Alternative Vote (AV) referendum

Book Review: Don’t Take No for an Answer: The 2011 Referendum and the Future of Electoral Reform

As political scientists and commentators watch and wait for local election results to come in, what many will find most shocking, although not surprising, are the low voter turn out rates. It seems that the British public remain largely disinterested in elections, a problem also encountered in the 2011 referendum. Kerwin Datu reviews this recent book on the mistakes and delusions of the Yes […]

The rejection of AV is the fifth occasion in the last 100 years that a proposal to replace FPTP has failed. This history of failure to secure electoral reform hinges on the ever-changing political calculus between Labour and the Liberal Democrats

Throughout the AV referendum campaign, there was general agreement that it was a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity for electoral reform in Britain. But, does greater impetus for electoral reform happen only once in a generation? Stuart Wilks-Heeg, of Democratic Audit, investigates the history of proposals to replace our current First Past the Post system, and finds that the shifting balance of power between parties on the left created possibilities for […]

The holy grail of liberal politics has crumbled in Nick Clegg’s hands, but the Liberal Democrat plight also means bad news for wider politics in the UK

The winners and losers of last week’s election results were eminently predictable: the No to AV campaign succeeded, the Scottish National Party triumphed, and the Liberal Democrats suffered at every turn. The voters’ judgements were surprisingly savage however, argues Bryan Gould, as he outlines the wider political repercussions of the Liberal Democrats’ losing streak.

Alex Salmond would be wise to study Quebec’s travels down the road to independence. So far, that road has led nowhere

With the Scottish National Party’s recent election victory in mind, Françoise Boucek suggests there are some important lessons to be learned from the experience of referendums on independence in Quebec. The Scottish National Party’s astounding election victory feels like Quebec in 1976. The separatist Parti Québécois under the leadership of René Lévesque rattled the Canadian political establishment with a shocking win […]

The Westminster Model strikes back, both in Britain and in Canada … but pressures for multi-party politics are still increasing

Last week saw majority government restored at the fourth time of asking in Canada, while UK voters rejected a switch away from first-past-the-post, and punished the third party Liberal Democrats severely for their behaviour in the coalition government. So the ‘Westminster Model’ approach to politics clearly has some life left in it. Yet Patrick Dunleavy finds that in both countries, […]

Another election where (most) politicians failed to lead or connect

The early results today suggest a swing away from the Liberal Democrats in local councils, success for the SNP in Scotland and a win for the No campaign in the AV referendum. Charlie Beckett reflects on the elections and the referendum, and finds that they illustrate an ongoing disconnect between the voting public and the politicians, especially when much of […]

The LSE Library wants your AV referendum campaign materials

In the lead up to today’s referendum on the Alternative Vote, campaign materials from both sides have been subject to controversy with accusations of misleading or incorrect statements on both sides. As these will be of immense interest to future academics and commentators, Anna Towlson who runs the LSE Archives would like to seek the help of readers of British Politics and […]

Despite the dysfunctionality of First Past the Post, there is no clear evidence of a public desire for Proportional Representation

The apparent disproportionality of our current First Past the Post system is at the heart of the current debate on electoral reform, with many seeing Proportional Representation as being the best solution. But how has public opinion responded over the years? Stuart Wilks-Heeg and Stephen Crone of Democratic Audit have examined opinion polls since the 1970s and have found that […]