An awful lot of guff has been written about the AV referendum in the last 24 hours. Most of the media thinks that if it is lost, that will be the end of the coalition. Rubbish. If you go into a referendum you have to be prepared to lose it. If the LibDems walked away from the coalition after a lost AV referendum they'd look prize chumps.
I actually cannot see why the LibDems want AV, as it is probably even less proportional than FPTP. It could lead to even bigger parliamentary majorities. The argument that at least it means an MP is elected with 50% of the vote is also somewhat flawed. Winning 50% of the vote by seventh preferences is a somewhat pyhrric victory.
Let me spell out where I stand on this. I'm against change unless is can be proven that change will be better than what we have at the moment. So for that reason I am against AV. I think a referendum will be met with supreme indifference by the electorate and I just can't see how the question will be worded.
But despite that, the LibDems should be allowed to have their referendum if it makes them happy. It's in the coalition agreement, after all, so I hope Tory MPs won't play silly buggers and try to scupper it by amending a referendum bill.
But what constitutes victory? 50% plus 1? How very FPTP! Or should it be like the Scottish referendum in 1979 where it had to be 66% plus at least 40% of the electorate?
I am not against any form of electoral reform out of ideology. For instance, I'd happily countenance STV for local elections or the House of Lords. But for the House of Commons, the constituency link has to be retained, and whatever its proponents say STV definitely weakens that.