History shows we can embrace change

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Oldham Road

Ripponden

What is it about the British and history? Just because we’ve been doing it this way for 150 years doesn’t make it right.

If that were so, we would not have abolished slavery and John Fielden would never have got the Ten Hour Act through Parliament, limiting the hours children could work in his, and others’, mills.

Allan Dobson (Your say, April 16) doesn’t want our historic first past the post system changing because it’s always been there. But it was introduced when the government of the UK was carved up between a handful of wealthy landowners who were either Whigs or Tories. We have moved on since then. We now have a universal franchise embracing a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faceted, multi-million society, where politics is no longer black or white, yes or no, labour or capital. We have a whole spectrum of political opinions that are not adequately reflected by the old two party carve-up.

On April 15, Scott Benton wheels out the old scare tactic that the Alternative Vote system will give extremists more say. Which begs the question of why the BNP are, like the Conservative Party, opposed to AV?

They’re actually a bit brighter than they sometimes appear, and they’ve worked out that AV will reduce their chances of winning, unless they get more than 50% of first preference votes. (And if they get that, they deserve to win, whatever we might think of their politics.)

In the more likely case where they split the voting in a particular constituency, they’re not likely to pick up many second choice votes from supporters of any of the mainstream parties. So they’re unlikely to win. Contrast that with the present system under which the BNP have had councillors elected with less than 30% support. Now that’s scary. As for the broader reasons for supporting AV, I cannot improve on the excellent letter from Councillor Nader Fekri on April 18. As he says, it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. Let’s not fear change, but embrace it.

Tim Kirker