No wonder the LibDems are pushing for AV. A new academic study shows that if the last election had been caarried out under AV the LibDems could have also chosen to ally themselves with Labour. Indeed, I would venture to suggest that this would be the result at virtually every election. The electorate wouldn't matter. It would be the LibDems who always chose who becomes their coalition partners.
In the forthcoming January 2011 issue of Parliamentary Affairs, leading academics demonstrate that, had the 2010 general election been conducted under the Alternative Vote (AV) electoral system, the Liberal Democrats would have been able to form a coalition with Labour.
The article, Simulating the Effects of the Alternative Vote in the 2010 UK General Election, by David Sanders, Harold D Clarke, Marianne C Stewart and Paul Whiteley, uses survey data from the 2010 British Election Study to simulate what the effects on the seat distribution on the House of Commons would have been if AV had operated in May 2010. The results suggest an outcome for the three main parties of Conservatives 284, Labour 248 and Liberal Democrats 89. They say: "This outcome would have radically changed the arithmetic of post-election coalition building, with the Liberal Democrats being able to form a majority coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives. While the Liberal Democrats’ share of seats under AV would not have been as large as under pure proportional representation, it would have been sufficient for them to form a coalition with either of the major parties."
So be prepared for semi-permanent coalitions, with the LibDems deciding who should govern.