Sunday, 1 May 2011

Voting Reform 7: Would MPs be less accountable under AV? #referendum

One argument for a No vote is that AV makes coalition governments more likely, and coalitions are weaker and less accountable.

As I've said, this particular coalition is not a weak government. It may be incompetent and inexperienced, but not weak. This government has suffered from its members' lack of experience and its parties' long time in the wilderness. But strong leadership and genuine compromise have lead to swift action.

A friend of mine argued that coalition compromises are often just a good excuse for politicians to break promises.

Clegg's unfortunate / poorly judged tuition fees stance was a large compromise and sacrifice for the coalition. And is Clegg going to be held accountable?

In the 2005 election I lived in a heavily student-based constituency: Headingley in Leeds. Greg Mulholland was elected there, taking the seat from a retiring Labour candidate.

His seat is in great jeopardy now - students in a fee years time (or sooner?) will look at their Student Loans Company statements and take out their anger on their Lib Dem representative. Labour will return and Clegg will receive some payback for his betrayal of students.

This will happen under AV just as much as FPTP - perhaps even more so, as the candidate needs wider approval, and Lib Dems in this example are less likely to receive second preference votes from students after the tuition fees debacle.

Accountability will be just as strong under AV.

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