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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


   In today's Herald , the lead letter
Andrew McKie’s column today in which he denounced the Alternative Vote (AV) system was strange (“Clegg dreams an impossible dream: a fair voting system,” The Herald, February 21).

For him to tell us to be grateful we aren’t living in Libya does not convince. The contention that AV would increase party power is clearly wrong because the problem with first past the post is that it leaves us with the choice of only two parties, neither of which has shown outstanding competence, to choose from. He is certainly correct that AV is not nearly as good an option as full PR but this hardly fits comfortably with the fact that the people saying that are the very ones who, for decades, have denied us that third option. If they believe that, then it was dishonourable to prevent us having that choice. He has a point that total fairness is impossible and that it is theoretically possible, though unlikely, that even under AV someone might very occasionally be elected with less than 50% of the vote, as happens now in the overwhelming majority of seats. This is to argue that nobody should ever attempt to improve anything until perfection is attainable, which is both foolish and not how the real world works.

There may be arguments for the current system, other than the obvious self-serving one, that it gives security and power to the Labour/Conservative hierarchies. If so Mr McKie, or indeed anybody in the No campaign, should have put them. Instead we see that the No campaign is refusing to participate in a broadcast formal debate which is not convincing evidence that even they are comfortable with their case.
Published unedited. I didn't expect this to go in but Andrew McKie's article needed answering.

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Agreed. Well done.
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