Tuesday, 5 April 2011

What's the Alternative?

I owe Ed Milliband a debt of gratitude. No, really. For those of you who don't know, Ed is the admittedly rather forgettable leader of the UK's Labour party. This allegedly socialist party is the one that presided over the worst financial crisis in living memory, leaving the UK economy in ruins and condemning future generations to decades of hardship to pay off the resulting debts. Thank you so much, Ed!

Milliband looks as though he should still be in short trousers, revising for his GCSEs. As Charlie Brooker put it last week, it seems as though he should finish every sentence with "and please don't throw my satchel on the roof!". He, and his little playground friend Ed Balls, were both members of the last government. Not only were they in charge during economic meltdown, they also helped widen the gap between rich and poor to historically high levels. Milliband apparently now regrets this. I bet he does. But the important thing is that he didn't do anything about it when he had the chance, did he? And now that the cuts, necessary to clear up the mess that they caused, are beginning to bite, the best that he and Balls can come up with is to point out that better off people will be hit hardest. Socialist my ar*e!

Of course, being in opposition, the two Eds complain bitterly about how dreadful the cuts are and how horrid the government is for introducing them. Naturally, they don't add anything about their own part in this. Milliband and Balls are deficit deniers, pretending that there are alternative courses of action that would be more palatable. Worse, they are responsibility deniers. The cuts will affect normal working families, and those folks will remember who was ultimately responsible for the creating the conditions that made them necessary.

Given the degree to which I clearly despise Milliband, why on earth do I owe him a debt of gratitude? Well, in a month or so, the UK will be able to vote on whether to maintain our current 'first past the post' system, or whether to change to an alternative voting system, based on ranking of candidates in order of preference. Neither is perfect. The current system is acknowledged to be biased in favour of Labour, because of the way that constituencies are currently defined. The Alternative Voting system, is likely to deliver coalitions on a more regular basis.

Until a week or so ago, I was undecided about which I preferred. Then, all of a sudden everything became crystal clear. Ed Milliband came out strongly in favour of the alternative voting system. Given that pretty much everything that the previous Labour administration did was wrong, my choice is now clear.

Ed is bound to be wrong, so first past the post it is!