May. 10th, 2010

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Ever since I was old enough to have a vague understanding of the political system in Britain, I wished there would be a hung parliament, which would result in bringing in proportional representation in order to make a coalition deal with the Lib Dems.

What we have now has not turned out to be quite what I wished for. The main stumbling block is that the combination of Labour and Lib Dem seats does not add up to enough to make a majority. Even a so called 'Rainbow Alliance' would control a dangerously slim majority, and may result in concessions to Scottish and Welsh nationalists that we can ill afford. Clearly this is why Labour have made the more attractive offer to the Lib Dems.

The Conservative offer grudgingly includes a referendum on 'Alternative Vote' - but the Conservatives have been open about the expectation that they would oppose it. And anyway, AV is not proportional representation. It creates some more appearance of fairness, and might actually benefit the Lib Dems in some places, but it doesn't create a situation where small parties can gain seats.

So maybe we'll end up with a referendum where the people who really want proportional representation have to vote against AV, and the Conservatives will be able to point and say "look, we offered reform, and you didn't want it." I'm not sure how I would vote.

See, I knew the election was going to be disappointing.


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