Leo Johnson, Year 13, comments on the visit: On Monday 4th April, 5 St James Pupils attended the Gladstone Club. The Gladstone Club meetings take place at the National Liberal Club. The aim of the club is to ensure all members are politically aware of current affairs and thus arrange a variety of appropriate speakers to address the clubs members on such matters at regular intervals every 6 weeks or so. On this occasion the subject was the Alternative Vote (AV) vs First Past the Post (FPTP).
The meeting took place as a debate on the implementation of the AV system in Westminster elections. This was a highly topical issue with a referendum on the AV system being held on the 5th May. The meeting began with the inaugural pre speech drinks, introductions by the club’s Chairman and an introduction to the workings of the alternative voting system. This was then followed by the speaker for the AV system. This speech was centred on the fact that the AV system will make MP’s work harder for their communities because voters have more than one choice that can be taken into account if a 50% majority is not achieved, after the first choice votes have been counted. The speaker who spoke against AV focussed his speech on the fact that AV is currently only used in 3 countries, Australia, Fiji and Papa New Guinea and 50 currently use FPTP. Therefore the system if it was truly what it is cracked up to be by the Yes Campaign, why isn’t it used in more countries currently?
There was then plenty of time for questions from the floor , in which some interesting points were made. These ranged from not criticising those who vote for the BNP to the poor performance of MP’s who are in “safe seats”. Overall the evening was thoroughly enjoyable and was enjoyed by those who attended with all possibly attending in the future.