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18 April 2011

What Churchill really thought about first-past-the-post

The words that Cameron and John Reid ignored today.

By George Eaton

At his joint event with David Cameron this morning, John Reid became the latest No to AV figure to cite Winston Churchill’s warning that the Alternative Vote was “the stupidest, the least scientific and the most unreal” of all voting systems.

It’s always best to treat arguments from authority with a stiff dose of scepticism. But here’s one Churchill quote that Reid and Cameron aren’t so keen to draw attention to.

Churchill said of first-past-the-post:

The present system has clearly broken down. The results produced are not fair to any party, nor to any section of the community. In many cases they do not secure majority representation, nor do they secure an intelligent representation of minorities. All they secure is fluke representation, freak representation, capricious representation.

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If you’re going to quote Churchill in your favour, it’s always best to do your homework first.