You probably would expect me to be happy that the PM is today going to propose changes to the Westminster electoral system.
Well yes and no, this could end up being a disaster for the following reasons:-
1. Gordon Brown remains PM and is incredibly unpopular - anything he puts his name to is bound to be doomed by association.
2. If I have heard right - we are not even going to be offered a proportional system. The Alternative Vote, or even worse the Supplementary Vote, is not radical reform, it is a slight improvement but will do nothing for the 56% of people that voted neither Labour nor Tory.
It wil allow voters to express their preference but not to elect any MPs - so looking at the Euro results, UKIP would have got 100 MPs and the Greens 60 MPs under a proportional system but none under first-past-the-post and none under the Supplementary or Alternative Vote. Amused Cynicism argues that 56% of voters have voted for choice in the Euros to accomodate their views means a modern proportional system is needed.
3. A new fresh face could have offered fresh policies and been listened to and undoubtedly could have offered more radical choice than the Alternative Vote.
4. Having a referendum on the Alternative Vote will put us true reformers in an impossible position - to campaign for a system that is slightly better but is not proportional, so will not address the main unfairness of the system. It will be a waste of our energy to get so little reward and probably make it all the more likely we will lose, because there will be so little to argue for.
5. Even if we win the referendum, knowing Gordon Brown, he will probably only make it indicative rather than binding and the incoming Tories will just ignore it.
If either Alan Johnson, John Denham or Jon Cruddas has resigned over this, they would have finished Brown and made their objective of getting a proportional system much easier. They decided they didn't want to be the assasin and instead we end up with an electoral fudge that will get us nowhere and may waste the best opportunity for reform for a generation. Groan!