Where’s the offer we can’t refuse?

I keep being told by Labour commentators and supporters that for the Lib Dems to do a deal with the Conservatives would be to walk away from the only chance of the electoral reform that the Lib Dems have always fought for. I keep being told that only Labour offers that chance.

I’m certainly not sanguine about what Cameron is likely to offer, but I am starting to wonder about the smoke and mirrors on the other side as well. Obviously, Labour has had thirteen years of vast parliamentary majorities to reform the system and restrained their eagerness, so we are right to be cynical about their late conversion.

But they could have blown all that doubt away – and put the Lib Dems in a tricky bind – if they had come out immediately after the election and very publicly made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Brown gone, Citizens Convention, referendum on STV, open to generous negotiation on all other Lib Dem policies. Something so obviously better than what we’re likely to get out of Cameron that Clegg might be tempted to go against common sense, honour and democracy and seek an alliance of the two smaller parties against the larger one.

This would have been absolutely impossible on Friday, of course, when Clegg stuck to his word and allowed the party with the most votes to take the first shot at government. But there have been three days of talks with the Conservatives now, with amicable briefing on both sides; no-one can say Clegg hasn’t tried. If he’s not getting the results we want, the imperatives on him to stay in negotiations with Cameron shrink by the hour. I’m not sure Clegg would do it anyway – I suspect the democratic instinct is too strong. But it would be worth Labour having a try, wouldn’t it, if only to show him up?

So where’s the offer that could tip the balance? Why hasn’t it been on the table since Saturday morning, when Sunny first pointed out the need for Labour to give Clegg a proper incentive? Why are we still today hearing briefing noises about AV, for god’s sake, a system not even proportional and can sometimes be more disproportional than FPTP? What do all the Labour supporters who chanted “We want PR” in Smith Square on Saturday think of the fact that their party of choice hasn’t actually put down a firm commitment to it?

Honestly?

I doubt Labour wants a LibLab coalition at all. I don’t think they care enough about electoral reform to go after it – the majority of their MPs certainly don’t. Think about this from their tribal point of view. If we go into alliance with the Tories, we’ll be wiped out in the north, Wales and worst of all Scotland. Labour are looking at the prospect of winning back all the votes it has lost to us over the last ten years and laying claim to being the “only progressive party”. The only conceivable drawback to this plan for them is that it doesn’t involve electoral reform. And Labour’s MPs don’t, by and large, don’t care about electoral reform, or have the habit of listening to the grassroots that do.

Labour are doing what they, by design of Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, have always been best at doing: creating enough sound and fury to seem like they are mounting a passionate argument. But the substance is not there. The necessaries have never actually been done, and as things stand no real prospect of a LibLab deal has been created. So, if and when a Lib/Con deal is concluded, expect Labour to suddenly and smoothly slip into wounded innocent  progressive gear.

54 Comments

      1. No I think it is a reference to the ad above the comments for takebackparliament with a request that people sign the petition. Could be wrong.

      2. Internet convention for when you want to express agreement with what has been written, i.e. “sign it” – posing as pseudo-code.

        Testify works, if I get my Rage on, or “Word”.

        I want to see a progressive alliance but Labour aren’t really being very progressive at the moment.

  1. Umm… just thinking out loud here but even if there is a LibLab coalition, then that’s 315. Which is the same as the Conservatives plus the DUP (assuming for the moment that Thirsk and Malton declines to break with 125 years of tradition and does elect a conservative). Now, obviously most of the other non-big-3 seats are nationalist and / or left leaning, but that’s still not a massively safe majority….

    So even if Clegg were offered something so good that he were tempted to go against common sense, honour etc, there’s a strong chance it would profiteth him nothing. Doubly so if, say, a vote of no confidence was forced.

    1. Of course, it would be very difficult in practice, and getting the Lib Dems attention would only be the start. But most people won’t know those exact numbers. Labour do have a chance to at least look genuine here, and they’re passing it up.

      1. As Sein Fien (argh, Irish words) don’t take up their seats you only really need 323 to govern as a majority.

        So the electoral maths isn’t as terrifying as it might have been.

        Still going to be hard to get STV through any coalition given people like Tom Harris and Jeremy Corbyn are dead set against it. Douglas Carswell will break ranks but I can think of few others.

        1. Take your point, but think it supports mine, in that I can’t see Sinn Féin ever supporting the conservatives, so it’s not seats that will be taken away from them, whereas the DUP almost certainly will.

          So hypothetical LibLab and Tory+DUP get same vote share, and the SNP and Plaid get to decide everything. Which is, I’ll grant, electoral reform of a sort. Probably not the one the electorate are apparently so keen for, though, I’ll warrant.

  2. How can capitulation to a gang of criminals bankrolled by foreigners have anything to do with “honour”?

    Selling out to the Tories wouldn’t just detroy the Party in the North, it would destroy it everywhere. We would be down to the 6 seats of the 1950s.

    1. Our honour, not theirs. Clegg said he’d allow the party with the biggest “mandate” to attempt to form a government. The Tories got the most votes and the most seats. By any standards, they had the biggest mandate. To go back on this, right from the off, would have been unthinkable.

    2. Do we have evidence that everyone who votes Lib Dem does so out of hatred for the Tories, or are voting intentions based on something positive?

      1. In short, no, there is no real evidence that I know of and you can read the LD vote however you want. By and large, the media still views the Lib Dems as an annexe of the Labour party, and everything it says is coloured by this perception. Polling frequently reinforces it by asking Lib Dem voters how they’d vote tactically, or who they’d prefer as PM if they couldn’t have Clegg. How many of the respondents actually feel that Labour and the Lib Dems are on the same side, and how many just have a view of Labour as “very marginally less bad than the Tories” (or even “better the government we know”) is another matter.

        My anecdatal opinion is that a lot of it is total horse piss, and there’s no lack of people voting positively for the Lib Dems (if nothing else because some of the MPs are very good). However, I imagine it’s also true to say that a decent chunk of our vote hates the Tories so viscerally that they’d withdraw their support next election in the event of a coalition. This chunk will be concentrated in certain geographical areas, which will allow it to do colossal damage.

  3. I can’t help but think that we may be as royally buggered as Edward II.

    Can’t we just organise a coup? I’m free Wednesday afternoon – meet you round the back of portcullis house bike sheds…

    1. Oh, I think we are. But no route was free of buggery. Anyone who thinks it would have been easier to negotiate with Labour is deluding themselves. Labour, with their usual arrogance, have had three days to make it easy, and haven’t lifted a finger.

      1. Oh, in complete agreement – in fact, originally wrote that but deleted it in favour of a cheap joke. But can’t help feeling that for Labour, watching the tories tit up the economy and Lib Dems haemorrhage votes and members while still not getting STV might be worth a couple of years on the other side of the dispatch box. Plus, like you say, they’ll get to do moral indignation and pretend they are hip and down with the kids. Campbell and Mandelson playing the long game?

      2. They did have that secret meeting over the weekend though with Brown. The press must be loving this. It has all the makings of a love-triangle/teen romance/”bad romance” a la L. Gaga

  4. We’re pretty much on the same page. Labour are drooling over us doing a deal with the Tories like a bloodhound drools over a bone. I guess it depends what comes out of it, though. The challenge on us is to demonstrate that we can take the sting out of the Tories while at the same time asking what exactly Labour have done for them.

  5. Brown’s protracted resignation, coming some days after the election, seems on the face of it, a game changer.

    But I think Alix’s analysis still holds. This is Labour improvisation on a discredited theme, with death bed conversion to the electoral/political reform that only days before, they were dismissing.

    Lib Dems are in danger of being seen as ‘playing politics’ with ‘national and economic stability’ by those not well disposed towards us. I see a coalition with either the Tories or Labour as being a poisoned chalice.

    Time has moved on, and even without Brown’s announcement, the game has changed. We look foolish for wanting more detail from the Tories on key policies at this stage. Is that just playing for time? Or are we looking for a deal breaker?

    What I would like the Lib Dems to do is to offer limited co-operation – the Queen’s Speech and the economy being priorities and in return, the promise of a referendum within 2 years on electoral/political reform.

    This may be throwing away the best prospects of ‘real’ power for a generation. But we would come away with integrity and considerable goodwill of the electorate for not acting in purely party political interests.

    And we would keep the party together, in good spirits and proud that we walked away from both the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea!

  6. I think we need to pay attention to the motivation of the Tories and Labour here because what they’re each offering doesn’t really matter unless you look at their ability to deliver on it.

    First, the Tories:

    They have made a nice sounding offer; a referendum on AV, but all they want is Cameron in No10. Reform is toxic to them. They would take some heat for breaking the coalition but, crucially, probably not from their own supporters. They would be a minority government, but probably close enough to a majority to cling on without facing a vote of no confidence, for a while at least.

    In other words, words is all they are really offering.

    Now, Labour:

    Labour are on the ropes. They need this coalition to work even more than the Lib Dems do. There may some old dogs in the party that don’t want reform, but even they know that letting down the Dems would break the coalition and result in a very poor result for them at the election that would be sure to follow. Also, lets not forget, reform has been in their manifesto for a long time*.

    Of course, to work, the rainbow coalition needs the small parties on board too. Fortunately, their interests are better served inside the coalition than outside it and I really don’t think they will be as willing to leave or as able to wield as much power as it might appear on the surface.

    When you analyse what each party wants most from this situation, the rainbow coalition is the one where all the members wishes align. Perhaps counter-intuitively it is likely to be both the more stable, and the best able to deliver electoral reform.

    *I don’t consider “they’ve had 13 years to deliver” a valid argument. Electoral reform is suicide for any party with a majority and the electorate weren’t behind it until now. Blair or Brown would have been doomed if they’d tried it and it would have been voted down in seconds by their own MPs. Reform of this sort can ONLY be born of a hung parliament and Labour may be more willing to deliver it than commentators think.

  7. Labour are on the ropes. They need this coalition to work even more than the Lib Dems do.

    otherwise adumbrated as “Labour are so desperate they will do almost anything we want therefore we should go with them.”

    Reform might have been in their manifesto for a long time, but so was a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Do you remember one? I remember a court case in which the legal precedent was established that ‘manifesto promises are not subject to legitimate expectation” but I can’t for the life of me recall any form of vote.

    And do you really think that a coalition that depends on the votes of the Scottish and Welsh nationalists will by a byword for stability? ‘Counter-intuitive’ is right. ‘Counterfactual’ is possible.

    Electoral reform seems to be whatever the opposite of an elephant in the room is.* Its the only thing that all the small parties agree on.

    *a mythical elephant that isn’t standing outside the window?

    1. otherwise adumbrated as “Labour are so desperate they will do almost anything we want therefore we should go with them.”

      Essentially, yes. And that makes going with them a bad decision why? (unless you are a Tory, in which case I know why)

      And do you really think that a coalition that depends on the votes of the Scottish and Welsh nationalists will by a byword for stability?

      Well, no. I don’t. Don’t think I said I did. Said it would be more stable than one with the Tories who will go back on their word the instant Cameron’s foot touches the doormat of No10.

      As for the small parties, reform may well be all we agree on, but in return for their support over it, they will get some small concessions. That’s rather more than they’ll get outside of a coalition and they won’t get electoral reform then either. I know what I’d do if I was them.

      1. And that makes going with them a bad decision why? (unless you are a Tory, in which case I know why)

        well, I am – I only come here for the craic – but that’s by the by.* It makes going with Labour a bad idea because it calls into question the idea that they are entering negotiations for creating meaningful government. They are doing so in rank desperation. I submit that your reading is actually topsy-turvy. The negotiations with the tories have taken four days becauase it takes a long time to hammer out a workable compromise, especially when there are a lot of things you don’t necessarily agree on (as is the case with all three partues). Whereas the Labour party is pleading for its political life. It’ll say anything and then resent everything it gave away in the future. And, when it does, it will still have a lot more seats than the LDs. Not to mention having form for shamelessly reneging on promises, however big or important. Oh, I’m not pretending that the tories are paragons of virtue, but I’d always trust someone more who is negotiating from a position of comparative strength.

        *viz I don’t make any bones about it, so I may have an agenda, but it’s not a hidden one.

  8. If we go into alliance with the Tories, we’ll be wiped out in the north, Wales and worst of all Scotland.

    Re the last of these, do you think so? The reality is that the Lib Dems (I hesitate to say “we” as I haven’t been a member for a while) aren’t that strong in Scotland anyway.

    We (I slipped) are primarily strong in some largely rural areas where the Tories are viewed more with apathy than antipathy. It’s difficult to judge – and I could be very wrong – but I suspect any loss of anti-Tory votes would be sufficiently countered by a shift to AV alone.

    1. This is a very good point, which is worth unpacking more. Assuming we get AV with the Tories (a big assumption, I grant you), the electoral effects on us may be minimal. Disaffected Labour voters who switched to Lib Dems over Iraq & civil liberties by and large went back to their natural home in this election, thanks to Labour’s effective GOTV operation in Lib/Lab seats. If we look at one of our northern targets, Newcastle North (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newcastle_upon_Tyne_North_%28UK_Parliament_constituency%29), it’s clear that AV would produce a significant boost for us – all those Tory and UKIP voters aren’t going to put Labour as their second preference. The same would be true in other redeveloped post-industrial areas.

      1. I was thinking solely of Scotland – although I didn’t word my comment very well – but I agree with what you say re seats like Newcastle North. The assumption that Lib Dem votes are “anti-Tory votes” plainly makes no sense in a seat like that.

        AV is pretty rubbish, really [hmm, must get better slogan for referendum campaign posters…], but it’s better than FPTP and likely to produce more proportional (but still not very proportional) results.

        And realistically, what else is there? Cameron almost certainly can’t whip his backbenchers to support anything beyond an AV referendum. A Lib Dem-Labour coalition with a large working majority might have been able to contain a backbench rebellion and deliver something beyond AV, but that’s not an option. As it is, a Lib Dem-Labour agreement would be unlikely to be able to deliver even that.

        More to the point, opponents of PR have successfully peddled the line for years that it would lead to Italian-style government. That’s nonsense, but it’s got a lot of traction in British political discourse, and there’s a real risk of reinforcing it. A “progressive alliance” would have such a fragile working majority, and be so vulnerable to Nationalist whims, that it would confirm everyone’s worst prejudices about coalition government and screw the chances of ever delivering real change for at least a generation, if not more.

  9. Hi Alix,

    What do you think about Labour’s offer? Bringing in AV immediately, followed by a referendum on a PR system (presume AV+ but AV in single member constituencies is a good basis for STV). Better than having a referendum on AV (lol, Tories).

    Are Take Back Parliament going to launch flashmobs and DOS attacks on Labour, particularly its skullfuckingly selfish MPs like Tom “Twat” Harris, to get them to agree to a deal? No? Thought not.

    Stick to your guns. Get the best deal you can.

    Mark

    1. Well, I’d actually prefer a referendum whatever happens, to be honest. Voting for us was going to be the country saying it wanted electoral reform, but since only 23% of the country did that, we have to give them a referendum really. So I don’t think the AV offer from Labour changes anything.

      The referendum on PR might, yes. But I’ve just heard on the Beeb that the LibLab talks broke down because Labour wouldn’t move on *civil liberties*. And if you think electoral reform was a deal breaker for the Lib Dems, you ain’t seen nothing yet…

      1. “only 23% of the country did that”

        I don’t think that’s the right conclusion to draw from the election result. I support PR but voted Labour tactically (which I now regret). It would be akin to saying 99% of people don’t care about the environment because the Green Party only got 1% of the vote.

        Lol, civil liberties. Labour deserve to die if that’s the issue they wouldn’t budge on.

        1. It would be akin to saying 99% of people don’t care about the environment because the Green Party only got 1% of the vote.

          But that’s a different sort of claim. There’s a clear difference between using the 23% vote figure to assert that the majority of the country don’t support PR (patently wrong) and using it to assert that the new Parliament doesn’t have a mandate to introduce PR (possibly correct).

        2. I wish I could agree on this – obviously many, many people will have voted tactically. But the trouble is no-one can attribute motive to votes or you can make them say anything you like. So I wouldn’t feel completely justified in making it count for everything. Should its lack be enough to scupper a deal? Maybe, if I had the casting vote. But I can also see the argument for actually making a coalition government work.

          But if it happens, and *if* we get a referendum on AV, we’ll have to think about whether to go for the win or not (which would be tough to pull off even if we decided it was definitely desirable) and what form lobbying of the future government should take. I’d certainly think about switching any campaigning time I might have to that end rather than to party stuff (though it would depend to what extent 38 Degrees, VfaC etc turn into Lib Dem bashing vehicles).

          For my money, there is actually progress to be made with the Tories on ER. They’re at a disadvantage under the current system (inasmuch as their mortal enemies get a better deal than they do). The grassroots aren’t as 100% opposed to it as the MPs, so far as I can see.

  10. Hi Alix,

    Worth noting that the Lib Dems have done literally nothing to make a deal with Labour possible. We’ve had senior cabinet ministers urging our supporters to vote Lib Dem before the election, and our leader stepped down after it. And a referendum on PR.

    Just a thought that Lab/Lib coalition might have required you guys to make some concessions in order to happen.

    1. Other than, say, breaking off talks with the Tories to go to Labour, and refraining from stuffing the media with people saying it would never work and they’d rebel against the coalition? Yes, I can quite see how by calmly turning up and hearing Labour’s pitch, the LDs didn’t do enough…

      Seriously, Labour don’t have the numbers to deliver on the PR promise. That has become all the more obvious during the day. Given the diciness of the PR promise WHOEVER it comes from, if there was no movement on civil liberties, education and taxes from Labour (all of which have been the subject of LD/Con discussions) then I’m not surprised the talks failed. Left wingers like Evan Harris and Vince Cable are now saying the Labour offer wasn’t good enough. Harris in particular gains nothing whatsoever from saying so, and earlier today on CiF was backing a LibLab deal as the lesser of the two evils.

  11. As we now know of course the trouble with Labour’s promise of electoral reform is

    a: They aren’t willing to offer anything else
    b: Ed Balls is a mentalist/determined talks should fail
    c: They didn’t actually tell the parliamentary Labour party about their offer
    d: The parliamentary Labour party, especially (random chance!) people like Tom Harris whose seats may depend on FPTP are unusually attached to it and say they would be happy to sabotage any deal based on electoral reform out of sheer, total principle.

    Vote Labour, Get Cameron
    or, as I suggested on his blog before he removed it
    Vote Harris, Get Idiot

    1. I voted Labour to get a hung parliament. I regret that now. I will join the Lib Dems, who have shown maturity throughout and a willingness to risk electoral suicide to be constructive and actually try to achieve something, as opposed to Labour who relish the chance to be irrelevant in opposition and scuppered the LibLab deal.

      1. Gosh, ta. And ta also if he comes back to Mark Lightwood, whom I’m pretty sure *may* have said something similar, but can’t find which blog he said it on now. At this rate, we may have as many as five supporters left by 2015.

        In the interests of openness, I primly urge you to read the manifesto before you join if you haven’t already. I think part of the problem we’re going to have at the next election is that lots of people vote for us because they think we’re Labour Lite – a guilt-free way of voting for something that’s not a Tory. I understand where that perception comes from (and for goodness’ sake, we went into this election with many of the most left-wing manifesto commitments). But I’d actually like scales to fall from eyes now. We’re left wing, but we’re not centralisers, and we’re not socialists or collectivists, and if you are then you probably need to join the Greens. I *think* most of the membership would agree with that.

        1. Ah, yes, thx for the namecheck. I will look at the LD manifesto. The issue I have with unions and old Labour is that it’s all about the bloc vote – counting millions of people as blocs to be used as playthings by fat sweaty men at the top. Liberalism puts the individual first, and understands that if you want a good society, you need to treat people well at an individual level, and treat them first as individuals. Encourage them to get involved, of course, but they have to be free to choose that path.

          As I said below, I perfectly understand the thing about not being Labour. I think a lot of people were confused by Iraq, tuition fees, ID cards, etc. The LDs opposed them on the basis of liberal values, not because of an arbitrary left-right division (a division which, in the light of today’s events, looks pretty irrelevant).

          On issue after issue, leftie liberals lined up with the LDs on those issues plus the environment, political reform, and so on. But now they’re saying the LDs have sold out because working with right-wingers makes one right-wing.

          I will admit, don’t know about others, that what stopped me from joining before were two things:

          1) I joined the Greens because I thought I was a socialist, and that we needed this big massive economic solution to all these problems, and

          2) The “Economic liberals/market liberals” within the LD who veered towards the Tories.

          What I’ve realised is that liberalism is a complex philosophy that can lead one to both social liberal views and economic views – and that on most of the important issues, these two views coincide.

          I am pragmatic: I don’t care if labourism or liberalism gives us a more prosperous, equal and happy society. I don’t care if it’s the big state or the small state. All I know is that we’ve tried centre-left statism to solve our problems for 13 years, and whilst it’s done some good things, it’s intrinsic nature has led it to a lot of inequality and illiberal and intolerant shit.

          Time for a new direction, and I for one am optimistic that the areas where the two parties in govt agree provide a lot of opportunities to try to achieve social good without a massive state, and all the crap that comes with it.

        2. What I’ve realised is that liberalism is a complex philosophy that can lead one to both social liberal views and economic views – and that on most of the important issues, these two views coincide.

          Amen. Though personally I remain convinced that the two are mutually dependent. I never understood how Tebbit et al could bang on and on about the freedom of the individual until that included the freedom to consensually sleep with who you want, or smoke what you wanted. It struck me as massive hypocrisy. In much the same way, I can’t quite get why it’s a good thing to be socially liberal but not economically…

      2. Let’s just hope enough voters are like you and hear the truth above the spin; I’ve a feeling the next few campaigns north of the border are going to be brutal with the phrase ‘yellow Tory’ used a lot.

        If I were Cowley Street I’d be keeping a careful collection of press clippings which attribute the breakdown of talks to Balls, Blunkett, Harris and the like.

        1. I guess we’ll have to depend on the persuasiveness of Deputy Clegg (close friends get to call him ‘DC’).

          I’m not looking forward to by-elections, or indeed Malton & Thirsk. (Is that a by-election? A post-election? Para-election?) I guess we should be praying for the very good health of all MPs for the next few years.

  12. Thank you for the sheer rationalism (well, what else?) of this, Alix:
    “no-one can attribute motive to votes or you can make them say anything you like”

    Too many people across the blogosphere who think they can play mindreader with millions of individuals. A vote’s a vote, it’s not a complex expression of detailed policy preference. MPs can reasonably be called to account over the things they said to get elected, but not over the things people may have thought or wished for when they elected them. (Oh, do feel free to disentangle that sentiment. Having spent most of the last five days hanging around the internet, I’ve got too much work to do…)

    1. Spot on. Did all those saying “we’ve been betrayed, I’ll never vote Lib Dem again, I’m joining Labour/the Greens” write on their ballot paper when they voted Lib Dem “not to be counted in the event the Conservatives are the largest party”?

      If they wanted a Labour government, why didn’t they vote Labour?

      1. Because they wanted a Labour government with all the bad bits taken out. The trouble is Ed Balls and a significant number of the backbenchers wanted a Labour government with the bad bits kept in or none at all. There is a significant portion of the LibDem vote, brought to the party under Charlie Kennedy, which basic thought it ‘well I love the way Labour throws money at problems, but I wish it didn’t have to kill Iraqis or set up a police state at the same time’. It’s easy enough to sniff and say ‘good riddance’ but sadly we need the votes of silly people just as much as sensible ones. It’s no exaggeration to say the next election is going to be nightmarish unless we get at least AV for it.

        1. Then get ready for a nightmare. There is no way that a referendum on AV is going to win a Yes vote. Always supposing that Uncle Dave lets you hold the referendum in the first place (and, let’s face it, breaking the promise outright is as easy as working around it), the following groups will be voting No:

          Conservatives and their supporters, backed by a massive media campaign. Tories have their own plans for electoral reform, and it doesn’t involve AV. They want FPTP with gerryman…er, adjusted constituency boundaries.

          Labour and their supporters, who do better out of FPTP than anyone else (though they may be looking on nervously at the gerryman…er, adjusted constituency boundaries.

          Anyone interested in real electoral reform, who will not be persuaded that a vote for AV is a step in the right direction. They will see it, correctly, as an attempt to kick PR into the long grass for another generation.

        2. But “supporters” are a pretty small group. I doubt that Conservative or Labour *voters* are necessarily going to be hostile to AV. (Indeed, the polling evidence would suggest otherwise.) But the real question is who is actually going to campaign on the “yes” side, and that is a definite problem.

          I also doubt that “anyone interested in real electoral reform” is going to vote no. It’s true that a yes vote would kick further reform into the long grass. But a no vote will be held up as an endorsement of FPTP and kick it even further into that direction. The referendum is a lose-lose situation for supporters of real electoral reform – but paradoxically, it may be the best they’re going to get. (Of course, this assumes that AV is an improvement on FPTP, which is up for debate.)

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