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Constitutional Renewal is Gordon Brown Serious?

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Reading the statement for constitutional renewal and listening to the debate in the Commons yesterday on this issue I wonder if Gordon Brown and his team are really sincere about electoral reform.  There is a Constitutional reform Bill going through Parliament now but there is no mention of electoral reform not some of the proposals Gordon Brown made.  It is highly likely that a number of Cabinet members don’t want electoral reform.  The National Council for Democratic renewal is merely a Cabinet committee it has failed to extend office to othe political parties in the House let alone constitutional experts. in any case the Jenkins Report of 1998 has covered much of the remit of the  National Council. There seems to be support for the Alternative Vote + system amongst the government but as the Electoral Reform Society suggests should we be satisfied with such a weak proposal?

I for one am not optimistic I think it’s all talk and proposals for electoral reform will be killed stone dead.

The Electoral Reform Society has reacted to news that Gordon Brown is considering a shift to the Alternative Vote (AV).

AV is not a form of proportional representation, and maintains most of the key elements of the current electoral system.

Dr Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:

“A straight shift to AV would be a hugely timid move, motivated more by self preservation then the need to change our politics.

Make no mistake, the Alternative Vote is not a big reform. It most certainly is not proportional representation. Yes a few seats will be less safe, but the basic relationship between elector and elected is unchanged. If Brown made this move when he entered office it might have been viewed as welcome tinkering. But at a time when our democratic institutions are in crisis a move to AV would be nothing short of negligence

“Last week we saw what happens when politicians are left to choose their own election system. When it came to choosing the system for Europe, Closed Party Lists won fans because they kept most of the big decisions in the hands of party bosses. AV’s unrivalled popularity in the Labour cabinet should ring some very loud bells.

“People are looking for choice and accountability at elections, with a vote that might actually count. That simply won’t happen with AV.

“In the last weeks we would have hoped Brown might have taken the time to consider the wishes of an irate electorate. We will see if he’s spent the hours since the European Election results broke dwelling on the needs of Party.”

For more on the Alternative Vote AV visit: http://electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=55

via Electoral Reform Society .

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