Huhne: AV “small step in right direction” BUT not proportional

by Stephen Tall on February 2, 2010

What is it about Labour? Why are they waiting til the dying days of their last government for X years to propose anything new and radical? Yesterday, LDV posted the news that Labour has, eventually, U-turned on non-doms, and agreed to Lib Dem proposals that they will no longer be able to sit in Parliament.

And then later last night came the news that Labour will put to the Parliamentary vote next week proposals for a referendum to be staged as a step towards replacing the ‘first past the post’ system.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dems’ shadow home secretary, issued what might be termed a stinging welcome:

If this is confirmed then it is a deathbed conversion to electoral reform from a party facing an historic defeat, which is why scepticism is warranted.

“The Alternative Vote is a small step in the right direction, but it is not a proportional system and it does not give voters real power over both the party and the person elected as MP.

“Only the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member seats would abolish MPs’ meal tickets for life, and we will fight to amend this proposal to give people a real choice for a more significant change.”

But it still leaves the question about Gordon Brown’s leadership: why does he always leave it so late, too late, to act decisively?

He failed to become Labour leader in 1994 because he hesitated; he failed to become Prime Minister from 2003 until 2007 because he hesitated; and he’s failed to become a successful Prime Minister because he’s trapped in perpetual hesitation.