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History

Who speaks for historians? #YestoAV

Twenty-five historians, coordinated by Conservative MP Chris Skidmore, have written to the Times, claiming that AV would be a betrayal of the sacrifice of past generations of democracy campaigners. But claiming to speak for the dead on a referendum they never contemplated seems to us a betrayal of academic standards that we as historians hold dear.

They claim to speak for historians, indeed for history, in defending FPTP. But as on any such serious political question, historians are as divided as the population at large. The notion that “History teaches us to vote ‘No to AV’”, as the Times headline put it, or that it gives any such clear lesson on the rightful configuration of the voting system again leads us to question the signatories’ scholarly acumen in supporting this petition.

Invoking the spirit of Winston Churchill on account of his 1931 objection to AV is a cheap bid for public resonance and bad use of historic example. His opposition to votes for women and to the introduction of direct elections in India make him a poor guide to future voting systems.

It is misleading to claim that under AV one citizen’s vote could be “worth six times that of another”. Instant run-off voting, of which AV is a form, retains the equal vote which the signatories of the Times letter fear is under threat. Further research would have shown that its compatibility with the principle of voter equality has already been tested in court in the US, where it was found that “no voter is given greater weight in his or her vote over the vote of another voter”.

Simon Szreter
Pat Thane
Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal

 

Categories
History

Keep Calm and Ignore the Right Wing Press…

Was this in response to…?:

Categories
History

Party Manifestos

The Guardian front page provides an interesting juxtaposition of images from the party manifestos. I immediately was reminded of much of the Soviet style influence on Second World War posters, including the poster that started it all for me “Women of Britain: Come Into the Factories“. Read the information in the box, and a similar story. For a closer look:

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History

Gordon Brown’s Record

I think it was inevitable after all the posters about David Cameron, that any poster produced in support of Gordon Brown was going to be subverted. This is going to be a really interesting election, as people (if they wish), will have so much more access to information, and every piece of party propaganda produced is likely to be subverted in many different ways, at very high speed… and this is just something that each political party is not going to be able to control. Cartoonists have always been able to give a a subversive message with regards to party politics, but this time the voices will be louder as all get involved! Thanks to Jas for bringing my attention to this via Twitter, and check out his recent post on the need for Government to provide funding for further development in Computer Science.

Categories
History

Seen on Campus Today