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Is the alternative vote worth voting for?

By Lara J Carim, on 13 April 2011

This was the subject of a debate at UCL on 11 May, reports Leo Ratledge (intern at the UCL Constitution Unit), where leading figures from the yes and no camps met alongside electoral experts and UCL students to argue the point.

Watch the full debate below

For the yes side, Billy Bragg and Katie Ghose argued that the referendum provided an opportunity to offer greater choice to voters, to combat the sense of disenfranchisement among those who do not identify with the parties likely to win under first past the post, and to challenge MPs to target the wider population rather than swing voters.

For the no side, Jane Kennedy and Charlotte Vere called AV a timid reform, a shield for Liberal Democrat unpopularity, and a change that far from combating safe seats would just make different seats safe.

A third camp too emerged, of those who didn’t care for AV or FPTP, but wanted change of a different kind. For them different questions were important: if AV passes, will it be the start or the end of reform? Is AV a compromise worth making?

A quick poll at the end of the night indicated that the vast majority of those attending were in favour of the change to AV, but with a little under a month to go, it’s still all to play for. Last night showed how much we need this debate so, what do you think? Whether you think AV is progressive or regressive, a step towards or away from greater democracy, a political fix or a non-event, let us know…

Coverage: Michael White’s article in the Guardian

If you’d like to comment, please continue the discussion on the UCL Constitution Unit blog.

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