Thursday, May 05, 2011

no AV no vote

I almost smiled at the irony that my vote for a change in the voting system was very likely my last ever vote. Of course the Alternative Vote won’t happen because the majority of the electorate have not heard the overwhelmingly powerful arguments for it. A vacuous debate dominated by personality politics, gross lies from cabinet members and passionless, ineffectual rhetoric from an ineffectual Labour leader who could not bring his party to a united voice.

Many have voted NO for irrelevant and superficial reasons, the chief of which is to punish the Liberal Democrats and, in particular, Nick Clegg for their failure to implement some of the policies of their 2010 manifesto. You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things. As a junior coalition partner they never stood a chance of doing so. Their mistake was not to make that clear.

So, in the referendum and the local elections, they will take a bullet for what the Conservatives have done. What a nonsense. A much superior voting system has been sacrificed to give a few Libdems a really lousy few days. The long running, honourable campaign to improve our elections and give more voters some little power over those who want to govern, whether by way of PR or AV, has ended; not with a bang but a whimper. Democracy has scored an own goal and lost.

FPTP will be with us for the rest of our lives. As will safe seats, minority governments, arrogant and lazy MPs, pointless childish exchanges in parliament and the restriction of meaningful and significant votes to a tiny minority of the electorate. No change.

Why bother to vote under such a primitive system ? More and more, the refusal to add to the turnout percentage or to mark frustration with an intelligently spoilt ballot paper look like the stronger statements.



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