AV: “The most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”
Winston Churchill is not quoted in the title of this post because he is the source of all wisdom or the fount of all knowledge, but because on this matter he happened to be quite right. If you want a Parliament full of Nick Cleggs and David Milibands, vote AV. After 2015, the Conservatives would only win by appealing for UKIP votes in one constituency and LibDem votes in another. The schizophrenia would turn every party into a LibDem Party (as if they’re not heading that way already). Never again would the Conservative Party be led by such reformers as Disraeli, Churchill or Thatcher, since such divisive characters would be unlikely to garner enough second-preference votes to make it to Parliament in the first place. Only ‘moderate’ or ‘broad appeal’ candidates could make it, and so an eternity of Heaths and Blairs awaits us. Westminster would be cleansed of ‘characters’ of humour, wit and charm, like Widdecombe, Benn, Livingstone and Abbott. You may loathe them and everything they stand for, but FPTP paints an inspirational splash of vibrant and engaging colours; AV would competently deliver a narrow spectrum of bland uniformity: the rebellious and independently-minded would be supplanted by compliant clones.
If you had aspirations to Parliament, but happened to be a Christian, pro-life euro-sceptic and denier of man-made global warming, you’d have no chance. To second-preference voters, facilitated by a hostile media, you would be a bigoted religious nutter; a misogynist, sexist and extremist little-Englander. Those who win under AV are those who can be all things to all people: the Liberal Democrat type, who say whatever they need to say to win wherever they need to win by opposing whatever they need to oppose and supporting whatever they need to support, irrespective of philosophy, doctrine or principle. They deceive the people by promising heaven on earth, and when elected plead impotence that they cannot fulfil their promises. And while they climb the greasy pole, it is the electorate who are left in purgatory.
By all means, let us have the debate about electoral reform. But let us also have a referendum which is worth having and which the people want. Whichever party grants us that will be the one who triumphs at the next general election.