A recent conversation on Facebook;
[Person]"Obviously I was planning on either abstaining or voting no as I don't think either system on the table represents a particularly convincing democracy. I don't like the idea of voting for a least worst option!"
[Me]"I'm intrigued - you'd rather go for more of the same? Rather than a chance in a life time to change politics?"
[Person]"No, I'd rather have PR where my first choice would be genuinely represented in the constituency of parliament. Isn't this what lib dems were after too? AV looks like a pretty shabby compromise. I'd be more impressed to hear them arguing passionately for the best possible system; then they'd have my vote!"
I could lecture for some time on the benefits of AV over FPTP, but for digestable appetites, I will break this into a variety of discussions.
AV is an Opportunity of a Life Time
As the No2AV Camp paternalistically promote their (non existant) standpoint, I am bemused and infuriated by pseudoliberal rot about AV.
Firstly, if people genuinely want a more representative system, the way to acheive this is not to vote to deliberately retain the current electoral system.
To do so is a naive assumption that in our life time another opportunity to shift the great balance of power will happen. Let's be realistic: the last referendum was 30 years ago. I do not want to wait until I am 60 before I get another opportunity to protangonise about the dire state of first past the post.
I live in a constituency where my vote is highly unlikely to affect the outcome of a general election, known as the 13th safest Tory seat in the UK. One of the largest constituencies population wise, and during the General Election my vote was likely to have a 0.8% influence on the outcome of the election.
We have a prime minister who was effectively elected on 25% of the country.
And the paternalistic prime minister has the audacity to call this democracy?
The right wing newspapers talk of destabilising our country. The only destabilising potential I see is that of shifting the current power balance from the minority and to the majority.
In comparison, we could have an electoral system where votes represented people's views. And this may not be ideologically perfect, but in short, democracy isnt an ideal system, but it's better than the alternative.