Monday, 2 May 2011

Election Week

This week, we have local elections and the referendum on AV. On Sunday, I debated local elections on the Politics Show with Tom Brake MP (Lib Dem) and Kelvin Hopkins MP (Lab). You can watch the show here (from around 30mins). One of the interesting points often overlooked in the South East is the comparison between coalition cuts as a result of the debt crisis we inherited and the cuts that went before - just because Labour taxed us more and more, and in return gave back less and less investment for local services. Under Labour, we had a real term cut of police funding in Surrey of around 40%. The current Whitehall 'funding formula' means the average council taxpayer in Elmbridge pays double that of the average resident in Birmingham or Manchester - but we get back around a quarter of funding for local services. Against that backdrop, Elmbridge borough council deserve great credit for freezing council tax for 4 of the last 5 years. As posted previously, I am campaigning hard for a change to the Whitehall funding formula to make it more transparent and fair.

On AV, I have written two pieces for the Surrey Herald here and here, setting out the main reasons why I will vote No. Over the last fortnight, the Yes Campaign have complained bitterly about the claims made about AV. The campaign has been rather ill-tempered. But, both sides can share some responsibility for that - not least given some of the ludicrous Lib Dem claims for AV. Take Lib Dem President, Tim Farron, claiming that First Past the Post (FPTP) had prolonged slavery. At first blush this is just daft. But, on reflection, the reverse is true. As one commentator pointed out (here), Abraham Lincoln would have lost the Presidential election under AV to the consensus 'pro-slavery' candidates. It is quite a good illustration of how FPTP delivers decisive government and leadership. Just imagine how the course of history might have been different without Abe Lincoln in the White House?


Richard Tebboth said...

AV/Eelectoral Reform

Without exception all prior reviews of the system since 1909 (Winston Churchill) say that FPTP is unsatisfactory.

AV seems to me to offer a modest improvement. If there is a 'no' vote on Thursday I fear that reform will be once more postponed for a generation.

I have written a longer diatribe on

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