Can someone please explain to me why the Alternative Voting System is such a good idea? I am honestly interested. Ok I understand the politics of it - Gordon Brown is trying to woo Lib Dem voters. I have never really understood the appeal of AVS or proportional representation. As far as I can tell AVS will have no real impact in constituencies with large majorities and I fear that in marginal seats it will encourage candidates to be as vanilla as possible in the hope they can pick up second preference votes. Doesn't an AVS system result in the triumph of the least worst candidate, rather than the best or indeed most popular candidate? As someone recently pointed out to me, it was the system by which Harriet Harman became Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.
And while I am at it, I would love to know why we are thinking giving the vote to 16 and 17-year olds. With fewer and fewer under 24s are bothering to vote, it seems slightly odd that we would wish to the extend an invitation for apathy to school children.
Instead of trying to tinker with the voting system, shouldn't the political parties be seeking to engage effectively with voters to restore confidence in politics and the political institutions?