The Tory electoral reformer
Further to my article about Australian lessons for the Liberal Democrats (for which I owe a debt to Brent Martin, who spotted the parallel three days after our general election), I note David Cameron’s choice as Nick Clegg’s Conservative deputy as Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform.
Mark Harper (right), 40, is, like Cameron, a Brasenose PPE who was taught by Professor Vernon Bogdanor.
Clegg and Harper have the historic task of designing and holding a referendum on changing the voting system in this country to the Alternative Vote.
They have to decide:
when to hold the referendum;
the precise design of the AV system that is put to the people;
what else is part of the reform package (which, according to the coalition programme, “includes provision … for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies” but not, by implication, the separate introduction of proportional representation for “a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber”); and
what the question should be.
The Australian experience suggests that the Alternative Vote could be, in the long run, even less favourable to the Liberal Democrats than our present first-past-the-post system. But I wonder what Prof Bogdanor has taught his disciples?Tagged in: electoral reform
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