So the proposal to hold a referendum on the introduction of the Alternative Vote (AV) for UK elections has passed it’s first hurdle with an easy win for the coalition government on last night vote (6t Sept).
To read some Lib-Dem blogs you would have thought this was always their policy those at Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats claimed.
“Our two Parties have different views on the future of our voting system. But we both recognise that there are genuine concerns about the current system. And we emphatically agree that the decision is not, in any case, for government alone.
It should be taken by the people themselves That is why both our parties support putting this question to a referendum next May, just one example of the power shift we are determined to deliver. Fixing parliament also means tackling the unfairness in the geography of MPs' constituencies by making sure votes count equally wherever they are cast. The coalition also proposes to cut the number of MPs to 600”.
If as they claim that it should be taken to the people themselves , then why not have an open referendum and give those who support STV (including presumably themselves) the chance to vote for this option.
As for the “Fixing” parliaments with regards re forming constituency boundaries. Then they got that right, because its nothing but a move to give the Tories the opportunity to gerrymander the current set up.
I don’t often agree with Labour MP Kevin Brennan but when he asked .
“whether plans for constituency changes were included in the same bill as the price of Conservative support for the referendum. Mr Clegg replied that, as they were "two issues that relate to how we are elected to this House", it had been "natural to bring them together".
Mr Clegg defended plans to reduce the number of MPs and to redraw constituency boundaries so they each represented about 76,000 people each, saying it was "patently obvious that individuals' votes should carry the same weight".
But you don’t have to be a genius to work out that the Tories would clearly love to see AV fail at the referendum but see the cut in the number seats pass (which we will not be allowed to vote for) guaranteeing them a larger majority if the percentage votes for the Parties at the next General Election remained roughly the same.
How can you have two bills combined when only one goes to a referendum?
In their efforts to get their backsides on the seats of ministerial cars Nick Clegg and the Lib-Dems have sold parliamentary reform down the river and given their Tory bosses exactly the electoral advantage they are seeking.
Because the bboundary changes are guaranteed to pass but the AV referendum may well fail.
No amount of weasel words either from Lib-Dems at Westminster , or Aberavon and Neath will hide this.