20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 3

IAberals and the Alternative Vote Speaking at Cleekheaton last Saturday

Sir John Simon

repeated his objections to Mr. Lloyd George's tactical arrangement with the Government. Evidently he does not consider that the Alternative Vote, which the Liberal Party expects to get by keeping the Government in, is " worth a Mass," It is also well known that he would dislike any tampering with the Trade Disputes Act. Ile claimed his right to independent judgment and said that if necessary he would act independently. Meanwhile, Mr. Lloyd George has carried his Party with him, although many Liberals agree with Sir John Simon that the Alternative Vote will hardly help them at all. In a letter to the Times Mr. W. S. Rowntrce shows that at the election of 1924 1,456,702 votes in twelve adjacent counties returned 84 out of 85 members leaving only one member to represent the remaining 929,599 votes. Iie points out, however, that the Alternative Vote would have given the two minorities only members at most. instead of " their proper number " of 33 members. Sir John Simon wants Proportional Representation or nothing. Proportional Representation is. we admit, beautiful upon paper. It gives everybody his electoral rights ; but unfortunately it is apt to provide such an exquisitely balanced representation of interests that usually no particular interest has the numerical strength to do anything. The Labour Party will not touch P. R., but the Lords might confound the Government by insert- ing it in the Electoral Reform Bill. How would the Liberals vote then ?