A Fairer Society

September 13, 2010

The debate on the AV voting system is in full swing. What bothers me about the media coverage  is that it is portrayed as the one issue on which the Liberal Democrat’s commitment to the coalition agreement stands and falls.

I for one am not especially hung up about AV. I think it is an improvement on the current First Past the Post system, and is a step in the right direction towards a truly representative system; AV means fairer votes, but not yet truly fair votes.

My biggest concern about the current British voting system is that it is averse to change and confirms again and again the status -quo. For me, though, the voting system is not an issue which is key to my politics. Politics reform is, of course, vital, but my real concern is about fundamental change towards a fairer society.

In two separate reports this week it was confirmed that we continue a historically established North-South divide, with the North invariably coming out as the loser. The North has suffered more from the industrial decline over the last decades than the South; it has many more severely deprived areas; it was again hid hardest by the recent recession and many predictions indicate that the new governments efficiency measures will hit the poor areas harder than the more affluent one.  Or will it?

My hope for the coalition Government is that we will finally be able to break this historic vicious circle. My measure for the success or otherwise of the Liberal Democrats sharing power with the Conservatives is that we can demonstrate that our commitment remains the commitment to a fairer society. AV is only one part of it.


One comment

  1. “efficiency measures”

    That’s quite a euphamism.

    Anyway, I don’t think AV has a hope in hell, sadly. Everything’s against it- the different factions who want it hate each other’s guts too much for joined-up campaigning, it will come at a time when cuts are biting and people won’t want to endorse a policy seen as the Lib Dems’ own, the nature of the referendum means FPTP won’t have to be defended by the “No” campaign, the onus is squarely on the “Yes” campaign to convince people, etc.

    Even now it’s behind in the polling 😦

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