Off Message But Genuine

May 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m cross-posting this message from my friend Deborah Grayson. Reasons 2 and 3 are pretty compelling to me.

As many of you will know, I’ve spent the last 6 months working for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign, which goes to the polls about changing our voting system tomorrow. You’re probably all sick to death of the official campaign messages from both sides (and I fully admit our campaign has had its weaknesses) so I just wanted to share my personal reasons for wanting a Yes vote.

  1. This is as much a referendum on First Past the Post as it is on the Alternative Vote. First Past the Post is rubbish primarily because it allows elections to be decided by 1.6% of the electorate in marginal seats, reducing politics to a fight for middle England swing voters and leaving everyone else – from small c conservatives to Greens – completely ignored. AV won’t make entirely change that but it will increase the number of people who matter.
  2. If we still have First Past the Post when they bring in the boundary changes it will allow the Conservative Party to win majorities in parliament on an even smaller minority of national the vote. Only twice in the 20th century did the Conservatives win over 50% of the vote overall – the last time was in 1931 – and yet they were in power for most of the century because of the distortions of the voting system. The majority of Britain is progressive and centre-left and our Parliament should reflect that. Again, AV won’t entirely solve this, but it will help because the centre-left vote won’t be split anymore.
  3. We’ve got to change something. We have to. I’m so scared about where politics is heading, and what’s going to happen after four years of austerity, sky-high youth unemployment and increasingly oppressive policing. I’ve got no hope for party politics. All I can imagine is some sort of cross-party coalition running on a general platform of reform, and that’s going to seem pretty naive if we couldn’t even get a half measure like AV through. I don’t know how we’re supposed to get the kids who voted for the Lib Dems last year to ever cast another vote if we can’t show that change is possible.

So those are my main reasons – entirely off message, but genuine. If you’re thinking Yes, feel free to forward this on to anyone you still think needs convincing; if you’re thinking no, well, I hope for your sake you’re in the minority. But whatever your opinion, please turnout and vote tomorrow – this decision is too important to be left to other people.

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