STV for local government in England and Wales must remain our first priority in 2015. (Scotland and Northern Ireland already have it.)
This is because the result of the 2011 AV referendum set back reform for electing MPs and reform for local government is more immediately attainable.
Even so, the case for reforming parliamentary elections remains strong and is becoming stronger.
The following all add to the case:
• Increased devolution for Scotland.
• The prospect of another balanced parliament in May.
• The prospect of UKIP voters being under-represented in May. If that happens and especially if UKIP gets more votes but fewer MPs than the Lib Dems, the Daily Mail and Daily Express may experience an epiphany and see the advantages of reform. Then we may acquire some unusual allies.
• The possibility that, in May, voters will move right as many switch from Conservative to UKIP but the Commons will move left as these switches split the right-of-centre vote and give more seats to Labour.
• Concern about low election turnouts, particularly the Select Committee’s current enquiry into voter engagement.
• The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which is likely to stimulate debate about democracy.
Many people, who have never even heard of STV, know instinctively there is something wrong but they do not know quite what the problem is or how to solve it. For example, they may be concerned that some MPs may claim more expenses than they should, but they don’t know that STV would let them vote against an individual MP without voting against the party.
So, let’s keep local government reform as our top priority but let’s also keep parliamentary reform in the public eye and take every opportunity to explain how STV could help solve so many problems.
Please see http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-independent-view-stv-for-local-government-in-2015-43949.html#comment-331266 for an article and discussion about STV in local government.