No win for UK

Friday, 06 May 2011 17:15
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A win for the Alternative Vote (Yes) could have opened the door to other political groupings that could present other ways of looking at the world than the received ones. So in the long run it might have helped change things for the better. With the two party system entrenched for a least a generation, political discourse will remain locked down whilst both groupings collude in sustaining the false and illusory left/right dichotomy.

The country has passed up the opportunity to dig itself out of its intractable mess. Why? There are allegations of dirty tricks, such as the suggestion that a Yes vote would let in the BNP, and it is true that PR systems have put extremist parties into parliaments in countries in continental Europe. But the AV is not a proportional system of that kind and the allegation was absurd.

Another suggestion is that it was a vote against the LibDems and coalition governments in general. The party has certainly not covered itself in glory and the government is perhaps not a good advertisement for coalitions. If that is the case, then the No vote can be taken as a vote against the possibility of coalitions in the future.

For the LVT movement, it cannot be an encouraging result as there is insufficient space within which the idea could be inserted. The two party system leaves LVT in the wilderness. Moreover, any party that proposed LVT would find the policy hard to sell to the public.

The lesson for the LVT movement is that we ourselves need to be fully informed about what this tax reform actually means and what its effects will be, before we try to spread the message to a wider audience, which must necessarily include practising politicians.

From the bigger perspective, however, it seems that the British public has thrown away the opportunity for much-needed reform by using the referendum as a chance to kick a party and its leader whom it feels have let them down. That is not a good result.
 

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