Public supports AV, Brown screws up

According to a poll reported by Liberal Conspiracy, the public supports the AV voting system, and the ability to recall MPs:

The public were also generally positive to the idea of moving to an AV voting system and having a referendum on the issue:

If a referendum were held on whether to stick with FPTP or switch to AV for electing MPs how would you vote?
Keep FPTP 30%
Switch to AV 58%
Would not vote 2%
Don’t know 10%

Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea to hold such a referendum?
Good idea to hold a referendum 59%
Bad idea 22%
Don’t know 19%

A law to recall MPs: Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
Good idea to hold local referendums such as this 76%
Bad idea 12%
Don’t know 12%

Labour plan to have a referendum on electoral reform after the next election:

A long-held dream of constitutional reformers was heralded in Brown’s speech when he said Labour’s election manifesto would include a pledge to hold a referendum on electoral reform.

“There is now a stronger case than ever that MPs should be elected with the support of more than half their voters – as they would be under the alternative voting system,” the prime minister said. “And so I can announce today that in Labour’s next manifesto there will be a commitment for a referendum to be held early in the next parliament, it will be for the people to decide whether they want to move to the alternative vote.”

Labour’s plan has one fatal flaw: they won’t win the next election, so no referendum will take place. And the Tories will have no interest in holding one, since the present system suits them. Instead they should have done what was mooted earlier, hold a referendum on the same day as the general election (they should have held the referendum before that, but it’s a bit late for that now).

Brown has probably done it this way to get people who want electoral reform to vote for him. But this strategy is likely to backfire, because these people will remember that Labour promised a referendum on PR on their 1997 manifesto and reneged on the promise. Why should they trust Labour again, having beeen betrayed before?

Because the Tories gain from FPTP, and because Labour will be unpopular for the next 10 years, by not having a referendum on electoral reform, Brown has almost guaranteed that we’ll have a 3 term Tory government, not a one term one. I cannot imagine most Labour supporters want this, or that Gordon Brown does either. And this is my problem with Brown: I don’t expect him to put the interests of the country above his own interests, but I do expect him to at least be competent enough to do what’s in his (and Labour’s) interests. Brown isn’t even able to do that.

Actually it was Gordon Brown who inspired me to go into politics: he has no talent, no intelligence, no charisma, yet he got to be Prime Minister. He’s a useless sack of shit (actually, that’s unfair — sacks of shit are useful as fertiliser). I’m sure that were I elected to high office, I could do better.

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