17 February 2011

We Have The Referendum, Now All We Have To Do Is Win It!

In just 11 weeks time people get the chance to change the electoral system to the Alternative Vote. People get the chance to defy the vast majority of MPs wishes, to stick two fingers up to the establishment, tell the Labour and Tory old guard where to go. In short to end the extremely rotten corrupt status quo in at least one aspect. Is this claiming too much for such a small change? I think not and I will explain why.

Unlike Ed Miliband I think the AV referendum is much more important than the local elections. The local elections changes who decides a few local amenities for the next 4 years, the AV referendum changes the power relationship between the voter and politician maybe for ever!!

There are still some electoral reformers out there who still say 'what difference will AV actually make' - well apart from ending most tactical voting, ensuring MPs aim to get more than 50% of the votes rather than the 30%-45% of votes that most MPs do actually get elected with at present. Apart from making it harder for the BNP to be elected, yet easier for widely supported minority parties like the Greens to get more seats. Apart from in most cases being more proportional. Apart from all that and more, AV will set the ball rolling on all sorts of other reforms that will improve our democracy.

A yes to AV will leave our local democracy looking very strange - a change to STV would be the logical step with most wards already electing 3 councillors. It makes no sense for one party to win all the seats in a ward on just 30-40% of the vote or less. Then there will be PR elections for the second chamber to follow. AV will also make our political discourse less adversarial and make parties admit their similarities. All this would be lost if AV is lost. The politicians have tried their best to deny us this chance at change - we have waited 100s of years for fairer votes. Now it is over to you. Whatever you decide, make your decision on which is the better electoral system, the No campaign will at all costs avoid talking about the two systems on offer. I am confident that if this referendum is about which system is more democratic, fairer and better then we will win. The polls are moving in our direction and the lead is for Yes, we need to work hard to keep up the momentum, but we can get change. People are tired of the same old politics, change is the winner.

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