Alternative is not viable

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THE North East campaigns for and against adopting the Alternative Vote (AV) are stepping up a gear tonight with a public debate at the City Library in Newcastle.

Guy Opperman, Conservative MP for Hexham, will be appearing to argue in favour of keeping our current ‘first-past-the-post’ system.

Those in attendance will hear that the AV system is unfair. Why should supporters of minority parties like the BNP have their vote counted five or six times?

AV is rejected the world over – it is only used by Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia, where it proved so unpopular they had to make it illegal for people not to vote.

Those unhappy with the coalition should remember that the AV referendum is Nick Clegg’s reward for joining the Government.

Clegg chose to demand AV, rather than an end to tuition fees, because AV will make it more likely that the Lib Dems choose who will be Prime Minister at future elections.

Lib Dems are supporting AV because it is in their narrow party interest. They argue that the current voting system caused the abuse of expenses by MPs in ‘safe seats’.

But where MPs abused the system it was down to personal failings and we should not excuse this by blaming it on the voting system.

In Berwick, our own Lib Dem MP had a seat once considered ‘safe’ and yet was not implicated in the most serious accusations of abuse.

In coming weeks, the debate will move to the market places and streets of north Northumberland, with a busy programme of knocking on doors and street stalls. I look forward to continuing this debate with fellow local residents.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan,

NO2AV Campaign Regional Coordinator