The joys of first past the post

The joys of first past the post

This forthcoming Wednesday marks the tenth anniversary of the AV referendum when the country decided giving Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats a kicking was more important than replacing an iniquitous voting system. It was beginning of trilogy of plebiscites that have fundamentally changed the United Kingdom. The Scots on Thursday may make it a tetralogy* and soon North Ireland may make it a pentalogy.

In hindsight it may have been best if the Lib Dems had insisted on electoral reform for local government as a price for forming the coalition rather than a plebiscite on AV. There wouldn’t have been a need for a referendum for changing the voting system in local government given that several areas use non pure FPTP elections to choose their councillors.

When every vote matters turnout is higher in elections, see the higher than general election turnouts we saw in for example in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and the 2016 Brexit referendum. It would help avoid outrages like the ones seen in the tweets at top and bottom of this piece.

One party states ultimately can lead to bad governance and that helps no one. I do remain convinced that electoral reform will happen soon, after all the Conservative Party uses the exhaustive ballot to elect their leaders rather than FPTP.


*Anybody who calls a tetralogy a quadrilogy deserves to be a locked in a fridge with Piers Morgan. This is a hill I am prepared to die on.

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