There is little doubt that the current system is unpopular, unfair and outdated. I need to spend little time illustrating this point. Voter turnout is at an all time low. MP’s can be elected with as little as 3 out of 10 votes. For too long people have felt separated from the democracy that is meant to represent them.
The Alternative vote system addresses these problems. Under AV MP’s would need to get more than 50% of the vote. They would have to work harder, reach out to more communities and try to address more of their constituents concerns. The AV system will keep what is best about our current system, for example the important link between MP’s and their constituency, but strengthen it by giving voters more of a say.
The No to AV campaign has made a series of wild claims to try and scare people off from change. I believe the strength of the Yes to AV campaign rests in its ability to tackle these false accusations. Here I will run through a few of these myths:
- “AV is too complicated” – The AV system could not be any simpler. Instead of putting a single X next to a name you put numbers 1,2,3 etc next different names in order of preference. Complicated?
- “AV will lead to more hung parliaments” – Since AV was introduced to Australia in 1918, Australia has had two hung parliaments. The UK, in the same time period, under its current system has had hung parliaments in December 1923, May 1929, February 1974 and May 2010. In Canada under First Past the Post they have had a permanent hung parliaments for the last three elections.
- “AV will help extremist parties” – AV ensures that MP’s have to aim to get a majority of votes, not a minority of votes. Under the current system you can be elected with a small number of votes. This could be why the BNP are campaigning for a “No” vote.
I am under no illusion that the No to AV campaign will be running a well funded high profile campaign, it is up to us though, ordinary people to be prepared to go out and make these arguments in our communities. Already tens of thousands have pledged to support this campaign. Join us!