Sunday, 1 May 2011

It Wouldn't Happen Under AV

With just days until the referendum on the Alternative Vote system, the irony is that a "don't care" option this Thursday would be likely to beat both "Yes" and "No" without the need to count second votes. It's a shame, because the issue of electoral reform is an important one. But it shouldn't be a surprise.

I enjoyed my A level in politics well enough to know my AV from my STV (single transferrable vote). And my Party List from my AMS (additional member system). I'm still very interested in national politics. But I just can't get excited about this AV debate. And if someone who has my level of interest can't get, well, interested in it, then I'm sure there are several million in the UK who don't care or don't even know about it.

The problem is, it doesn't really matter much. AV might have had an influence on some of the elections since 1945. It might have given a minor boost to some of the smaller parties, but probably only the LibDems or their previous incarnations. But it seems to me to be a lot of hot air for not much change, really.

The benefits of the current system are that, generally, it produces an overall majority, meaning a greater prospect of strong Government, albeit at the expense of minor parties. If we accepted the view that we need a much more representative and proportional system, and we genuinely need to take note of those who back the LibDems, Greens, UKIP and - let's be honest - the BNP, then let's have the debate on STV or the party list system which appears to have produced multiple elections in Italy every year since Berlusconi was a lad.

I suspect AV simply isn't enough of a change to spark the interest of the majority of those eligible to vote this Thursday. From reading the coverage since last Friday's big bash in the city, perhaps a Kate v Pippa poll would register a higher turnout!

No comments:

Post a Comment