Monday, 2 May 2011

The Referendum

Do I vote "yes" or "no" to the Alternative Vote?  
It's a bit of a lose-lose situation really, and democracy has been sold very short.

If we vote "no" then we get stuck with the current system, and bolster the argument that there is no appetite for electoral reform in this country.  The current system is not fair.  A member will be elected to Parliament as long as he has more votes than anybody else, even if he only has 30% of all the votes, with the remaining 70% of votes being spread between the other candidates - it means that while he got more votes than the others, he is still not the preferred choice of 70% of his constituents!  You can really only vote for the main parties - a vote for the Green Party for example, would be wasted because they are very unlikely to win a seat, so even if they have a lot of support spread across the country, it counts for nothing (this is what happened to the Lib Dems - though from now on nobody will vote for them because they sold their soul to the Right for the sake of power, when in fact they should have held out for more electoral reform or forced the Tories to a minority government).  

If we vote "yes" then we get the Alternative Vote, which isn't much better than First-past-the-post, and then you get the argument that "you've had your change, now shut up".  Effectively, while you can now vote Green if you want to, they still aren't going to win 50% of votes in your constituency, and so you may as well have put your second choice first.  Even if 5% of people in the country voted Green, the Green Party still wouldn't get 5% of seats in the House of Commons (which they would if we had true proportional representation).  Even if Labour had only 30% of voters putting them as first choice, they could end up with more than 50% of the seats in Parliament by being people's 2nd or 3rd choice.

For more information on all the systems click here.

Either way, the real fight for real electoral reform (proportional representation) and a fairer system which would actually re-engage voters, because they would see that their vote would make a difference, and which would bring us back to the lead as a democratic nation (not a backwater stuck with an archaic and unfair system) has been struck a heavy blow by this referendum for a reform which doesn't move things forward at all.  

Shame on you Nick Clegg, you have wasted the opportunity of a generation.  You've lost my vote.

NO to AV, YES to PR

By the way, I'll be voting "no" and writing "I want Proportional Representation" on my ballot paper.

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