Friday, 18 February 2011

AV. Just because...

On May 5th 2011 the UK will go to the polls, some for local elections, some to elect their devolved administrations and all to decide the fate of the electoral system. The referendum, on whether to change the voting system from First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) to the Alternative-Vote (AV), finally passed through the legislative process after much stalling from Labour and Conservative peers.

Personally I have already decided how to vote, and am well within the "Yes" camp. (There is also a "No" camp in case you were unaware.) This is partly to do with the myths that are being bandied about by the Nos - for example the statement that the change will cost £250 million is blatantly false. However my underlying reason for saying "Yes" is not to do with any of the arguments presented.

I am not sure that AV will make my vote count any more than it does at the moment, for that we need true proportional representation (PR). I do support the idea of MPs having to gain the approval of over 50% of their electorate in order to be elected, but am aware that there are situations that can make AV less proportional than FPTP.

My main reason for calling for a change is that of The Economist in their verdict on the 2004 USA Presidential Election. Both George Bush and John Kerry were terrible, either in their campaigning or their actions. To people with no prior political convictions there was no obvious choice. However The Economist decided:
It is far from an easy call... but, on balance, our instinct is towards change rather than continuity.
They chose Kerry.

This is the big point about AV. It is not amazing, it is not proportional, it is not what I want, neither is FPTP; but the change is important.

I believe that changing the voting system in May will increase the likelihood of a referendum on PR in the near future. It will also shake up the political establishment (ever-so slightly).

On May 5th I will be voting, not for AV over FPTP, but for change over continuity.

After-all, 'a change is as good as a rest', and I'm really tired of politicians.

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