Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Tory bigotry about electoral reform.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 19, 2010 in British Politics |

Bigotry. It’s a strong word, and not one I use lightly about the Cameron Tory party which has come a long way. But I use it in the context of the Tory attitude to electoral reform because their opposition is just so irrational and kneejerk as to be difficult to understand. Just before the last general election, I was savaged by a Tory blogger for suggesting that compromise in politics is no stranger than compromise in marriage. He refused to accept that it was better for the Tories to get some of the things they want in a coalition than nothing under a Labour Govt. ¬†That attitude still seems to exist amongst Tory opponents to electoral reform, who seem to believe that the only alternative to the current coalition is a Tory majority government. Has it not occurred to them that as the Lib Dems are shedding their left wing voters to Labour, resulting in Labour now neck and neck with the Tories in recent polls, that the danger of an 1983 split vote is now on the centre right between Tories and centre-right Lib Dem voters?

As the govt gets more unpopular as a result of cuts in public spending, a bizarre situation could arise where, under first past the post, Labour gets considerably less votes than the combined coalition total, and yet wins a majority of the seats. In other words, a majority of British voters, or damn closer to it than any election since the 1950s, could vote to reelect the coalition parties, and yet first past the post lets Labour in?

Bizarrely, Tory anti-AV campaigners seem to prefer that result to the introduction of AV, which must be the most petulent act of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face ever seen in modern politics.¬†

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