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Disraeli Room

What problems will AV solve? Canadian election update

Writing last week on today’s AV referendum, I argued that:

It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which AV would be pragmatic – all you have to do is look at Canada. As one of the many Commonwealth countries to have adopted the Westminster voting system, Canada is a great case study of its more problematic features. Next month, Canada will hold its fourth general election in seven years (four general elections ago in the UK, Tony Blair came to power). Worse still, the most recent polling suggests that this election will return an almost identical res

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Tradition is the anchor of royal succession

‘This respect for Precedent, this clinging to Prescription, this reverence for Antiquity, which are so often ridiculed by conceited and superficial minds, and move the especial contempt of the gentlemen who admire abstract principles, appear to me to have their origin in a profound knowledge of human nature, and in a fine observation of public affairs, and satisfactorily to account for the permanent character of our liberties.’
~ Benjamin Disraeli

The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has inevitably raised the question of the succession; the marriage of two young people, with fresh aspiratio

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AV is not a necessary reform

Up until now I have been strongly in the “Meh to AV” camp. Us Meh to AVers are looking forward to Saturday 7 May as it will be the day when the initials AV once more will only have significance to those who want to place a bet on Aston Villa FC. It will be great for politicians to get back to the important stuff such as fixing the economy, ensuring social justice and opening up the state. Every time an MP started talking about the merits or otherwise of AV I winced at the wasted opportunity to talk about something meaningful.

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Three good reasons to support a change to AV

Any voting system is fundamentally a way of combining a lot of individual choices about who should be elected into one single group decision. As such the quality of an election result depends both on the system used and on the choices people make. Under our current system voters tend to make choices in one of two ways: positively, where they pick the candidate they like the most, or negatively, where they eliminate possible candidates, either because they dislike them or because they believe they could not possibly win and vote for whoever is left.

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Three bad reasons to support a change to AV

Apparently, at least according to No2AV, I do not exist. Why? Because I am a long standing supporter of the Alternative Vote method of holding elections, end of. Nick Clegg may have called AV a ‘miserable little compromise’ but he also said he would vote against raising tuition fees. For me AV is, and always has been, the best method for holding elections and it is the right system for the UK.

Like most supporters of AV I first became aware of the system whilst at university where it was the dominant method for holding elections for clubs and societies.

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Why Conservatives should support AV

As a Conservative Party activist, I support the Alternative Voting system (AV). This, it is safe to say, is fairly unusual.

One of the biggest problems our country faces is our broken political system. Even prior to the expenses scandal most people had lost trust in our political system, realising that the views of most people are not listened to. Many things can be changed to improve this situation such as a big devolution of power to local communities, regular Swiss style referendums and the introduction of open primaries for the incumbent party in all constituencies.

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What problems will AV solve in the UK?

This week I’ve asked a number of our regular contributors to weigh in on the Alternative Vote, “the referendum that no one wants”, debated by wonks, decided by Celts and amounting to a sort of high-stakes, low-interest confidence dual between the Coalition party leaders.

The bizarre outcome of this situation has been a choreographed series of Cabinet-level “outbursts,” with third party Labour calling for electoral reform - which would severely weaken their long-term electoral interests, but which they must suspect will never be passed or i

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An economy for the three Fs

Over the past month, the Blue Labour project has surfaced in the public (or at least political) consciousness, mainstreamed by Ed Miliband’s push to make Labour the party of “family, faith and flag.”

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Can localism save Britain's small retailers?

It’s incredibly exciting to be – at the time of writing – at the heart of a Twitter war between two modern Tory icons. Guido Fawkes is slating the ResPublica report The Right to Retail, while ResPublica’s founder and “Red Tory” Phillip Blond is, fairly obviously, fighting back and defending it.

Some of the discussion seems to be about who paid for the report, and I can confirm that we did.

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The Big Society: The view from South Africa

"... These problems are cyclically either symptoms or causes of a disconnected liberalism that inextricably connects the individual whim with dehumanised, bureaucratic big-government. And so, if nothing else, South Africa is the atomised society par excellence ..."

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