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Let them AV it

I have just posted my vote in favour of AV. A key factor for me was the rising influence and power of the European Union, with the recently published draft mortgage credit directive being the latest piece of EU legislation about to be imposed on us.

Because the UK already has more mortgage regulation than any other EU state, this is a sledgehammer to crack a nut as far as the UK is concerned, although it may be helpful for some member states.

The rationale for introducing the mortgage credit directive is to harmonise mortgage markets across all member states, which the EU expects will increase competition. Trying to integrate EU mortgage markets is pointless unless the legal processes in buying and selling property and the operation of credit reference agencies across the EU are reconciled.

Neither point is addressed in the draft directive, apart from a passing reference, and so its basic objective is doomed to failure even before it is finalised.

You may be wondering what has all this got to do with the AV referendum. If you cast your mind back to the last EU election, you may recall UKIP came second to the Conservatives, with about 17 per cent of the vote. However, its share of the vote at the general election, as with the other minor parties, was way down in single figures, despite the fact that the two major parties between them managed to attract less than two-thirds of votes cast.

The negative campaigning of the no camp has been based partly on the flawed claim that AV will help the BNP, a claim easily disproved by the fact that the BNP is campaigning for a no vote.

AV would eliminate the need for tactical voting as everyone could cast their first-preference vote for who they really want to support, knowing that if that candidate attracts insufficient votes, their second preference still counts. It is logical to assume with such a voting system that UKIP would get a similar number of first-preference votes to what it achieves in the EU election.

UKIP may still not win any seats in a general election but it would be much harder for the elected government to continue to ignore the wishes of, say, 17 per cent of the electorate.

Ray Boulger is senior technical manager at John Charcol

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