Taffia Don: Welsh Nationalist Commentary

Friday, April 01, 2011
  2011 0401 – NO TO AV CAMPAIGN

While looking for the conservative manifesto for the forthcoming Welsh Election, I was confronted by the headline, “AV will give greater credibility to extremist parties”. My previous posts about the AV system has detailed that the 50 per cent thresh-hold to elect a representative will mean that smaller parties, which often polarise opinion, could find it more difficult to win seat that they currently hold. However, is it ethical to select a voting system, expressly because it limits minority parties from being democratically represented?

When I studied democratic systems, and debated reasons why political parties should be banned, we concluded that only anti-systemic parties should be excluded (That is to say parties that want to end democracy). On what grounds then do the Conservatives have to penalise smaller minority parties? If a party exists in the democratic sphere then the election system should not conspire to penalise them because their views are deemed by the majority to be acceptable.

Further to this article, David Cameron’s speech in Swansea today, said that AV system will allow the BNP into Westminster. This is a contentious and alarmist statement, designed to scare people into backing the Conservatives FPTP. However, his argument is fundamentally flawed. The AV system will raise the bar for candidates to cross before begin elected, because of this consensus feature, politicians that can gain support of the community at large are more likely to succeed, therefore extremist parties are less likely to get elected under an AV system by comparison to FPTP.

The conservatives have a vested interest in keeping the FPTP voting system – namely the political plurality of left-wing politics in Britain. Nevertheless, advocating the current system because of the fallacious assertion that far-right parties might be the main beneficiary is illogical, as it suggests that people will have a greater chance of having a representative that they want. In fact, what normally happens under an AV system is it guarantees the supremacy of two major parties in a cartel fashion. What I suspect the Conservatives are worried about is, that seats they narrowly win, because Labour and the Liberal Democrats split the left-wing vote they will lose under the AV system because supporters of the two latter parties would typically* prefer a left wing representation thereby ousting the Conservatives on the second preference.

At the end of the day, parties will only ever be represented in parliament if they have been voted for by the public.

*The Liberal Democrats have elements in their philosophy that are more conservative, however, they still retain a large socially conscious element

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