Nick Clegg’s miserable little compromise (by Andrew Emmerson)

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The AV debate is up and running, it’s rattling on, and it’s starting to get nasty. However, there was just one thing I want to pick up on, amongst the many misquotings of the no campaign, the one i wanted to pick up on is this

Nick Clegg called AV a miserable little compromise

He didn’t, and it’s annoying the hell out of me that so many journalists, and TV programmes are so lazily quoting this without doing even a hint of research. Let’s give you the whole quote, in context before i explain it:

Mr Clegg said: “AV is a baby step in the right direction – only because nothing can be worse than the status quo. If we want to change British politics once and for all, we have got to have a quite simple system in which everyone’s votes count. We think AV-plus is a feasible way to proceed. At least it is proportional – and it retains a constituency link.

“The Labour Party assumes that changes to the electoral system are like crumbs for the Liberal Democrats from the Labour table. I am not going to settle for a miserable little compromise thrashed out by the Labour Party.”

The miserable little compromise line refers to two things within the context of the speech given: 1) Having previously offered AV+ to take a step back to AV is regressive, and the only compromise Brown could get his conservative MPs to support  2) That AV being in the Labour manifesto and STV in the Lib Dem manifesto, Labour can not simply offer the Lib Dems AV, and everything be brilliant, that the lib dems would fall straight into coalition without any movement on the system.

It’s worth nothing that Labour offered no move on their manifesto, AV or nothing, at least the Tories moved from FPTP to AV>

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