Six County Referendum on May 5 – Alternative Vote or First Past the Post?
Gavin Stamp has published what appears to be an accurate summary of party political opinions about the Alternative Vote Versus First Past the Post Referendum on the BBC website
The six-county summary is interesting – I do not know if People Before Profit has a position – I hope Socialist Workers’ Party members declare a mini unilateral declaration of independence from the London mother-ship – judging from Mark P’s comment
the Socialist Party is a lost cause, this chip will not stray too far from its block!
Boiling it all down, rational supporters of Proportional Representation take the approach of Julian Ware-Lane :
“What is on offer is either the status quo, first past the post, or AV? All UK voters should choose the better, and fairer, of the two, which in my view is the Alternative Vote”
Others use the referendum to kick the government, for example :
“The Communist Party is opposed to any switch to AV, arguing the system is complex and will reinforce what it says is an already “limited” system of democracy.
It supports the single transferable system as the only way to address the current “democratic deficit”. It says the poll should be treated as a referendum on the coalition.”
Based on experience of many referendums in the part of Ireland governed from Dublin, you should stick to answering the question that is asked. A Vote No in this referendum is a vote for First Past the Post – saying NO because you want something better than AV (Proportional Representation) is pie-in-the-sky politics.
During the debate on the European Union Lisbon Treaty in Ireland, some left-leaners in the Yes camp were very uneasy about the neo-liberal content of the text – they claimed it was possible to cast a “critical yes” vote – most were in the Green Party and God did not Bless their innocence – in the February 25 2011 general election the Greens were wiped from the parliamentary map.
It reminds me of a referendum some years ago in Australia, when the government proposed removing the British monarch as head-of-state, and declaring a republic. One deluded ultra-left propaganda group – I think it was affiliated to the British SWP
– argued for a NO because a republic would still be a capitalist state, “The republic was voted down because people who are against the queen were not convinced of the merits of what was to replace her” etc.
During the failed Dublin government referendum proposal in 1986 to remove the ban on divorce the catholic far-right successfully used arguments such as “We Want Jobs Not Divorce”.
Other readers may enlighten us with more examples of daft ultra- left and ultra-right approaches to referendums.
During the Lisbon Treaty Referendums many of us in the left No Camp took great pains to steer very far away from irrational forces on the No Side – notoriously, the Catholic far-Right hyped up by the slavishly neo-liberal establishment media.
Alan Thornett has written a new contribution to the debate in Britain where he discusses the position advocated by Counterfire :
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