What’ll an EdM victory do to the AV debate?

What’ll an EdM victory do to the AV debate?


Could the FPTP winner lose to the least unpopular?

Just on the boat sailing back from Spain and we have internet access at last. Online again after more than 20 hours – how did I cope??

A key political moment when everybody returns from their holidays will be on the afternoon of Saturday September 25th when the results of Labour’s prolonged leadership contest are announced.

This could be important not just for the opening of a new chapter in the movement’s history but for what it could do the AV debate. For that’s the system under which the election is being fought and if, as is possible, the FPTP winner doesn’t get elected could provide a vivid demonstration of how voting systems can change outcomes.

For there must be a reasonable chance that the contender who secures most first preferences on the first round (the FPTP winner) could fail to take the crown. Instead it could go to the contender in the final two who is the least unpopular.

That’s what happened the last time this process was used by Labour in 2007 when Ms Harman was elected deputy.

My guess is that if EdM does edge past his brother in this way then it will become a reference point for the whole AV referendum debate. This is not just an abstract concept but something that will be shown to have made a difference.

Labour, of course, is not just electing a new leader here but choosing the alternative PM and, no doubt, the advocates of change will start referring to the AV process as “Labour’s system”.

I should add that I am opposed to AV and if there is a referendum will probably vote no.

Mike Smithson

Comments are closed.