Anyone who has Ottaway spotting as a hobby – where you look for sightings of a rare old bird who does not often land in the vicinity of Croydon South – then next Wednesday, April 27, at Purley Baptist Church might be a good opportunity.
For Richard Ottaway, Croydon South’s local MP, is appearing on the platform at a debate over our future voting methods, alongside Gavin Barwell, Malcolm Wicks and the Carshalton and Wallington Lib Dem MP, Tom Brake.
The two Conservatives will be toeing their party line and backing the “status quo” option of keeping First Past The Post for Westminster elections. This is the voting method also favoured by the BNP. Meanwhile Brake and Croydon North’s Labour MP Wicks will be advocating that people should vote “Yes” on May 5 in favour of AV, or the Alternative Vote system.
The AV referendum was the minor concession offered by “Call Me Dave” Cameron to Nick Clegg to win over the Lib Dems’ support and shore up the minority Conservative government last May.
As the cracks begin to appear in the Westminster coalition over various issues, one obtuse point of view doing the rounds now is that, despite the Labour leadership backing AV, they have not opted for a central edict on how its supporters should vote. Because either way, they may win.
If AV is accepted, then the chances are that the Conservatives will struggle to ever manage to form a majority government at Westminster ever again.
Yet if the No campaign somehow wins, the fractures within the coalition will be irreconcilable, Clegg could lose the leadership of the LibDems, and without a workable majority in the Commons, Cameron would be forced to call another general election just when the VAT rise and the impact of all the cuts in spending are beginning to bite…