Ever since the Expenses Scandal broke - if not before - politicians have been held in increasing contempt by the public. Yet another example of why this is so comes with the decision to hold a referendum on whether we should retain the 'first-past-the-post' system or opt for the 'alternative vote' system.
At the 2010 general election the Conservative manifesto stated: "We support the first-past-the-post system for Westminster elections because it gives voters the chance to kick out a government they are fed up with."; the Labour manifesto stated: "To ensure that every MP is supported by the majority of their constituents voting at each election, we will hold a referendum on introducing the Alternative Vote for elections to the House of Commons." and the LibDem manifesto stated: "Change politics and abolish safe seats by introducing a fair, more proportional voting system for MPs. Our preferred Single Transferable vote system gives people choice between candidates as well as parties." To summarise therefore, Conservatives: FPTP; Labour: AV and LibDem: STV.
Due to the fact the general election resulted in a hung parliament which in turn gave birth to 'The Coalition', what has transpired is a 'dogs breakfast', in which all three parties can be accused of hypocrisy where any change to the voting system is concerned as we now have the Conservatives totally against AV but agreeing to the referendum, Labour who now state they will vote against AV and the Liberal Democrats stating that they will vote for AV - a system which Nick Clegg described as "a miserable little compromise". As I posted in May, if the system for electing our political representatives has to be changed then surely the people should be presented with all the options available.
Regular readers will know that I have long complained about our present political system, terming it 'Democratised Dictatorship'. Yet again we see political parties deciding what 'freedoms' and 'choices' they will allow the people to enjoy - and of course the one referendum the people do want, that on EU membership, is not one that any of the political parties will agree to grant! Couple that last point with this story in the Mail which reports that 45 Conservative MPs have signed a motion against dropping FPTP and, more importantly, that "Another nine MPs wanted to sign the motion, but were persuaded at the last moment not to do so by Tory whips." and it is obvious why I use the term I do!
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