Not only is the upcoming AV vote only giving the UK voters a limited choice, it also turns out that there is no official body to oversee how referenda such as this are run and ensure they are run fairly.

On the 5th May 2011 the UK electorate will be asked to vote in a referendum as well as for the local elections.

The referendum is on whether we continue to use the traditional First Past the Post (FPTP) system or whether we adopt the Alternative Vote (AV) procedure.

But there are several issues with the way this referendum is being conducted.

Firstly, and possibly most importantly, the electorate are being offered the choice of just two options. They are not being given the chance to vote on the UK adopting full Proportional Representation (PR), which many experts believe would be far preferable to either FPTP or AV.

What we should have been offered is two referenda about this issue. The first to see whether there was an appetite to change then, if there was such an appetite, a second referendum to choose the type of voting system we would use. This is the system New Zealand used to adopt PR. Why not the UK?

Secondly, as the BBC points out, there is no body with the power to oversee a referendum and ensure it is run properly and fairly. This became apparent after LibDem minister Chris Huhne threatened to take legal action after he said that the Tory ministers backing the No to AV campaign were telling 'untruths' over the cost of adopting AV.

There are also other problems.

Not all areas in the UK are having local elections so the turn out to vote purely on AV may be very low in those areas so skewing the results.

There is also the issue of further electoral reform. Whatever the outcome it could be argued that 'the people have spoken' and no more moves on electoral reform would see the light of day for several decades.

And then of course at the moment many more people are worried about other issues, such as keeping their homes and jobs in the current economic climate. Not voting in a bogus referendum that is really just a semi-sop to the minority member of the coalition party.

With all the venom being spat about at the moment this referendum could well turn out to be a mistake and truly turn round and bite the coalition in the backside.

This referendum is just half a vote for the people of the UK. It seems that the mother of all democracies still has a lot to learn.

Comment Here!