Where next on electoral reform?

There are already plenty of post-mortems on the AV referendum result. I don’t propose to add much to that growing body of discussion. In fact, Mark Thompson has already said most of what I would want to say on the topic. And he’s said it better. Not for the first time. The one comment I wanted to add is that it is extraordinary how widely it is being reported that the referendum result indicates the British people have rejected electoral reform.

What’s interesting is precisely where we go next. Read more of this post

AV, extremism and the median voter

Much of the debate between advocates of #Yes2AV and #No2AV is not exactly edifying, particularly some of the tactics employed by the latter group. The quality of some of the debate is pretty feeble. Yesterday’s Question Time was a classic example of an occasion where the topic was raised but the discussion generated more heat than light.

One of the issues that’s attracted a lot of attention is whether a move from First Past The Post to the Alternative Vote will benefit extremists or not. The #No2AV campaign is adamant that it will, while the #Yes2AV campaign is equally certain that the change will have the opposite effect. That the BNP are not in favour of AV is taken as an indication that it is less likely to assist extremists. As I understand it, the BNP’s position is based on a preference for a more proportional system. That at least makes some sense – I’m not sure that either AV or FPTP really offers them a great deal.

This got me thinking about the venerable idea associated with the median voter theorem, which was popularised by Anthony Downs in the 1950s. Read more of this post

Making the coalition work, seeking electoral reform

In  Self-denying … and self-defeating I offered some alternative readings of why the LibDems seemed to be willing to concede so much ground to the Tories, and what the consequences might be for the chances of success in the AV vote.

In response to the version posted over at Liberal Democrat Voice a further possible reading of the situation was offered. Nick Clegg’s overriding priority is to demonstrate that coalition government can work. The aim is to show that coalition can deliver strong, pluralist government with a clear sense of direction, rather than being dysfunctional and expending much energy on bickering and in-fighting. This will demonstrate to the electorate that they can safely vote yes in an AV referendum without fear of a paralysis of leadership. I’ve been thinking about this. Read more of this post

Self-denying … and self-defeating?

[Originally posted on Liberal Democrat Voice, 21/10/10]

It may have been a “miserable little compromise” back in April but AV would now appear to be the big prize. The coalition has to hold together, whatever the cost, at least long enough to allow a vote on electoral reform. But will the way we get from here to there impact significantly upon what happens when we get there?

Only those on the inside know what’s actually happening, but there are many competing readings of how things are playing out coalition-wise.

Read more of this post