On May 5th, depending on what (mis)information you’ve received, the UK gets a referendum on whether we should:
a) Reduce the alphabet by two letters: one vowel, one consonant
b) Ban audio/video cables
c) Implement an alternative voting system
d) Automatically allow the BNP into power
The first two options – just in case your humour sensor is off – are obviously false. The last one is false too, but the No2AV campaign would like to scare you into thinking that’s true.
The reason why I‘m going to vote in favour of AV is because it simply seems fairer. It allows more choice and makes our democracy more…democratic.
To those unfamiliar, our current voting system means we place an X beside one candidate only, whereas with AV we would be able to number our preferences in order of 1, 2, 3 and so on. If one party gets more than half the votes, they win, pretty much in the same way as our current first-past-the-post system. However, if there is no clear winner, next-choice votes are added up until a winner emerges from that. With AV I basically get to choose which other horses to back in case the one I most prefer loses to another who I don’t really care for.
What pushes my decision to vote yes is the dishonesty from the No2AV campaign. They allege in certain flyers that only a few non-European countries have AV and want out. This is not true as our neighbours Ireland already have it, and if presented with a referendum for our current system I’m sure they would vote against it. Furthermore, it is a bit conniving to talk of the system as AV, as the Irish would probably call it preferential voting, so technically they don’t have AV by title.
The idea that the far-right BNP would have a better chance of getting more votes and into power is also plain scaremongering and patronises the general electorate. The BNP rarely do well in England, and when they do it’s temporarily after some tensions they’ve whipped up in certain towns. Immigration does seem a touchy topic, but most people understand that the BNP are incapable of implementing anything that would make the lives of ‘indigenous’ or other British people better.
It is possible that hung parliaments are a stronger likelihood under AV, but I would hedge that once everyone removes any delusion about what it’s about, more people would be more likely to bother turning up to vote in an election – that one day where you can turn your moan into an action – and not give away votes to other parties in protest to make sure that who they prefer, or next prefer really gets into power.
To me, AV is a not a controversial choice. We won’t know if we won’t like it if we don’t even have a chance to see it in action. All I know is that the current system seems wrong.