- News Brief
- Research & Policy
- Culture and Review
- Media Centre
Reach tens of thousands of people instantly by advertising with Ekklesia. Find out more
A very interesting debate has been going on about the Alternative Vote in the last 24 hours, since ten Church of England bishops (three of them retired) came out in support of an empowering reform of the system at the upcoming referendum on 5 May 2011.
Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at a conference on racism, religion and public policy and so I thought I would do a quick blog on why the Alternative Vote (AV) will help to tackle extremist politics. (Ekklesia has been examining/exposing the links between religion and the BNP/extremism in politics/public policy, since 2004. For a list of articles, reports etc... see here ).
There has been quite a bit of nonsense talked about AV giving people “more than one vote” (eg votes being counted "five or six times") or “treating voters unequally”. The claim wasn’t even entertained by the Jenkins’ Commission on the voting system when it looked at AV. The idea was however once tested in the courts in the US.
What hasn’t been often highlighted so far in the debate about the Alternative Vote (AV), is that many groups working on behalf of some of the most vulnerable and disempowered people are backing the Al
As outlined in the previous post, AV would enable people to vote ‘with their heart as well as their head’.
Casting a vote is a way of registering and publicly demonstrating support for a candidate or a political perspective which we want to endorse. It is an act of ‘witness’ to what we believe is right or at least best. But it is one which is made difficult, and even discouraged, under present arrangements.
The referendum on whether we should use the Alternative Vote (AV) system to elect MPs to the House of Commons, offers us a small but significant change which could make a big difference.
The arguments over AV have often centred on speculation about the extent to which the new system would (dis)advantage any particular party. This can sometimes be informative – for example, the BNP are opposed to AV because they realise it would make it impossible for the party to get someone elected to Westminster in the same way that they have succeeded in local council elections under the First Past The Post (FPTP) System.