I have been having some email correspondence with Rupert Simons on the subject of AV, and thought I would post an excerpt from my latest email to him:

I am voting against AV. There are three killer arguments for me: 

  1. It is likely to be bad for the Conservatives and thus for repeal of the Hunting Act.
  2. It is too complicated to be transparent to voters. One of the great truths of the universe is that no system can ever be too simple for a human being, and the best are the simplest. FPTP and pure PR pass that test, but AV does not. 
  3. It is a whip-saw — you get bigger landslides on the one hand, and more hung parliaments on the other, and thus swing between excessively powerful government and government that includes little parties that few people wanted to see anywhere near the levers of power.

For what it’s worth, my prescription for constitutional reform is:

  1. Make all the constituencies the same size, even if they are in the regions.
  2. Introduce party-list PR to the House of Lords and give it veto power over the Commons but retain the Lords Appointments Commission for appointment to the party lists (i.e. keep the kind of people who get put in there at the moment, but give the place democratic legitimacy and real power). 

And that all fits with my belief in gradual change and absolutely not trying to design institutions and systems from scratch.