"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Farage: AV Thin End of Wedge

Coffee House has an extract from an interview with Nigel Farage before tomorrow's council elections and the referendum on AV.

Here's what he has to say on AV:
DB: Why are you supporting AV?
NF: Well, first past the post is finished, it doesn’t work.
DB: Why?
NF: It doesn’t really have legitimacy. You know, it worked when we were a two party state. I completely lost faith in it in 2005 when Blair was returned with a 60 seat majority on 36 per cent of the vote, or 22 per cent if you factor in low turnout. I’d always argued that we needed FPTP because it gave us strong government and we mustn’t become like Italy. 2005 put a torpedo through that for me. It's bust.
DB: Are you doing it to engage younger voters, to an extent?
NF: Certainly, the new generation coming through have different attitudes to the system. They think, what’s the point? I would prefer AV Plus, which would retain the constituency link and then also the second ballot ensured there were no wasted votes. Why do we support AV? Basically if the no side wins, then I think that’s the end of reform.
DB: So AV is the thin end of the wedge?
NF: I see AV as being a crack in the damn [sic]. Once you’ve changed something once, you can change it again. I also think that from the Ukip perspective, which is of secondary importance, it kills the wasted vote argument in a second.
It's an interesting perspective; I've been wondering why UKIP support the Alternative Vote.  I agree with him that it's a 'crack in the dam' on the way to Proportional Representation but, on past performance, it's a crack that won't have leverage applied to it for several generations more.  In the meantime, we'll be left with a half-way house that sees us badly-served.

On the other hand, I'd give just about anything to see UKIP, English Democrats, BNP and Independent MPs have a voice in Parliament - anything rather than the Lib/Lab/Con one-party centrist monopoly -  so maybe I should swallow my gut feeling and vote Yes.

Make sure you click through to the full Spectator interview - "there's little more repugnant than the stereotypical Ukipper’s florid face, club tie and sports jacket."  What cheap, lazy journalism -  nothing derogatory or stereotypical there then.

Farage also has things to say on banning the burqa and the rise of the so-called 'far-right' in Europe.  He distances himself from Marine Le Pen and implies that a problem with French politics is that political parties 'come and go' but isn't that exactly where we'd be if we had AV?

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