Christina Dykes is senior adviser to the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP and Senior Adviser (Conservative) to Local Government Leadership.
In the Diary of a Nobody, Mr Pooter and his wife are at dinner. There is a discussion as to when the ladies should leave the table (it is the Victorian era): a compromise is suggested. The ladies would leave when the principal guest, the American Mr Hardfur Huttle, had half smoked his cigar. This, said the gallant Mrs Purdick would be “the happy medium”. This enticed from Mr Hardfur Huttle the response “Happy medium indeed. Do you know ‘happy medium’ are two words which mean ‘miserable mediocrity’’’?
I fear this is what we will end up with if the Yes to AV campaign wins the debate. Politics is a difficult. That is why we need politicians who are credible and competent. Choosing them through a system that gives candidates of the least appeal the same potency as those with the most appeal will encourage the average candidate to succeed: those that Mr Hardfur Huttle might have seen as the insipid.
Leaving aside the real reason that the debate on our voting system is happening at all (to placard the Liberal Democrats into a coalition) surely the only mature reason for changing the system would be to encourage a greater standard of ability amongst the representatives who are chosen to govern. This will patently not be the case if the AV system were introduced.