Support for alternative vote (AV) system is a betrayal of those who have worked for many years for electoral reform. AV is no fairer than first past post and will reinforce sectarian voting patterns in Northern Ireland.
For those of us who have campaigned for electoral reform and a fair electoral system the introduction of AV which Nick Clegg had previously dismissed as a “miserable compromise” would be a total betrayal.
AV is not a proportional system and is grossly unfair to smaller parties. It reinforces the largest parties. The best example of AV in operation is the Australian Federal Elections where the 2 main parties win the seats and the smaller parties are totally excluded.
AV would also have a detrimental impact inNorthern Ireland. It would reinforce sectarian voting and increase polarisation with smaller parties being eliminated.
Parties would no longer be concerned by vote splitting as they know when the smaller unionist or nationalist party is eliminated the voter will then transfer to the larger unionist / nationalist party still remaining. It will turn every constituency into a sectarian headcount. It would effectively eliminate centre parties.
I believe that the introduction of AV will destroy any hope of electoral reform for generations to come.
* Brian Wilson was previously a lecturer in Government and electoral systems and is a member of the electoral reform society.