Does the Alternative Vote Bring Tyranny to Australia?
It recalls the contribution made to the debate in the House of Commons on 4 March 1931 by Captain Anthony Eden (right):
I happened to be in Australia in 1925 when, by the working of this Alternative Vote, the Labour party was absolutely extinguished in the Senate. I remember the extent of public feeling on the subject in Australia, and I remember that the remark that I made was: “How very fortunate we are that we have not got a system like that in England.” That election was much further from representing the mind of the nation than we have ever been in this country.
Eden also said, just as is said today:
Never before has an important proposal for electoral reform been brought forward with less enthusiasm for it in any section of the community.
The future prime minister then rather undermined his case with this, an argument which is not used in public by the No campaign today:
This Clause is only in this Bill because we have at the moment a three-party system—the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) was perfectly correct—and it is only justifiable if you are going to perpetuate a three-party system. I do not believe we are, but even if we were, it would not justify us in introducing a method of voting which will multiply the number of parties. Personally, I do not enjoy a three-party system. I think we should get back to a two-party system in the national interest as soon as possible.
More from your parliamentary reporter from 1931 shortly.
Meanwhile, number 509 in the series was asked by Tim Montgomerie in an article about Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, in the Mail the other day:
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“Is it time to give this disloyal, pro-Europe old bruiser the boot?”
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