Tomorrow, there’s another election in the UK. This time, it’s a local council one – one that happens every year but not everyone bothers with unless they really want to piss off the government (which might well happen this time).
In addition to this, this year we also have a referendum on a change in our voting system. The government has generously asked us (despite many of us not really asking for it, or really caring) whether we, the public want to switch from the First Past The Post system (FPTP) to the Alternative Vote system (AV) for future elections.
I am still undecided as to whether I am a “yes” or a “no”, although much of the “no” campaign that I’ve seen has made me want to swing to the “yes” camp. The main reason being, that the no campaigners seem to think that we’re some kind of idiots. A leaflet that I got in the post from them was binned not long afterwards because the whole tone of it insulted my intelligence. They say AV is complicated, yet the Conservative and Labour parties use AV in their leadership elections. Boris Johnson was even elected Mayor of London in an AV election and he too opposes it. When you consider that it’s like David Cameron and his fellow Anti-AV supporters are saying “Don’t vote for AV. You are intellectually inferior to us and won’t understand it if it came in – except you lot in London.” In fact the only thing I and other people I knew on twitter agreed with the No campaign on, was the way it effectively said in one of their broadcasts that all politicians are liars (illustrated by getting Rik Mayall to portray his Alan B’Stard character).
The Yes campaign on the other hand, has seemed much quieter in getting its message across. In fact it was only yesterday that I actually saw a campaign broadcast for it. I had seen a funny little video about AV on YouTube that features cats (which you can see here) before but this was the first time I had properly seen anything made by the Yes campaign other than their twitter. Before I had seen last night’s film on TV I had sort of understood the actual way we would vote in an AV election as like those survey questions where they ask you to rank in order of importance what matters to you when say, you’re buying a car or whatever (1 being most important and 5 being least). This film, featuring Dan Snow, explained the AV system effectively but on its own probably wouldn’t convince someone to vote for it. But then the No vote’s arguments on their own would have put people off as well.
The whole state of the campaigning from both sides and the general attitude from the public around the referendum has made me wonder whether the voting paper would have been better off worded like this:
Are you in favour of changing our electoral system to the Alternative Vote (AV) system of voting?
If the voting paper offered the latter option, I would probably put a cross there.
Let’s face it, whether the referendum result brings in AV or has us sticking with FPTP it isn’t going to prompt more people into using their vote. Our politicians would be better off trying to regain the trust that many of us lost in them the moment the coalition came in (or just gain it, as the case may be). Nick Clegg in particular, needs to work hard to get people agreeing with him again.
That’s enough political – themed rambling for one year. If you’ve reached the end of this post, you deserve a medal. Best I could probably muster is a cup of tea and a biscuit.