Please vote Yes to AV on May 5th

Hi friends, as you may know I am pretty keen on a move to AV. As a friend, I would really appreciate it if you would give me a couple of minutes to let me tell you why I think it is a good move. There’s a good old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But: BRITISH POLITICS is BROKEN. Our electoral system is unfit for purpose. It was designed for a two-Party system: it can’t cope with a multi-Party system. We need to fix it: Ergo, it’s time for electoral reform. It’s time to vote Yes to fairer votes. It’s time to vote Yes2AV. AV [The ‘Alternative Vote’] is the change we’ve been offered and we need to take it.

How is our current system ‘broken’? Because being able only to crudely put an ‘X’ in one box just doesn’t work when you have 3 or more serious candidates standing for election – as in virtually all elections nowadays we do. In the 1950s, 97% of people voted Labour or Conservative. That figure keeps dropping and dropping every year, with the presence on the scene of the LibDems but also the dramatic rise of new Parties such as the Green Party, UKIP, Scottish Nationalists etc. . We need a system that allows you to list your preferences, from 1 all the way down, so that you can vote FOR those who you support AND AGAINST those who you oppose. AV is voting for who you really want to vote for, and being able to stop those you really don’t. AV is for getting rid of tactical voting where you need to 2nd guess others voting intentions.

There has been a lot of nonsense been written and said on both sides of the argument (Babies, Bullet proof vests, BNP bogeymen, fictitious gazillion costs, making MPs work harder, it’s too complicated for our simple British brains etc ) but what will a vote for AV mean? Essentially there will be more marginal constituencies and for UK politics I believe that is a good thing. The number of seats which can swing either way (ooh er missus) has declined in recent decades which means that general elections are fought more and more with a small number of people in mind who live in those declining marginals and not for the British nation as a whole. AV will reverse that trend by creating more marginals which means the government will need to take more account of the whole country and not just the minority in marginals who voted for them.

I assume you all know how FPTP works – it is simple to explain which is one of it’s strengths. AV works essentially by the same way the X-factor voting works. You keep voting people off until the winner emerges (Matt Cardle, the winner in 2010, take your bow). Obviously you can’t keep asking people to come to the polls every Thursday for a month so you fast forward the process by asking people’s preferences so that if their favourite is voted off you assume they vote for the next favourite on offer. That is why claims that people who vote for mainstream parties are disadvantaged is nonsense. It is like they vote for Matt Cardle in every round. They have the same say as everyone else in every round. For more on this analogy see here.

AV will not solve all the UK’s problems, it will not turn UK politics into a bed of roses, it will not stop MPs on the make but it is an improvement and I for one want to see the country move forward. Please join me in voting YES.

If you prefer videos etc take a look at some I’ve collected here. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=188970C85BB305E7 This includes my own efforts (one of which has 20k+ views and the other is the Jackson 5 and Jo duetting for AV!).

Thanks for reading to the bottom of this and if you still vote NO – fair enough – I would love to debate with you the reasons why!

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