Well OK. You only need to say one “yes” to the Alternative Vote, but the ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ does explain the simplicity of the system. You choose your favourite candidates for election and ignore the rest. If no individual achieves 50% of the ‘1st’ place candidate votes, those with fewest votes are eliminated successively and their votes added to the more favoured ones until one of them reaches the 50% of the vote. Of course, you can rank them in order of preference which creates a little more work for the pollsters in dealing with the 2nds and 3rds, but, why the doomsters in the ‘No to AV’ campaign insist on explaining it in more technically complex terms is beyond me.
The ‘First Past The Post’ (FPTP) system, which is what we have now, is inherently unfair and archaic. Firstly because MPs need only get more votes than their competitors to be elected (in some seats 7 out of every 10 voters wanted other candidates, but their views are ignored). And secondly it has given rise to concepts like “safe seats” which really should be an anathema to a modern democracy. I want a plurality of voices; a diversity of representation, more choice and greater flexibility for candidates. It may give rise to more “coalition” style government and councils, but, since this helps to pull politics to the centre, eliminating extreme right-wing and left-wing views, that is no bad thing. Suddenly, independent candidates will have the same chance of being elected as those from the governing party or parties. It will depend on the quality of campaigning and the issues of greatest importance to the local electorate.
No doubt, even with the Alternative Vote system, “horse-trading” between candidates will continue and vested interests will undoubtedly try and tell us how to rank our No 1, 2, 3, candidates. However, think how much harder MPs will have to work for your vote? And until the ballot paper becomes a lottery ticket, I think most people will just nod along sagely and choose exactly whom they want on polling day, flummoxing pollsters, spin doctors and campaign managers alike.
Of course, the Alternative Vote (AV) system is a botch. It is not proportional representation which is the system I would have liked (in an ideal world), but, given that even a referendum on that is wholly unlikely if AV fails, I am prepared to accept a “lesser of two evils” choice. After all, FPTP is also a botch, probably devised at the same time as the Doomsday book (were serfs even allowed to vote then?) and it has not changed much since. Witness our white, male, upper class Cabinet – you could transport them back 200 years, change their clothes and they’d fit right in. Is this what 21st Century Britain really needs?
Don’t waste your vote because you “don’t know"!
Don’t waste your vote because you don’t know what to do. Choose ‘Yes to AV’.
If AV is approved, doomsters say that voters will not know how to vote in a general election - some seats will change from being Conservative to Liberal Democrat or vice versa. They further add that this is a bad thing. Really? AV is about more than the politicians we have at the moment. Changing the system is about the politicians we have in the future. You can reject AV on the basis that you don’t like Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his U-Turn on student fees. But, this is totally irrelevant to the discussion about how we vote.
For the first time in my living memory we have a chance to say something about our political system. If I recall, this is the same system that has been trying to reform The House of Lords for decades now and that hasn’t exactly been going to plan either, has it? If we (the voting public) do not say something now, perhaps we should not have the chance to vote at all? Perhaps living ostrich-like in a country where a favoured few make all the important decisions about your life is OK with you. It isn’t with me.
In the future, MPs will have to try much harder to appeal to a broader base of voters – they will not have the luxury of ignoring minority votes (as they do at the moment). Every 2nd ranking and 3rd ranking vote is going to count.
So if you are from an ethnic minority group; young or old, gay, lesbian or trans-gender; female or male, or have a disability this is your chance to be heard. Vote ‘Yes to AV’.
Visit http://www.yestofairervotes.org for further information.