Category Archives: Democracy

THOSE DAMNED PESKY UNIONS

How the world see’s what it wants to see and the narrative continues with the ever large backdrop of the deficit focussing our minds.

So as it was recently on Channel 4 news with Francis Maude debating with Union leader Mark Serwotka. The ever altruistic Maude sought to muddy the waters of debate over these damned pesky unions, run by evil commie union barons and tried to make out the unions had NO mandate to strike because of the low turn out of the membership for the vote.

Now, I have some sympathy for the wider argument of democratic accountability and legitimacy being affected by low turn outs.  However, as a believer in “real” democracy as opposed to the “Westminster Bubble” version of it, surely we need to look at the wider context.

The argument goes, from Francis Maude, that the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) only had a turn out of 32%, of which 61% voted to go on strike over the proposed government changes.  Please note that 61% is higher than any government has maintained in its support since WWII.

Clearly the result is emphatic and is an overwhelming majority in favour of strike action.  The other unions also taking action on June 30th are the National Union of Teachers (NUT), and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), who had higher turnouts with even higher majorities in favour of strike action but still a lower turn out than 50%.  In short the turnouts were 40% for the NUT with a 92% vote for strike action and a 35% turnout for the ATL with 83% voting for strike action.

Clearly, of those that voted there is severe discontent over the issues and there was certainly an emphatic support for strike action. However, is the legitimacy of the vote diminished by the low turnout?

Francis Maude argues that the low turn out means that the unions lack any authority to hold strike action, almost equating the low turn out with those that don’t vote actually wanting not to strike.

In part I have to say I have some sympathy with the argument put forward.  Low turn out for me represents apathy, disinterest or worse, disenfranchisement from the political process.

However, unlike Francis Maude I do not believe this only when it suits me; when it supports my argument on a particular day of the week.  I believe it when it affects the heart of our political system.  When a government can get a majority with less than 36% of the vote, that allows more power to be exerted than in almost any other democratic country on earth and ride rough shot over other members of society who they do not represent, I find this reprehensible.

Francis Maude on the other hand does not.  He only see’s it as a problem when he wants to exert HIS power over someone else.  Our esteemed Mayor of London Boris Johnson has a similar point of view.  He who was elected on less than a 42% turn out.

If we look at the great and the good in our country, European elections have a turnout of around 35% for an institution that has a substantial say in the laws of this land.  The recent AV referendum had a derisory turnout of around 42%     while the local elections had a low turnout generally, with some wards having turnouts as low as 20%.  Some MP’s in our House of Commons also get elected with a voter turnout of less than 50% while the voter turnout in general elections has gradually declined since WWII to around 65% today.

However, what falls crashing down in the arguments of Francis Maude and co is that if we have a problem with democracy in this country it is throughout our democratic system and not with the Unions. Each Union is one democratic organisation within a complex post industrial society.  It adheres to the strictest union laws of any country in Western Europe, and carries out it’s ballots based on laws brought in by previous Conservative governments.

The Unions, at least in terms of the ballot itself, have acted within the law and completely democratically within the rules laid down by the Conservative party.

In addition, Francis Maude and others seem to forget the reason low turnouts are permitted.  In this country we rightly or wrongly believe that people have the right to exercise their vote or to not use their vote in any democratic election held.  This has been a tradition in our democracy.

Some would argue that people should become compelled by law to vote.  I have some sympathy for this stance, however, if this is the way our democracy is going to evolve, it should evolve for ALL democratic elections and not for just the ones that it seems would be politically advantageous to impose it on.

The simple fact is that the Unions have an overwhelming mandate from it’s members to go on strike whatever the rights or wrongs of the actual issues are.  If people do not wish to exercise their vote that is their right to do so and in doing so they agree to abide by the decision of those who do vote.  The issue of democratic legitimacy is completely bogus and and cynical .  What makes it worse is that those within the Liberal Democrats like Vince Cable have also been trudging out the same line, threatening the Unions with yet more union legislation.  Blackmail never looks good, especially when it is those in power who are doing it.

What Francis Maude et al should be doing is concentrating on the issue at hand and arguing their case.  The pathetic rhetoric of this government never ceases to dismay and sicken me as time goes by.  The vindictive nature of vilifying the disabled, unions, public sector workers and those on benefits is perhaps something to be expected by a Conservative government, but less so by a coalition.

But as I have said in previous posts, we live in interesting times.

The NO to AV campaign have it: The end of constitutional reform for a generation

So the official result is nearly in, but the NO VOTE has already now officially passed the 50% mark.  The Yes to AV camp had given up and gone home some hours ago, and the first gloating has begun in the largely right wing press.

The Spectator was one of the first off the mark and the inane commentary has begun.  Narrow mindedness and self preservation of the 2 main parties has won out and many are now saying openly that thankfully that will be the end of constitutional reform for a generation.

It is likely that I will be dead by the time real constitutional reform comes to the fore, which it surely will one day, it is just that in Britain we are always the last to drag our traditions kicking and screaming into the modern world.

The Alternative Vote was never the best system, everyone knew it, but we also knew that it was always the only reform any of the major players could consider stomaching. But they were able to fight off the challenge to their unfair advantages built into our system.

Nick Clegg made a massive gamble in his coalition agreement and sold his soul for AV.  In the end, much of the public could not stomach what he gave up for this.

The No campaign acted disgracefully and it will be hard for many to be able to look on some figures within that campaign in the same light.  Baroness Warsi playing at extremism was an absolute disgrace.  As was the way the Tories stabbed Nick Clegg in the back with the no campaign and the targeting of him personally.

The lies told over funding and people having more than one vote; and it helping extremism will go down in the political pages of history showing just how to run a cynical and negative campaign. If you repeat a lie often enough people believe it.

In the end, the vote for AV gave the chance for those who like FPTP; those that wanted PR; those that could not forgive Nick Clegg; and those wanting to put strain on the coalition, to all campaign for a no vote.

The Conservative Party, BNP and Communists, and the old guard of the Labour Party won out.

If this is the end of our constitutional reform, it is a sad end to the progress of pluralism seen over the past 15 years.  With the partial reform of the House of Lords, devolution and mayoral elections, the benefits of local democracy and a more proportional system can be seen, as with the Scottish elections tonight.

A country should never stand still in a false belief that the past is best.  We should be looking forward to see how we can improve.  A better more accountable and transparent political system will always improve the quality of govenorship   even if those clinging onto power do not think so.

YES TO AV: Our last chance to close the democratic deficit

So this is it, the day has finally arrived where the nation goes to the polls in order to decide on the future of the election system for general elections in the UK.

The opinion polls suggest that the no vote has had a massive surge in popularity over the last 2 weeks.  My own personal experience of meeting people and having watched debates in the media seem to back this up.

Several moments over the last few days have almost driven me to throw valuable items at the TV screen when hearing them repeating in verbatim the no campaign.  Watching the Young Persons Question Time on BBC3 a few nights ago was a very depressing experience.  Many people seemingly repeating adverts they had seen in the no campaign.

“some people have more than one vote”                  –         not true
“It will cost £250 million extra than FPTP”           –         not true
“It will produce hung parliaments all the time”     –         not true

If you would like to see how the system of AV works, please see here, this is not a propaganda piece for the YES or NO campaign but a straight forward explanation by Jeremy Vine on the BBC.

It has been a sad campaign where the negative campaigning has by far outweighed the effectiveness of the positive.  This referendum was more about fear than about electoral systems.  The Yes campaign became more vociferous towards the end, but appears to have been too little too late.  We can only hope that the polls are wrong, and some element of sanity prevails.

Yesterday an excellent article was written by the FactCheck team for Channel 4 investigating the claims that David Cameron and others have stated bout AV,  ” It’s a system so obscure that it is only used by three countries in the whole world – Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Our system in contrast is used by half the world.”

The results of this analysis show that of the 50 countries who use FPTP, 41 were ex-colonies or overseas territories of Britain.  So we directly gave it to them or imposed it on them.  The USA is a strictly 2 party system, and is designed to prevent pluralism and influence of smaller parties, while India accounts for 1.2 billion people in this calculation, who was a previous colony.

On the other hand, the ONLY country to use FPTP in the EU, is the UK.  In terms of the amount of democratic countries, the most popular system of voting is actually List Proportional Representation or List PR., with 71 countries.

William Hague has said that it would be “unbritish” to change from FPTP.  It seems he is correct as we exported it to the world.  However, any new democracy that has sprung up in the past 20 years, has not used FPTP.

We must also consider how our system has developed.  From the top down, based on nepotism and patronage only allowing a wider franchise when the powers that be were forced to do so, or it was in the interests of particular political parties.

Meanwhile the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2010, showing just how democratic and accountable countries are shows that out of the top 25 countries, the UK only comes 19th on that list, and of the top 10, 7 do not use FPTP.

By the logic of David Cameron and others, if we are to just do what other countries do traditionally, then democracies would never progress, they would remain stagnant.  Not only that, the most populous system is dictatorship with 2.5 billion people on the planet subjected to it, should we then adopt this system?

In the 2005 general election, a minority of 35.6% had a majority in the House of commons, able to enforce their will on the rest of the population.  In the last election, the Conservative party got 37% of the vote.  If the constituency boundaries were a little more equal, as they will be at the next election, they would have had a working majority again.

The share of the vote of the party that wins FPTP elections in this country is progressively obtaining less approval over time, yet still obtaining unlimited power through the party system in the House of Commons.

The democratic deficit in this country needs to change.

Debunking Myths about AV 

“some people have more than one vote”                  –         not true
This is not true.  The way AV works is that if no one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote (ie.) a majority; then the party with the lowest vote is eliminated and there vote is transferred to another candidate of there choice.  This is expressed by the 2nd preferential vote.  All the votes are then counted again and so on until someone has the approval of more than 50% of the vote.

In each ballot round all votes are counted again.  No one has more than one vote in each ballot.  This is a way of ensuring that the candidate who wins has an approval of a majority rather than a minority of the constituency.

It must also be stated that if you wish to just vote for one candidate, like for FPTP, then you are free to do this, it is YOUR CHOICE.

This also ensures that small extremist parties do not get power, as they have a very narrow base of support.  This is why the BNP and the Communist party are campaigning for a NO vote.


“It will cost £250 million extra than FPTP”           –         not true
This is simply untrue.  The analysis carried out by the government has not allowed for any extra costs associated with AV.  The only extra cost of the system is that some counts will take longer.  However, ballot counters are not paid by the hour, so the actual increase in cost would be small if at all.  No counting machines are required so the reference to counting machines is a complete red herring.     

“It will produce ,hung parliaments all the time”     –         not true
Australia has had 2 Hung Parliaments in the last 90 years, the UK has had 5, in addition to governments that have not had a working majority.  Australia use AV.

The full extent of exactly how AV would affect the UK vote is not fully known because there may well be a higher turn out as people may feel that because their vote is more likely to count, then more people would vote.  In addition, people could freely vote for the candidate they WANT, without feeling they have to vote for the candidate they least dislike.  Because if the candidate they vote for is eliminated, they can transfer that vote to a candidate who is still in the ballot.

Confusion of the AV debate

The politics of fear that has taken over in this country over the past few years due to economic uncertain times and the rhetoric of political parties has substantially affected the AV debate.

Many have mixed up within their minds the idea of “coalitions like this one”, the “electoral system” and “poor government”.

If you do not like this particular Tory/LibDem government, this is NOT because it is a coalition.  There are many coalitions in the EU, the German economy has consistently out performed the UK yet has coalition governments.  Good government or bad government is not simply because of the electoral system, but of the calibre of politician.  However, the representative nature of the political system is created by the electoral system.

If you consider the Clegg factor, or the woeful policies of this government it is not because of a coalition but rather their CHOICE to lie to the public or u-turn on policies.  Their political choice.  The article here explains this more fully.  In short there is nothing in the governments actions that was brought about simply because of coalition compromise.

I have heard people say they believe in AV but that they want to “teach Nick Clegg a lesson”.  This is a nonsense view to have.  The choice we make today is about the future of democracy in this country, not about individual political parties.

An Argument For AV 


Lets be clear, the AV system is not a panacea.  It will not get rid of all ills within our political system.  All it will do is give a small improvement on FPTP.

It is likely to improve voter turn out

It will mean that politicians will HAVE to reach out to a broader section of society rather than their core vote

Fewer Safe seats

Every MP will have to get more than 50% of the vote, an actual MAJORITY, whereas at the moment 60% of seats have less than 50%

It retains the one MP to One constituency link

It is unlikely to massively change the outcome of elections, but allow smaller parties with BROAD SUPPORT to get a larger representation

It will ensure extremist parties do not get any more representation than they do now

AV use in the world 

AV is currently used by about 29 million people in the world in 3 countries –  Australia, PNG and Fiji.  However versions of AV are used in over 60 countries in the world to either elect their President, Prime Minister, or parliament with the run-off system.  

This system rather than having candidates listed in preference, if a candidate does not have 50% of the vote, the last candidate is eliminated and a new ballot is taken, that is a whole new vote, and this continues until someone has more than 50% of the vote. Many systems ensure only two rounds are required.

This is a more expensive and long winded version of the AV system we are being asked to vote on, but very similar, with a very similar outcome.

Versions of AV are also used to elect ALL the leaders of the main political parties; the London Mayoral election; the election of the speaker of the House of Commons; Trade Unions; businesses use it and charities.

Lets be clear, the people who are most vociferous in their opposition to AV are people who do not believe in a wide democratic franchise.  The Conservative party has always seen itself as having a “right to govern”, and with FPTP they have an unfair advantage and can cling on to a disproportionate amount of power with an ever dwindling share of the vote.

The old guard of the Labour party also want to keep FPTP for a similar reason. People in the House of Lords like Dr Robert Winston also takes this view and represents an unelected chamber, that is against all principles of democracy.  He has also repeated many of the myths listed above.  A discussion of this can be seen here.

Conclusion

The AV system is NOT the best system available, BUT it is the BEST system on offer.  It will not radically change our voting system and will not radically change the outcome of elections.  There will be a slight increase in the fairness of the system as a whole and make MP’s work a bit harder at election time to reach out beyond their core vote.

Some say that it is Nick Clegg who has put this to the country – this is about as far from the truth as you could get.  It is those WITH the power that has put this to the country which is why they have put a system as close to the FPTP system as possible.

Nick Clegg would have wanted to put a Proportional System of voting to the country, which would be the best and fairest  system.  But Gordon Brown and David Cameron would not allow the public to decide on this for fear of losing their grip on power.

If anything, this proposal has been put to the country by David Cameron and not Nick Clegg.

We must think of the future, and not party political posturing when deciding on this referendum.  This is likely to be the only time in my lifetime that we are asked what political system we want.  If we vote no, it is likely that the democratic deficit in this country will continue unabated.

Our constitution moves very slowly, the UK tradition is based on very small evolutionary steps.  This is one of them, and if we do not take it, we will not have another opportunity for at least a generation.

YES TO AV : FIRST PAST THE POST – Why it doesn’t do what it says on the tin

First past the post has some advantages in some circumstances which we should all acknowledge,  However, even some of the advantages laid out by the No to AV campaign are less than convincing.

There are two main arguments used by the NO campaign regarding the FPTP system and how good it is.

The First reason is one that has been used by the Prime Minister, David Cameron on a number of occasions as a dead cert reason for voting NO in the referendum.  They assert that with FPTP the public can always throw out the incumbent government in a clean way and it is clear cut.

This sadly is not the case.  The mathematical calculations that now goes into the results of a FPTP election in a multi-party system is quite mind boggling.  If we take the last election, it was quite possible, and at one point looked likely, that the Labour Party could come third in the contest, with less than 29% of the vote and yet still remain in power, and have an overall majority in the House of Commons.

Not only that, but at several points in history, and the 1980’s may well be a good example of this, when a government is opposed by a majority of the population, but there is a split vote, or the population opposed to the government, even though a majority, cannot unite around one alternative, then the minority government stays in power by default, with a disproportionate amount of power.

As time goes on and the two main parties continue to get less and less of the overall vote, quirky outcomes to elections will become more and more common with FPTP.

The second often stated reason FPTP works well is that it provides STRONG government.  In practice this means giving a disproportionate amount of power to a minority to wield power over the nation.  However, strong government does not mean GOOD government.  There are few that would argue we have had continued good governance over the past 65 years.  It also ignores the fact that we have had weak government for many years under FPTP as well, like from 1974 to 1979; 1990 to 1997, as well as several periods of either no party having over all control in Parliament or coalitions governments. To completely debunk this myth we can also look at Australia who have had the AV system of voting form 80 years and have had fewer  coalition governments than the United Kingdom.

The facts do not fit the rhetoric.  Both of the main reasons people cling on to the old system of First Past The Post do not stand up to any close scrutiny at all.

We need a change to the AV  voting system to make it that bit fairer, we need to vote yes to AV on Thursday 5th May.

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS
An open letter to Dawn Primarolo
Yes To Av: Lies, Fascists and the Baroness 
YestoAV: A reply to some critics  
Historians wade in on the AV debate 
No to AV: Lies Damn lies and dinosaurs
NotoAV campaign’s Cynicism winning the public’s vote

Stokes Croft Community, Bristol, Struggles for a Voice

For those who live outside or on the periphery of the City of Bristol, the scenes reported by the media would come as a shock, and for many would leave a bad taste in their mouth.

“Can Rioting ever be justified?” some will ask, while others will see the violence and will instantly condemn the rioters and even the community itself. However, Stokes Croft is the very example of what can be achieved with a truly strong community base.

The area has had many years of bad publicity and tough times, yet this community is now regarded as “up and coming”. Not because of large government projects, to gentrify the area and throw out the traditional incumbent community, but because the community itself and new comers alike are creating a vibrant atmosphere that people are proud of .  Local bespoke businesses creating wealth that stays in the community.

On Thursday 21st April at 9:15pm the Police decided to raid Telepathic Heights, a squat in the Stokes Croft area.   The time of the eviction was decided based on “intelligence” that some residents had the “ability” to make petrol bombs. To be fair it would be unlikely if any household didn’t!

Most people of sense would concur that in a community where there is some tension over squatter evictions and the newly opened Tesco store, that a more benign time could have been chosen.  Maybe a quiet Sunday morning perhaps??As the MP Kerry McCarthy tweeted: “If you were going to evict squatters, why not do it in the morning? How many riots happen at 7am?”

The seeds were sown for trouble to ensue once people found out what was happening and those more inebriated showed their displeasure. It is not beyond the wit of man to see that a hot summer evening on the eve of a Bank Holiday around closing time is not the best time to evict squatters.

While I, like many, would not choose to engage in or condone violence, the stupidity of the authorities to ignore the will of the community will inevitably lead to acts of civil disobedience over time.

In Stokes Croft the greed of outsiders, corporations and politicians have stamped their fist onto localism, democracy and community.  Absent landlords who allow properties to go to ruin forcing the local council to step in and pay for repairs, costing the community money while making a mockery of local democracy.

On top of this, when the run down buildings are taken over by enterprising squatters, creating a useful space for art and the community, those same landlords use the law to evict them. These landlords are the scourge on our communities and not the squatters in this scenario. These landlords run down the area and steal money from the community in order to obtain profit.

Then we have Tesco.  The battle over the Stokes Croft Tesco store has been well publicised.  This however, is not simply about being anti Tesco’s, but rather about local democracy and what is good for the community.

Personally, I do not have anything against Tesco or any other large supermarket.  But the choice of whether a large corporation, who have a disproportional amount of power in the market place, should be able to set up a store in any particular area, is for the local community to decide.

In the case of Stokes Croft the local community are clearly against the Tesco store. However both the council and Tesco ignored the will of the people.

The local’s objections are clear, there are at least 38 Tesco’s in Bristol and 2 within walking distance of Stokes Croft itself.  There are legitimate concerns for local businesses who are being put in direct competition with a company who has far too much power in the market place.

Some within the community have little sympathy with the violence believing that this will again taint the area with a bad image and cause problems for local businesses. Equally, the Police were clearly provocative and acted without any consideration to local residents.  Bringing in outside forces in an overwhelming way was bound to create more problems than was needed.  While the focal point of the Tesco store was going to be irresistible for some.

Anyone who believes in democracy, localism, and community should see that Stokes Croft have every right to assert it’s democratic right to protect it’s community and allow it to thrive.  We should not judge Stokes Croft on the rioting, but on the spectacular way the community thrives and creates a truly interesting and vibrant part of the city of Bristol.

Stokes Croft is an individual area with a real community and a different individualistic feel about it.  It has a right to have a say in how it develops and be at the forefront of that, which is why Tesco should listen to the voices of the community and reverse its decision to maintain a store in Stokes Croft.

NICK CLEGG FINDS A PART OF HIS BACK BONE: Taking the AV debate to the Prime Minister

Finally, Nick Clegg has taken the AV debate direct to David Cameron’s door by accusing the NO campaign of being a right wing clique.  The narrow section of society that is opposed to AV is obvious to see with the only political parties to oppose the change in our voting system being the Conservative Party, BNP and the Communist Party. 

The gloves were finally taken off as Nick Clegg took the fight to the narrow interests of those who want to keep the stale political system in the hands of a two party state.  The old guard of the nay sayers in the Labour Party who seek only power for themselves along with the whole of the Conservative Party and the extremist parties.

Nick Clegg said “This nasty No campaign, I hope, will prove to be the death rattle of a right-wing elite, a right-wing clique who want to keep things the way they are. That’s why they are lashing out.”

It has been obvious that the no campaign has been stating complete untruths over their opposition to any change in the voting system and any other constitutional  change.  The extremist language used by high profile politicians in parliament and the House of Lords like Baroness Warsi has been disgraceful, yet the yes campaign has remained level headed in it’s approach.  But this approach is not working as recent polls have shown. 

It is about time the gloves came off, as the no campaign has got away with the most scurrilous  accusations and most of the time diverting the arguments away from the voting systems themselves to other issues of funding and costs which are a complete red herring.

The divisions in the coalition are widening as the true nature of the Tories takes hold and the Liberal Democrats realise the bed they have made for themselves.

David Cameron will come out fighting more and more as his political future depends on the no vote winning.  Many on the right of the Tory party will not forgive the deal done in coalition if AV is accepted by the public.  Likewise, the LibDems will feel they are not getting enough from the deal if they do not get the change.

There is already movement over House of Lords reform in the background if the No campaign wins to placate their LibDem partners.  But will this be enough?

The LibDems though are not in a position to break from the deal they have done as annihilation at any election in the short term is assured.

It is time for the YestoAV campaign to get it’s hands dirty and take it direct to the personalities who have been telling the untruths and spreading the fear of extremism which ironically is coming from the extremists themselves.

No to AV campaign’s cynicism winning the public’s vote

Just one example . . . . .

I have just received the no to av campaign’s leaflet which beggars belief and goes hand in hand with the lies and ridiculous nature of their argument.

As the poster above indicates, most of their arguments do not debate the merits of both systems of voting, but rather spuriously equates a fictitious amount of money that no one has ever stated will cost to have AV as a system of voting and buying equipment for soldiers or saving a child’s life.  It is all very sad.

The notoav leaflet begins by stating that £130 million will be spent on electronic voting machines – totally untrue, as was the Prime Minister’s assertions that somehow there was a conflict of interest between the Electoral Reform Society and it making money from supplying voting machines and funding a part of the YES campaign.

Ordinarily it would be the Conservatives who would be saying “what’s wrong with making money?”, but of course, there is no conflict of interest anyway as no voting machines are needed for AV as Australia have confirmed for the past 80 years! Both the Prime Minister and George Osborne were not only factually incorrect but cynical to the lowest point.

Then the leaflet continues stating a price for the referendum itself – which will of course cost the same if we vote yes or no.  The next figure is £26 million on explaining the new system – and the sum total for this is . . .er . . yes one leaflet explaining it.  Hardly a dramatic waste of money.

But then the leaflet goes on to try to make out that the votes of the least popular candidate can decide who wins the election. But should that not always be the case anyway??  What they fail to mention is that in any general election most peoples vote does not count at all, only with AV more vote will count towards the decision of who wins the seat. When at the last election only 460,000 people in marginal constituencies decided the election, it shows the crisis our democracy is in.

There is also a helpful map showing the 3 countries that have AV.  It fails to mention that the mayoral elections in London also use AV as does the Labour party leadership election.  It also fails to mention that the rest of the map does not have FPTP and that another system very similar to AV called the run-off voting system which is where you have a ballot and if no one gets 50% you eliminate the last candidate and everyone votes again.  This is system is very similar to AV but is more time consuming and costs a lot more.  yet a surprising number of countries use this form of election.  With at least 60 countries around the world using the run-off system to elect its parliament or President/Prime Minister.

Surely, this idea that just because a few countries use your preferred system is not a reason not to use it.  Indeed the question is not even about whether it is our preferred system but whether it is better than the current FPTP system.

The truth about AV is that it gives each voter more choice, which if you believed the rhetoric of the Conservative government in nearly every policy they talk about, you would think they would approve of it!  It allows you to either just vote for one candidate as in FPTP; to not vote at all; or to rank the candidates in order of preference.  In other words YOU chose.

The no to av campaign has continued to use spurious statements and downright lies to get it’s cynical message across and now it seems that this is working.

New evidence shows that the no campaign is ahead in the polls by 16%.  Very depressing reading for anyone wanting more accountability and democracy in this country.  What really depressed me however, was a phone in on 5 Live I heard the other morning debating AV.  People ringing up saying they agreed with AV but that they wanted to “teach Mr Clegg a lesson”.  I wonder who was using his family braincell that day.  Then another caller who stated, “I can’t vote for AV because I am a true blue”.

Lets be clear, the only people that want the status quo of FPTP want unlimited power to a small amount of people and do not believe in democracy or accountability.  Just look at the actions of this government so far, with the reduction of MP’s while maintaining the amount of ministers; who have appointed more than 100 Lords to the House of Lords, an unelected chamber or quango; then there is the cap on council tax when if they really believed in accountability they would let the people decide by ousting councils who put it up too much.

There is only one game in town when it comes to AV – if you believe in democracy and accountability you vote yes – if you want a 2 party system with safe seats and unaccountability you vote no.

OTHER SIMILAR POSTS
No to Av Lies damn lies and dinosaurs
An open letter to Dawn Primorolo
Yes to AV – Lies, Fascists and the Baroness