There is a somewhat crude irony that the Tories, as highlighted by ConservativeHome and Iain Dale, are arguing for a threshold on the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum to keep the First Past the Post (FPTP) status quo. The reason being that as recently as May 6th the majority of people in the United Kingdom supported a party that advocating a replacement of FPTP. Both Labour and the Lib Dems advocated change along with many of the minor parties.
There is another irony that on American Labor day the min supporter of AV at that election, the Labour Party are seemingly opposed to voting for it. Not they claim because of AV itself, but because it is paired with making the seats of equal size. Somehow they think that in making every vote have equal value that this is gerrymandering, many of us have yet to find this definition in any dictionary (of for that matter as a footnote or definition in the Blair memoir).
So the threshold argument is just one way to appease Tory MPs not happy with it being in the agreement, but the decision to have a referendum is in the agreement. The fact that the Tories want to have a threshold suggests to me that they know they will lose the argument against change. Be 'conservatives' change is never part of their remit.
AV means that some of those safe, almost hereditary, seats in the shires can't be handed out to some London based, Oxbridge graduated, loyalist for services rendered to the party. Who no more know their constituency that a tea leaf knows the history of the East India Company. Who have no more intention of living or staying in their constituency that the Loch Ness monster has of taking a regular bow to the tourists.
I'm no great supporter of AV, like Iain Dale I believe it is the least step away from AV , but unlike Iain I believe the people want and deserve more. They want a system that allows them greater proportionality. Many, like me, have never cast a vote that makes a difference in who our MP was, AV a least will give them that.
However, the more the advocates of FPTP try and argue that it is the best voting system out there for a multiple party system such as ours the more determined I am to get the referendum to pass on 5 May next year. Of course the first step is today getting it started on its path through the House of Commons.