An ode to AV

 

I long to meet you in person, AV
To find out what love can be
Between you and me
I wonder is it true, that you lack simplicity
Or are you really
Just 1, 2, 3?
How kind will you be
To my beloved Green Party?

I hope as they say, you are a free-thinker
And that you won’t tie me to Tory or Labour
But wait, my love, before we encounter
I have a confession, I cannot be a deceiver
In honesty, my true motivator
Is to meet your friend, the luscious PR.

So this is my call for a Yes vote on Thursday, for the reasons below. Please excuse me if I don’t dwell on this, I’m bored to tears of the AV debate, really bored. In fact, I’m boring myself as I type so I don’t blame you if you read no further. If you got this far, please reward yourself with a biscuit.

1) To me, Proportional Representation is the preferable voting system, but we don’t have that option so the referendum should be looked at as a vote on whether or not we want the voting system to change. If we vote No, I fear that PR will be off the agenda for a long time to come.

2) First Past The Post (FPTP) is hopelessly undemocratic with many voters railroaded into voting against the party they want least, rather than for the one they want most. The No campaign says FPTP is fair, that we can “throw out” a government we feel is underperforming. In the last election, Labour and the Tories won 65% of the vote, but ended up with 87% of the MPs. It’s true to say that we can vote against a government we view unfavorably, but in most constituencies we are left with only one viable option to vote in. How is this fair?

3) AV is simple. Quite frankly I find Cameron et al’s assertion that FPTP should be retained on the basis of it’s simplicity, utterly insulting. If you can count and are able to decide which candidate you like more than another, you can handle AV. This takes only a small amount of extra skill than deciding which candidate you like more than another, a writing an X.

4) Candidates would need to campaign for second-preference votes and therefore reach out to more voters. They would also need to reach 50 per cent of the vote to be elected.

5) AV is effective at keeping extremist parties, i.e. the BNP, out. Baroness Warsi needs to check who’s on her team.

6) A personal one, this. As  Green Party supporter, I would be optimistic of a better representation of how popular Green policies are amongst voters (before the General Election, a Vote for Policies Survey showed Green policies to be the most popular). I believe that a lot of would-be Green Party voters would feel enabled to vote Green, first, as with second and third votes to Labour or Lib Dems, they would not be opening the door to the Tories. I’m also confident that the Greens would pick up a lot of second preferences. Fingers crossed!

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