Reasons For AV - 1974

The first election of  1974 was held in February. It was all about who ruled the country.

Was it the elected government?

Or Authur Scargill and the NUM?

Ted Heath, the Conservative Prime minister called the election after a wave of strikes. He made it plain that the issue of who governed the country was the primary issue in the election.

But instead of getting the government with the highest popular vote, the country got the loser.

It got Harold Wilson.

Wilson's Labour Party won the most seats, even though they got a smaller share of the vote than the Tories. Because they got the most seats they were given the first opportunity to form a government

Wilson,  on the day of the election called a surrender parley with Arthur Scargill and the TUC to ensure the security of his minority government.

He then went on to form the Lib-Lab pact, (a poor mans coalition).


The country was in crisis. It needed popular leadership.

It got a coalition of losers. Courtesy of First Past The Post.

Heath was not asked to form the government because the Tories had won fewer seats than the Labour party. Even though the Tories had a greater share of the popular vote. What a travesty.

Wilson, the grand appeaser, forced a false boom and then held another snap election in October 1974. This time he won legitimately though at terrible cost to the nations wealth.

The country got a supine Labour  administration that sleep walked the country though devaluation and economic collapse when the country  really should have got something a little more "popular" and dare I say, effective.

The country ended up on a rudderless pre-Thatcherite course to the Winter of Discontent. Internally riven by extremists and in the middle of the depths of the cold war the country was, as in 1929 and 1951, bankrupt. It remained that way for a long time.

The current First Past the Post system abjectly failed this country in 1926, 1951 and 1974. The intrinsic flaws in FPTP and particularly its sensitivity to swing seats mean it will fail again unless replaced.

FPTP has the potential to randomly foist either a coalition of losers or (much worse - as in 1951) promote a government with an absolute majority that clearly came second in the election.

FPTP must be replaced. To simply go along with the current system would be to fossilise our democracy and deny our children the right to a dynamic forward looking democracy.

There is only one way to vote in this referendum. Vote for fairness. Vote for AV.

4 comments:

John said...

We sent our postal votes yesterday, both "yea", it would be a blow to democracy if the "nay" win through.

In Wales things are tricky, we also voted Labour for the first time ever, we just had to help keep Plaid Cymru out in Caerphilly.

BilloTheWisp said...

Hi John,
I understand the Labour vote - after all you are voting tactically, which is really simply what AV would do for you automatically if it were in place!

Dilettante said...

I'm anti-AV, and I outline why here:

http://dilettante11.blogspot.com/2011/04/coalition-politics-on-your-doorstep-why.html

Interestingly, the fact that people would be less inclined to vote tactically under AV is one of my most serious objections.

You never explain how AV is less likely to foist random coalitions of losers on us, meaning the article doesn't make a positive case for AV at all.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dilettante, You are right, I need to fully explain why AV is less likely to foist a losers coalition on us. I'll do this after my next scheduled posts on voting fraud.

But briefly - Wilson got 1st chance to form the govt because he got the most seats, though he had less vote share. Under AV, because it eventually boils down to straight fight the largest 2 candidates in any seat is virtually g'teed the largest vote share goes to the party with most seats - assuming the electorial commision has done its job and seat populations are roughly equal.

Tactical voting - all tactical voting is under FPTP is a poor man's AV where you have to guess where your vote would transfer to. TV also then denies a true image of voting intentions.