A recent conversation on Facebook;
[Person]"Obviously I was planning on either abstaining or voting no as I don't think either system on the table represents a particularly convincing democracy. I don't like the idea of voting for a least worst option!"
[Me]"I'm intrigued - you'd rather go for more of the same? Rather than a chance in a life time to change politics?"
[Person]"No, I'd rather have PR where my first choice would be genuinely represented in the constituency of parliament. Isn't this what lib dems were after too? AV looks like a pretty shabby compromise. I'd be more impressed to hear them arguing passionately for the best possible system; then they'd have my vote!"
I could lecture for some time on the benefits of AV over FPTP, but for digestable appetites, I will break this into a variety of discussions.
AV is an Opportunity of a Life Time
2. Rejecting More of the Same
3. History Shows Us Nothing
But what are the positive implications of FPTP?
Cameron asserted in the Evening Standard the ability to kick out "dog-tired" governments. The irony therein is that the Coalition has created fixed term parliaments.
Therefore a "dog-tired" government can only be removed with a motion of no confidence outside of this period. The last Motion of No Confidence was in 1979 when James Callaghan and Winter of Discontent occured. However, this paticular example was 51:50 and not the two thirds majority required by the new bill.
Therefore not only was the last dog-tired government over three decades ago, and before I was born, but it would not do the job in current times! Even the Motion of No Confidence that decapitated Ramsey Macdonald's government in 1924 was insufficient to meet this criteria.
Therefore, the concept that FPTP can throw out inefficient governments does not stand up to scrutiny when one considers no motion of confidence in the last two centuries was able to do so.