3 May 2011

One Last Vote Yes to AV Push

There are some very astute points made by Armando Iannucci in today's Evening Standard.

'AV is only as complicated as making toast' was my particular favourite.

He, quite rightly, denounces exaggerations made by each side, saying politics has dissolved into 'flinging custard pies at each other'.

In spite of his witty criticism, he still believes people should vote Yes on Thursday.

Social Malaise

With the general election last year came an epidemic of inertia over the British Public with regards to politics.

The failure to achieve a majority for any party has left a country dissolute, feeling leaderless and provided a sense of fait accompli to anything the coalition puts through.

With economic issues that aren't quite a recession, people respond rather like clouds that aren't quite rain. They are tuned out and consider the future relatively hopeless.

However, this malaise is not bad enough to stir passion at the hint of change. The revolutionary spirit has been ground down by 12 months of public sector cuts and private sector price rises.

Had the referendum been offered in 2010, when people were enraged by moats, wisteria and holidays on expenses, we would be seeing a very different approach to the changing of politics.

But the time has dragged, and while the Yes camp have attempted to recapture that spark to rejuvenate the possibility of change, it has fallen on deaf ears.

The Cracks

There are, however, cracks in this self protective shell that seems so anti change. The young.

It is the seizing of the digital media industry and the youth not yet jaundiced by years of working routine who have cried out and protested and demonstrated. As they have grown, from Bebo to UK Uncut, so has hope, around politically motivated youngsters with the energy of the young as well as moral conviction.

They may lack experience, wisdom or a wider understanding of the political landscape, but they hold in their hands the opportunity to change the entire face of politics in Britain.

This is not just a referendum on a voting system

I believe in power to the people. If the young who have seized upon social injustices and campaigned so rigorously against them, were to have the power of swinging the referendum put in their hands, they would not stop there. The tenacity the youth have shown would propel us to a new level of engagement in politics.

While they may not, as Iannucci points out, make an enormous change, the subtle shift in the balance of power could be enough to engage a new generation of politicians determined to make a difference

So take the initiative to vote Yes to AV on Thursday

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