A lot of people who support PR (proportional representation) are unhappy with the proposed AV (alternative vote) referendum.
AV is no more proportional than FPTP (first past the post), in fact, depending on circumstances it can be more or less proportional than FPTP. But as neither was designed to be proportional, this should not be surprising.
So should PR fans vote Yes or No to AV? Or maybe abstain?
Well, one of the arguments is whether the result of the AV vote will make a future referendum (on PR) more or less likely.
- Some say 'A No vote will show there is no appetite for electoral reform, so the issue will be settled for a generation'.
- Others say 'A No vote will show that AV was not acceptable, and we will be offered a wider choice instead - including PR'.
- Others say 'A Yes vote will be a major reform, so there will be no appetite for further reform for a generation'.
- Yet others say 'A Yes vote will get the electoral reform ball rolling and show there is an appetite for it, so will rapidly lead to another referendum - including PR'
See the problem? It can be argued that any result will either rapidly lead to another referendum (on PR) or that any result will put it off for a generation!
So what is the truth? Would the outcome of the AV referendum change the likelihood of a later PR referendum? Well I decided to find out, by asking the person who will ultimately decide whether we have an other referendum (at least in this parliament). I wrote to the Prime Minister, David Cameron and asked him.
And just as soon as he replies, I will pass on the answer!