Nerd ham award - coalition schmoalition
Monday May 10th, 2010
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<04:22 pm
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coalition schmoalition
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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jiggery_pokery
<09:56 pm on Monday May 10th, 2010
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Presumably since you posted that, [t]he BBC understands, from Lib Dem sources, that the Labour offer is legislation to introduce AV, followed by a referendum on proportional representation. This makes a huge difference, as far as I'm concerned, not least because I fear that any referendum offering a change from FPTP would fail due to the influence of the press barons - and while AV isn't PR, it suits me as being much, much better for the country than FPTP.

It would be really interesting to see (or, at least, guess) how the Scottish and Welsh seats at Westminster would turn out under AV. If a Lib-Lab (or Lib-Lab plus, unofficially, the Green and probably at least 3-4 of the Irish MPs) coalition were to go ahead and introduce AV with a referendum on STV, then I really don't think the Scottish and Welsh nationalists would oppose this coalition that they aren't in in a Queen's Speech vote when the alternative would be, presumably, a Conservative minority government which would be likely to hit Scotland and Wales hard. I guess they'd abstain, but I don't think they'd oppose it - or, at least, that all of the MPs would oppose it. (Perhaps the nationalists might offer their MPs a free vote on the matter?)

It'd be very close, and it's not guaranteed, but I really think that Lib+Lab > Con when the others fall where they may.
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jaq
<12:11 pm on Tuesday May 11th, 2010
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It's appealing because of the improved ideas for reform but it seems risky to me due to the numbers.
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