The British PM Gordon Brown has announced he will push through legislation giving citizens the chance to vote on whether to dump First Past the Post (FPP) in favour of Alternative Vote (AV). According to The Guardian:
Brown staked his authority on committing his party not just to a referendum on the alternative vote, but also to making the law introducing the referendum a legislative priority in the remaining six weeks of parliament before the election is called.
The British people have been denied the full range of political choice for eons. But their proud evolving democratic tradition is slowly catching up (though AV is still nowhere near as proportional as MMP). Brown said:
“I am determined to do everything I can to take on and persuade those who want to deny the people the chance to decide [on a new voting system] at a referendum, and I will build support across the Commons, the Lords and the country.
NZ has had an easier road to proportional democracy than the UK will. NZ’s comparatively egalitarian culture prevented wealthy vested interests from subverting the will of Kiwis. Unfortunately for the UK, where we had ten Peter Shirtcliffes, they have thousands.
The wealthy interests who still are trying to deny Britons a more democratic electoral system is a poignant reminder to all Kiwis. When we are forced defend our democracy in John Key’s 2011 MMP referendum, we must not let Roger Douglas, Peter Shirtcliffe, and Don Brash win this time around.