Sunday 6 December 2009

STV or not STV?

Neal Lawson of Compass and I exchange views on the prospects for electoral reform - and whether the government's proposal of a referendum on the Alternative Vote is worth backing - on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Anyone who attended the somewhat heated debate on electoral reform on the Labour fringe at Brighton - "This year's best fringe event by light years" according to The Guardian's John Harris, who was present as both scribe and democratic agitator - might be disappointed at the outbreak of cordiality in this latest exchange. (Perhaps Stuart White may have to take up the cudgels against my hyper-gradualist advocacy of a sell-out position).

A number of reader responses were disappointed that Neal and I did not discuss the prospects of the Single Transferable Vote, the dream electoral system of most Liberal Democrats and many other committed reformers.

I would really like to see STV in local elections. I am less convinced by the case for its use for the House of Commons. I may be persuadable: as I have argued that too theological a commitment to any particular electoral system among reformers can become a significant barrier, I am therefore in principle open to all serious pluralising reform options which might prevail.

But some of the barriers seem to me difficult ones. So I have responded at length in the CIF thread with some challenges for supporters of STV.

Over to you, my fellow anoraks.

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