The Impact of AV
The use of the Alternative Vote delivered the Labour Party a leader who was not their first choice. They're stuck with Ed Miliband now - and he may yet prove more impressive than his over-rated brother (see below) - but the impact of AV on General Elections has now been given a more in depth academic study in Parliamentary Affairs magazine. Tory blogger Iain Dale has referenced the new article with the gloss that AV would reward the Lib Dems with almost permanent king-maker status. This certainly seems to be the conclusion of the research done using the 2010 election data by the article's authors. However, voters are nothing if not unpredictable, and as the German experience shows, king-making parties too can suffer the wrath of the voters, who may choose to reject them completely. AV is a flawed system certainly, and it is a poor PR alternative to offer the voters in the proposed referendum, but Mr. Dale's concerns may be a bit presumptuous even so. The full article is here (requires pdf to read), and while it is a thorough study of the various ways AV would have affected the 2010 election, it does admittedly require a bit of fortitude to get through all of the statistical peregrinations.