Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Yes or no ? Is that democracy ?
The BBC has this graphic for its summing up of the arguments on the AV Referendum. Clearly the pencil has more than two faces but only two are available to the voter - yes or no. The graphic so neatly sums up the problem with First Past the Post that I'm surprised the Director-General Mark Thomson didn't ban it as the BBC banned the use of the word "Reform".
Caroline Lucas was of course right in seeking to amend the referendum into a preferendum with a choice of voting systems. She was wrong to blame Liberal Democrat MPs for not supporting her, as she know that the combined weight of the Tory and Labour dinosaurs would not have permitted such a choice to the electorate. LibDem MPs were confined to the AV option by the coalition agreement. Could we have got more from the Tories ? I wonder. What about Labour ? With the exception of Ed Miliband (who gave a remarkably honest interview to the trivial, point-scoring, ever interrupting Humphries this morning) and a few other Labour politicians, the Labour Party has once again shown itself dishonest and opportunistic. Blair's first broken promise was his refusal to put the Jenkins Commission's report to a referendum. Now many Labour politicians led by the despicable Reid, Prescott, Blunkett and Beckett are campaigning against AV, which they promised in their own General Election manifesto. Make no mistake. If the answer tomorrow is "NO" they will bear the blame as much as any self-seeking Tory.
The conclusion: you can't trust politicians to set the rules by which we are governed. The UK needs a Constitutional Convention, just as the Scots had before.