openDemocracyUK

'AV' LINKED TO CANCER SCARE

New Voting system linked to rise in hair cancer researchers claim
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
6 August 2010

A dramatic new reason for staying with Britain's well established voting system was revealed today. Statisticians from the research arm of the '300 and Counting Club' have uncovered a link between societies that fail to protect themselves with the First Past the Post voting system pioneered in Britain and cancer of follicle growths.

You get the point. It came up in the discussion I reported on last week. What scare story will the Daily Sunshine come up with to terrify people out of voting 'Yes'? I was reminded of it by Peter Facey's demolition of the Evening Standard's editorial spread by Bernard Jenkin MP. Was the headline Oligarch Opposes Voting Reform? Funnily enough, it wasn't.

In his desperate attempt to further his reputation as the man with the grasp of essentials, Jenkin suggests,

Whatever the outcome, a “yes” vote next year would be a leap into the unknown. The real question is, why abandon the system that is tried and tested, where each vote is of equal value, which has done the UK well for about 300 years...

Facey lets him off lightly, noting that the Commons was only fully elected by the 'egalitarian' FPTP system in 1950. I thought it was fantastic that it could occur to anyone that a system "where each vote is of equal value, .... has done the UK well for about 300 years". Doubly fantastic that he could think this the "real question"!  Has he not heard of the 1832 Reform Act which, for all its limitations, as every schoolboy knows abolished rotten or pocket boroughs? Did he wonder how aristocrats controlled their pocket boroughs by the "tried and tested" method of ensuring that "each vote is of equal value" when there was no vote at all? Perhaps he thought it was called 'First Out The Pocket'.

You might have thought it was an ignorant, thoughtless phrase, and goodness knows what the article was like before it was edited by the Evening Standard.

Unless I have missed something there are two possibilities: a) Jenkin is completely ignorant, b) he doesn't care about the truth - or, third, both. Much more important, the same must apply to the Standard. We have been warned. The 'No' campaign is going to enjoy itself making up reasons to attack AV.

This being the age of pre-emption, perhaps Take Back Parliament should make them up first. What other reasons can they dream of if they think equal votes have served this country well since George I? Suggestions please. And keep them short.

Read more about the AV referendum in OurKingdom's Referendum Plus section.

US election: what's going on in Trump's must-win states?

Our editor-in-chief, Mary Fitzgerald, is on the ground in key US battleground states – follow her on Twitter @maryftz for live updates.

There's never been more at stake. But the pandemic has kept many foreign journalists away. Hundreds of international observers who normally oversee US elections aren't there.

Can we trust the polls? What's the blanket media coverage not telling us? Hear Mary describe what she's seeing and hearing across the country, from regular citizens to social justice activists to right-wing militias arming themselves for election day.

Plus: get the inside scoop openDemocracy's big 'follow-the-money' investigation – breaking soon – which lifts the lid on how Trump-linked groups are going global with their culture wars.

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 29 October, 5pm UK time/1pm EDT.

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData