Isn't the Tories criticism of Labour over voting reform just the slightest bit hypocritical ?

There are plenty of people in both the Labour and Conservative Parties who have long sought to label the lib Dems as political opportunists over the issue of voting reform because a more proportional system favours the Lib Dems. However, the ignore the fact that the Lib Dems are the only party who have ever stood on a platform, of "elect us as a majority and we'll introduce a voting system that will ever prevent us from having a majority government again", which if STV ever gets introduced, will be the result. However, we have seen in recent week s the very worst political expediency from members of both the Tory Party and Labour over the proposals to have a referendum on AV.

Now let's be quite clear here, the Liberal Democrats are not  cleaner than clean when it comes to being politically expedient. the very nature of coalitions is to compromise, but in my opinion (and certainly any study of psephology will show this), AV is an inherently less proportional system than FPTP, so claims that AV is more proportional are not true. But this does not get the other parties off the hook.

Labour, who were committed to AV before the election, now say they will vote against the AV referendum bill because it also includes a call to reform the inequalities in constituency size. Now this current inequality favours Labour quite dramatically. So it is clear that Labour are voting to oppose a reform which will see their electoral advantage removed. In effect, the current electoral system gifts a number of bonus seats to Labour, effectively live a Formula One car being given a one lap head start. Nobody would in any way describe that as fair, but for Labour to so completely vote against one of their manifesto pledges (AV) because part of the same bill threatened their constituency advantage is the very worst kind of political posturing.

The actions of the Labour Party have been widely criticised by the Lib Dems and Tories, but it is the Tories that I really do have an issue with in their criticism of Labour.

The Tories want Labour's electoral advantage removed, claiming that they want a fairer distribution of constituency seats. However, if they are so keen on fairness, why not scrap plans for a referendum on AV and introduce a truly fair system of voting, which brings us back to the Single Transferable Vote (STV), the system the Lib Dems favoured in the first place ?

It is true that Labour want fairness, on their terms, and with s system that favours them. But the Tories too only want fairness for themselves, not for everyone. Whilst Nick Clegg may have been fooled in to believing the Tories are converts to reform, it remains clear to me that the Tories have not changed, and neither have Labour.


Quiet_Man said...

I fail to see how electoral reform where all the constituencies are approx 76,000 is unfair to anyone.
That said it was only the Lib Dems who want voting reform, at least until Labour saw their grip on power slipping away. The Tories have never wanted anything other than fptp so trying to imply they should want voting reform too is a little.............hypocritical.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I never said equalising the constituencies was unfair. The point I was making is if it is unfair on the Tories or favourable to Labour to have unequal constituencies, likewise FPTP discriminates in favour of the Tories.

Saying unequal constituencies MUST be addressed in the name of fairness, but FPTP must remain is hypocrisy from the Tories.

Anonymous said...

what happens to Charles kennedy seat ???

And I like him

but isnt it a stich up

equal size constituency


Anonymous said...

Dear previous anonymous:

There is no special provision in the reforms for Charles Kennedy's seat. He is subject to possible boundary changes like any other MP. The point is that his constituency covers the largest geographical area of any MP (just under 13,000 sq km, I seem to recall), and people were arguing that if every seat had to hit a quota of people on the electoral roll, it would lead to the creation of geographically enormous constituencies, even bigger that the seat CK currently has. So the bill sets an upper limit on the geographical area of the seats being drawn up. This does not mean that Charles Kennedy's seat is protected, other than to say it won't be getting bigger than 13,000 sq km (as indeed nobody else's seat will be, either). It doesn't mean to say that his seat will be exactly *the same* 13,000 sq km, and he quite possibly won't be the only MP whose seat is capped at a maximum geographical area.

Stephen Wigmore said...

"The point I was making is if it is unfair on the Tories or favourable to Labour to have unequal constituencies, likewise FPTP discriminates in favour of the Tories."

This is just not true. Unequal constituencies are unfair for everyone. They make some votes worth more than others (see rotten boroughs). You may not like FPTP but it is not inherently unfair, any party has a chance of winning under it and it privileges no person's vote above any other's.