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Guest Blogs, Politics

Guest blog: Yes to AV – Peter Black

In a guest blog post for PoliticsWales, re-posted here with permission, Welsh Liberal Democrat Peter Black explains why he thinks the Alternative Vote (AV) system would improve the democratic process.

Peter Black explains why he's backing the Yes to AV campaign

By Peter Black

There are many problems with the current voting system. The main concern for me is that the system allows MPs to be elected without the support of most of their constituents. This results in lazy MPs, who only have to keep the support of the few and ignore the majority that they are elected to represent.

The Alternative Vote will mean politicians having to persuade at least half their constituents to vote for them. Members of Parliament will have to work harder and earn the support and vote of the people in the constituency. They will no longer be able to take their constituents for granted.

Accountability is particularly important after the expenses scandal at Westminster when it was shown that some of the worst offenders had the safest seats.  An independent study by nef (new economics foundation) think-tank, found that a Yes vote in the 5 May referendum would boost people power by increasing the number of very marginal seats from 81 to 125. The number of very safe seats would fall from 331 to 271.

The No campaign is using scare tactics as expected! A fair voting system does not have to lead to a coalition Government, but those who say that such alliances are bad for economic stability may be surprised to learn of this interesting fact. Of the 16 countries that have AAA credit rating, 10 have balanced parliaments and 12 use a system of proportional representation. My view is that it is good to see politicians of different parties working together for the national good. I think that the public likes to see that happen as well.

Westminster is the proud grandfather of democracy, now it needs to catch up with modern democracies across the world, and implement a progressive alternative voting system.


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