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Historians against AV

Friday, March 11 2011


Twenty-nine of Britain’s leading historians have signed a letter which appeared in the Times today, urging Britain to vote NO to AV on May 5th.

The historians, who include many of Britain’s most respected historians, such as Antony Beevor, Niall Ferguson, Orlando Figes, Amanda Foreman, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Andrew Roberts, and David Starkey, have come together to voice their serious concerns about AV.

“For the first time since 1928 and the granting of universal suffrage, we face the possibility that one person’s casting ballot will be given greater weight than another”, they write in the letter.

Britain “cannot afford to have the fundamentally fair and historic principle of majority voting cast aside”.

They explain that AV has already been rejected twice in our history – the last time in 1931, when Winston Churchill spoke out passionately against it.

AV would mean that elections would be determined by “the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”, Churchill explained.

It was the “stupidest, the least scientific and the most unreal” voting system.

Chris Skidmore MP – a historian and a Conservative Spokesman on No to AV – helped organise the letter from historians. He said:

“The message from history is clear. Men and women have spent centuries fighting for a system based on the principle of one person, one vote. This principle is fundamentally fair.

If the Alternative Voting system is adopted, it will undermine centuries of reform and run counter to the history of our nation’s democracy – because AV threatens to break the principle of one man or woman, one vote.”

Find out more about our No to AV campaign here.

You can read the full text of the letter – and see the full list of signatories – in the reader below, or by clicking here.

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