Wayne’s mysterious mind change on AV

Posted on January 1, 2011

The “Labour Yes” pro-AV campaign group is always keen to boast that “Labour is the party of change”. Unfortunately, it seems that for at least some of their supporters that “change” means completely flipping their opinion on a matter of the most fundamental principle.

Yesterday, they proudly announced five new Parliamentary supporters, including Wayne David MP, Shadow Minister for Europe.

It’s strange to see, then, the very same Wayne David quoted in Hansard as saying:

“I am convinced that first past the post is the most appropriate method of election in this country for all tiers of government” (9 July 2002)

That’s pretty unequivocal, by any measure – but it seems a mysterious conversion has taken place. What drove Wayne into this “change”? If First Past the Post was his first choice, why does he now want it to be thrown aside – like the votes of so many people will be under AV?

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Categories: Opinion, Politics

6 Responses

  1. James:

    Perhaps he looked at the evidence?

    18.01.2011 09:54 Reply

  2. Sunder Katwala:


    The post says more about you than Wayne David. Perhaps you might be somebody who hasn’t changed your mind about any significant issue in eight and a half years.

    July 2002 … Eight and a half years ago … Some possibilities include that

    * he’s been persuaded by a considerable amount of political debate about these issues.

    * perhaps he’s seen some of the academic evidence (see John Curtice’s appendices to successive Nuffield studies) that FPTP no longer does what its supporters think it does. It was plausible to make this argument in 1999-2002 (as Roy Jenkins notes) but the evidence base has been strengthened considerably in 2005 and 2010: the further fragmentation of votes beyond the two largest parties and the continued rise of MPs from outside the two major parties in 2005 was a significant contributor to that … There is now a much greater “no man’s land” where no party wins a majority than was even the case after 1992-97-2001. The Tory failure to win a majority in the exceptionally favourable conditions of 2010 demonstrates the point.

    * other people might have paid attention to the performance of different new political institutions, such as in Wales, Scotland and London

    For example, I switched to being pro-AV in the Autumn of 2007, when I wrote about how AV could deliver much of what traditional majoritiarians want while adapting to pluralism in the Fabian Review.

    18.01.2011 10:01 Reply

    • Mark Wallace:

      Or he might suddenly find himself in opposition, having come off badly under the current system, ay? Or maybe he’s opposed because the Bill just happens to propose equalising constituencies, which would remove Labour’s huge advantage? Just a thought.

      18.01.2011 12:24 Reply

      • Bill Quango MP:

        Let’s see…
        He’s a principled politician swayed by the evidence or he knows without the gerrymandered borders he won’t get back into power.

        I’ll go B and play the joker as well.

        18.01.2011 22:20 Reply

  3. Mark Thompson:

    Well that was over 8 years ago. Perhaps in the meantime he has looked into it in more detail and decided that he was wrong and that AV is better than FPTP. It does appear the more that people understand about the benefits of switching to a preferential system, the more they like it. Shadow Ministers it would appear are no exception to this rule!

    18.01.2011 11:34 Reply

  4. Lee:

    Will someone please give me an explanation of why AV is so bad? Give me figures, examples of how it can lead to a less democratic system anything except “AV is bad mmmkay silly bear”

    Bloggers who’s opinons I respect are (eg Messers Wallace and Hannan) are dead set against it but really haven’t given me any coherent explanation as to what it’s bad points are except wibbly wobbly rubbish that I expect to come out of the media section of a socialist party.

    (for example http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100067892/ten-reasons-to-vote-no-to-av/)

    I’m firmly in the yes camp at the moment, not for any ideological reasons but simply becuase if both the Conservatives and Labour party don’t want it… it must be a good thing!

    I’ll happily change my mind given firm reasons as to why it’s an issue.

    18.01.2011 22:15 Reply

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