WILL HAVE BANGED THE FISHING DRUM FOR A LONG TIME IN THESE PARTS,MOST PEOPLE THERE HAVE A CONNECTION TO THIS INDUSTRY
    GETTING FULL CONTROL BACK WILL INCREASE JOBS AND THE ECONOMY IN A BIG WAY,LIKEWISE IN SOLID LABOUR SEATS WHERE FISHING COULD MAKE A COMEBACK AND COAL MINING WHICH WITHOUT STUPID EU IMPOSED GREEN TARGETS COULD AGAIN EMPLOY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS.ALL THIS AND THE BLAME FOR THE JOB LOSSES CAUSED IS THE EU’s FAULT AND AS MUCH THEREFORE THE THREE MAIN PARTIES. RECENTLY AT BARNSLEY THERE WERE
    A LOT MORE THAN THE 2953 UKIP VOTES THAT WERE ANTI EU,AT LEAST 1500 TORY AND THE OTHER NON LIEBOUR VOTERS PLUS IN MY OPINION AT LEAST 5000 LIEBOUR VOTERS WHO ALTHOUGH TRIBALLY LIEBOUR STILL WANT OUT
    ANY CANDIDATE THERE WHO ADVOCATES COAL POWER STATIONS AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE COAL MINING INDUSTRY WILL HAVE FERTILE GROUND
    AND THE FINGER OF BLAME CAN BE LAID ON LIEBOURS DOOR AS HAVING
    ACQUIESCED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THOSE JOBS.I TALK TO AT LEAST 5 DIFFERENT PEOPLE EVERY DAY AND THAT IS WHY I KNOW THIS SHOCK IS COMING TO YOU POLITICOS AND AM GLAD ,YOU ALL NEED A SCRUFF RINGING
    PERHAPS YOU MIGHT THEN LISTEN TO THOSE WHO PUT YOU IN POWER

    • NickW
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Large blocks of text in capitals are unreadable.

      Please don’t; I would like to know what you think but I am not going to make the considerable effort to read it.

  9. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    AV is not an answer, this referendum should never have been agreed. Roy Jenkins dismissed it in his report for Blair. Equally FPTP has had its day. You are right UKIP will never win a seat in Parliament yet they are the second party in the European elections. PR means coalitions well we have got a dreadful one, totally unauthorised by the electorate and unmanifestoed. The monopoly of the the two main parties has to be broken somehow, they are undemocratic, they run the country yet more people play golf than are members.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Actually Jenkins recommended AV, but in conjunction with an arrangement for top-up MPs to achieve greater proportionality.

  10. gillig
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Imagine a referendum where you only have two choices.
    Conservative or Labour.
    Both promise a referendum on EU membership.
    Experience tells you that both parties are lying.
    Your alternative is not to vote, which makes YES to AV more likely to win.
    Yes may not give advantage to UKIP, but it shows a desire to return some honesty to politics and it’s support does UKIP credit.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Quite – well put. I’d add that many people believe the widespread hostility to AV within Conservative and Labour ranks is transparent self-interest coupled with a dog in the manger hostility to any degree of opening up the electoral system to wider choice. Many of us whose votes have for years counted as nothing in the face of the major party machines feel we have nothing to lose by trying something new – it’s difficult to see how things could be any worse than the present gang of two-and-a-half with its cosy stitched-up consensual toadying toward the EU.

  11. NickW
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The public is not going to listen to the parties on the referendum; they will work things out for themselves and vote accordingly.

  12. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    UKIP could benefit if they got a lot of second preferences, provided that the AV results were scored in a different way. Instead of eliminating the weakest candidates, enter EVERY preference of EVERY voter into a computer – 1 for a first preference, 2 for a second preference etc. The candidate with the smallest total would win. Much fairer than AV as proposed.

    There would be two problems to overcome. Firstly, a blank (for a candidate not selected at all by the particular voter) would have to be allocated a score equal to the total number of candidates. Secondly, you would need double entry of the data and automatic comparison for each ballot paper in order to eliminate errors; this is currently done for many types of survey data, so it is do-able.

    Reply: But that is not the system on offer

  13. Mark Johnston
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I have no sympathy with NF’s views (and you couldn’t possibly understand this), but the fact that UKIP might not benefit from AV adds force to Farage’s argument.
    Unlike those supporting FPTP using any specious argument to cling on to power, many of those supporting AV are doing so because it is fairer and more democratic.

    Whether they will personally benefit from it is not a relevant part of the argument for mending a broken democratic system. The fact that the No2AV campaign don’t understand this point speaks for itself.

  14. Anthony Harrison
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Your assumption, Mr Redwood, is that votes for the Conservative Party are as “Eurosceptic” as those for UKIP, a belief apparently echoed by poster John Moss, and that UKIP voters have the counter-productive effect of “splitting the Eurosceptic vote”. This claim has been made ad nauseam by outraged Tory loyalists, especially in the period immediately preceeding and shortly following last year’s election. Your own posts frequently confirm the falsity of this: your considerable scepticism about the EU and the Euro are in stark contrast to the actions of your party leadership and to Cameron’s avowed unwillingess to hold an in/out referendum and his belief that EU membership is in UK interests. Cameron’s attitude is also at odds with his party’s general membership, as surveys consistently reveal.
    I and nearly a million others voted UKIP last year because that party is genuinely Eurosceptic and the Conservative Party is not – it’s really quite simple. Naturally, the hope is that a “yes” vote for AV will encourage many more people to give UKIP their first preference vote. Many (most?) of us distrust the Conservatives so much by now, that we are not inclined to give that party a 2nd preference; “conservative minded” (cf John Moss) is as “conservative minded” does, and Conservative Party loyalists need to stop whinging about “lost votes to UKIP” and start getting very, very stroppy with their party leadership. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Reply: I have not said any such thing – merely pointing out that if UKIP think they will win seats under AV they are likely to be wrong, and if they think they can help win the referendum they may also be in for a disappointment. The Conservative party is the only one of the three main parties with Eurosceptic policies including successful opposition to the Euro in Parliament. How Eurosceptic each Conservative MP is varies as we see from EU issue votes.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Forgive me if I misunderstand, but you did write, “Maybe UKIP hopes more people would give their first preference vote to UKIP, in the knowledge they could vote Conservative as second choice to avoid a federalist Labour or Lib Dem winning. If this strategy had any degree of success it would simply split the Eurosceptic vote more than it is already..”
      I took this to mean that you consider voting Tory to be Eurosceptic. And although you suggest the Conservative Party has “Eurosceptic policies” it really is in truth difficult to square this with the attitudes & actions of the Cameron-led Conservative Party. Your posts often implicitly acknowledge this. Conservative MPs such as yourself are too uncommon to hinder the very clearly EU-philic David Cameron.
      As for UKIP you could be right about their being disappointed; but who else are we to vote for, if we want a more conservative government that rescues us from the EU? Despite what you say, it’s certainly not the Conservative Party.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      How Eurosceptic each Conservative MP is varies as we see from EU issue votes.

      And that is good enough for you is it John? What is more important to you your seat in the HoC or getting the UK out of the monsterous EU? The current Conservative leadership is NOT eurosceptic and those of you on the backbenches that are should have the guts to switch to a party with a leadership that is.

      Reply: I am looking for a way that works to change our relationship with the EU- chaning parties to one which can never win an election is not going to help do that.

      • lojolondon
        Posted May 3, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Yes, but a negative referendum definitely WILL help to do that!!
        Which we were PROMISED.
        By EVERY major party.
        Who ALL lied, and u-turned when in power.
        AS Nigel Farage predicted.

      • dan
        Posted May 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        Cowardly nonsense.
        Its all bluster, Mr Redwood.
        You and your fellow so-called Euro-sceptics should be renamed the ‘self preservation society’

  15. oldtimer
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    FPTP is under criticism because of the pronounced drift from a clear two party policy divide post WW2 to a situation today where the policy differences between the the main two parties are, on many key issues, small to non-existent. In short we live in a world of parliamentary groupthink where the major issues are waved through. European issues and the Climate Change Act are prime examples.

    This offers more scope for minor parties to strut their stuff, flip flopping their policies along the way, as the LibDems so ably demonstrate. Their complaints about the FPTP system are understandable in the circumstances. What is really missing is an effective challenge to this parliamentary groupthink. Perhaps this can only occur if there is a fracturing of present party loyalties and the establishment of new alignments based on challenges to the established groupthink.

  16. acorn
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I can’t get that excited about the voting system. Instant Run-off Voting or AV as we call it, will be a cosmetic change to a sclerotic system. Whomever gets elected will be as impotent under AV as they are under FPTP. The parliamentary system is the problem, not the electoral system. Our parliament can’t even manage to get into the electronic age of voting.

    The Public Administration Select Committee has been saying for ages, that parliament does not do what it says on the tin. If you want to change anything in UK big society, you need to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations; not a member of parliament. The select committee enquiry into the case for regulating the lobbying of ministers and civil servants, recommended: ethical enforcement through a common code of conduct for lobbyists enforced by a regulatory body; transparency, through a statutory register of lobbyists; and stronger rules to govern the “revolving door” between Government and the business world.

    However, the Government: Has not accepted the Committee’s case for a statutory register of lobbying activity. Did not accept that details of meetings between officials and outside groups should be published. Has not specified a time frame within which it will make an assessment of the industry’s progress toward effective self-regulation.

    The Chair of the Committee, Dr Tony Wright MP, said: “I am glad that the Government has accepted some of our proposals to increase the transparency of lobbying but disappointed that it has not accepted the case for a statutory register, which is where I think we shall eventually end up.”

  17. Martyn
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I applied a reality check to the AV proposal and referendum. Did it arise from the will of the people? It did not, so clearly it is probably no more than political partisans wanting to meddle with the electoral system to suit their own needs. The finest reason I can think of for voting no….
    I was intercepted by a ‘yes’ campaigner last Thursday, who asked if I would vote yes in the referendum. I said, certainly not, why on earth should I vote for candidates whom I think to be second, third or least best. I was earnestly told that all candidates are equally good people and deserving of a chance of election and it was unfair of me to only vote for one of them.
    Is that what one might call a reasoned argument for voting yes? Because if so I am clearly losing the plot in this matter. And, by the way, this actually happened to me and is not a made up tale….

  18. forthurst
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Mr Farage is by no means pitch perfect when it comes to judging the electorate: his conspicuous failure to dislodge the Tory candidate at Aylesbury on the assumption that Tories would switch to him rather than hold their noses whilst voting proved wide of the mark.

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I would like a party which:
    1. Reduced taxes radically.
    2. Left the EU completely.
    3. Introduced totally free schools on the Swedish model with profit allowed, limited companies allowed and parents given vouchers.
    4. Renovated the NHS by giving power to the doctors who are in close touch with the patients.
    5. Reformed the Welfare State, cutting it back quite drastically and standing up for marriage, work and decent working people over bludgers.
    6. Kept out of international adventures, but which retained a strong, independent military.
    7. Respected the history of this once great and decent country.

    Where can I find such a party please?

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Even while David Cameron and NO2AV have been explaining that our traditional FPTP system is by far the best, and any preferential voting system will wickedly undermine the core democratic principle of “one person, one vote”, Theresa May’s Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill has been making its way through Parliament.

    Guess how we will elect the new police and crime commissioners?

    It’s laid down in Clause 57 here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldbills/062/11062.33-39.html

    and the answer is that if there are more than two candidates the election will be through preferential voting – the same Supplementary Vote system used to elect mayors, including the Mayor of London.

    “(5) In subsection (3), “supplementary vote” means a vote capable of being given to indicate first and second preferences from among the candidates.”

  21. BobE
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    In 30 years time, when William takes over from Charles, will he just be a token head of a European Region? What will be the point? The EUSSR will be a republic, isn’t that a certainty. Kates children will never reign.

  22. Mike Fowle
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I am very uncertain about all this. I distrust the calculations of what supposedly would have happened in previous elections and what will happen in future elections. People may well vote differently under a different system – although funnily enough I don’t like tactical voting. But the argument that the current system works well is demonstrably untrue. Simply on the grounds of a more representative system, I am inclined to support a change, even though recognising that AV is deeply flawed. Incidentally, I think David Cameron deserves high praise for carrying through his promise as part of the coalition agreement to hold a referendum – compare the last government’s promises on the Euro and the Lisbon Treaty.

  23. Paul H
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    It is all very well to criticise UKIP for splitting the anti-federalist vote, but in fact it is the only party offering a clear manifesto for such a policy. Correct me if I am wrong, but David Cameron appeared almost delighted to walk away from his “cast iron” moment with the claim that ratification meant it was too late to hold a referendum on Lisbon. Complete nonsense of course – he who pays the piper calls the tune, but conservative policy seems to be to pay then say “whatever”.

  24. Peter Ruck
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    During the last 60 years Britain, on average, has entered a recession during each decade. By voting against AV I would, effectively, be voting for more of the same.

    I think I shall for AV in the probably vain hope that we shall get better government.

  25. Tom
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Two points for Mr Redwood.
    1.You refer to the the Conservatives’ “successful opposition to the Euro in Parliament”. That was ages ago because it was Gordon Brown who, for whatever reason, was against joining when he could have easily done so.
    2. While true that Mr Cameron said, in the immediate run up to the election, that there would be no referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 Conservative Head Office wrote in a reply:
    “It has been David Cameron’s view for a long time that elected
    representatives should not give up the powers they were elected to
    wield without asking the people who elected them first. In the modern
    world, where people want power and control over their lives, to deny
    them a referendum is a denial of democracy. In our Parliamentary
    democracy, it is right that Parliament decides how we are governed on
    issues such as healthcare, education and policing. But Parliament
    should not be able to give up the powers it has been granted by the
    British people without their consent.

    If every other country in the EU has already ratified and implemented
    the Treaty by the time of the next General Election, and we are faced
    with the unacceptable situation of further integration having taken
    place without people being properly consulted, such a situation would
    mean that, in the view of the Conservative Party, European
    integration would have gone too far and, of course, the new situation
    would lack democratic legitimacy. Accordingly, this would not be
    acceptable to a Conservative Government and we would not let matters
    rest there. ”

    In 2009 my MP wrote:

    “The Conservatives as they stand today are a strong, united party with solid policies across the board. During my time in parliament we have been totally consistent on Europe – we support membership, but do not support any further moves towards creating a European superstate. Indeed we have said we will fight to restore national autonomy if the European Constitution becomes law.

    All three main parties promised a referendum on the renamed Constitution in their election manifestos. The Conservatives are the only major party to have kept this promise, voting in favour of a referendum on 5th March in the House of Commons, and again on 11th June in the House of Lords. We will not follow the hypocritical example of this Government but instead will stick by our original pledge.”

    Are you surprised that so many people do not trust the Conservative party one little bit?

    • lojolondon
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Ironically, Brown was against the Euro for one reason only – to exert his authority and frustrate Blair. Arguably the only good thing he ever did in 13 years.

  26. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know whether AV will improve our democracy – but as 85.6% of our “First past the post” MPs voted in favour of Bombing a foreign land and less than 50% of the UK public think that it was a good idea should suggest that our “First past the post” system doesn’t work.

    For me – I think that AV will help improve matters and will make MPs- who feel they are in safe seats – think harder about attracting more than 50% of their constituents to vote for them – even if some of those votes are second or even third choices.

    The best MPs have nothing to worry about, so Mr Redwood will be assured of his seat at the next election, as – even if some of his constituents don’t vote for him as first choice – they will undoubtedly vote for him as second choice.

    It’s worth a try at least. And it’s worth the expense if it spares us the cost of an even more costly War in the future.

  27. lojolondon
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    John, please remember that UKIP has already affected the UK parliament, by denying Conservatives at least 20 seats. All due to Cameron not agreeing to hold a referendum which he had already promised.

    We Eurosceptics are hoping that UKIP will grow like the Finnish party did, the LibDems will shrink as they deserve, then in the next UK parliament UKIP will have the balance of power, and we all know they will have just one demand for a coalition!

    • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      As any good conservative knows, free market competitiion is a good thing and reduces complacency. The rise of the smaller Parties, whos policies are popular – such as UKIP, will give the Conservatives an incentive to pursue the Policies that will benefit the UK and not Europe whos currency is falling in value and debt is rising.

      Other smaller reform Parties – such as the Money Reform Party, are desperately needed. I do not believe that Parties such as te BNP have sufficiently wide appeal to attract any widespread support.

      But … and here’s a warning from History, if our economy should collapse – just like the Weimer Republic of Germany in the twenties did, then the BNP would be seen – incorrectly; as a viable alternative and then where will we all be.

      Therefore, AV is actually beneficial to the Conservative Party – just not to certain weak candidates who scrape in with less than 40% of the vote. MPs are mainly acting on there own self interest.

      There should also be reform regarding unelected Prime Ministers. Gordon Brown should not have walked into Downing Street without been elected to that Position. He is the man responsible for handing £200 billion to the Banks and selling off Gold at rock bottom prices. There’s another word for an unelected Leader; “Dictator”. He’s now pursuing a carreer at the IMF, with the IMF and World Banks sad record on helping Third World countries, and Gordon Brown selling out the British Public to increased debt, I’m sure he’ll fit in just fine.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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