In less than a month, Britain will go to the polls in a second nationwide referendum in its history, writes Mike Indian, offering us the chance to help shape the future of our democracy.
In the days after the inconclusive general election result last May, hundreds gathered before Nick Clegg and shouted “Give us electoral reform!” That moment is almost upon us.
Across the country, the ‘YES to Fairer Votes’ teams are stepping up their hard-run campaigns for the final gasp to polling day. Across the nation, there are a high proportion of undecided voters. In the West Midlands, a region of five million people, the balance of referendum hinges on the efforts of activists. This week, in sunny Solihull, campaigners were met with enthusiasm from shoppers enjoying the fine weather. The public are keen to hear about the referendum and the Alternative Vote.
Increasingly, the central role of those on the ground, is not just raising raising awareness, but also myth busting. Firstly, is AV a complicated system? No, in the words of Charles Kennedy, if you can count to three, then you can understand AV. The voter can list as many preferences as they like. If you want to vote for just one candidate, you can.
Secondly, isn’t AV is an unpopular and discredited system? Actually its not. The Australians currently use a preferential system, similar to AV. A prominent point in the literature of the ‘No to AV’ campaign has been that Australians wants to get rid of their system. However, Former Australian PM John Howard confirmed this week that Australia is not trying to get rid of its system and were not likely ever to.
Finally, won’t AV just help the BNP? Not a chance. Even the BNP themselves do not think that they’d do any better under the Alternative Vote. In fact, they are campaigning against the change. They feel they are more likely to make gains under the current system.
May 5 represents a rare moment of pure democracy for Britain, where your opinion will impact directly on our political system. Unfounded rumours and scurrilous speculation threaten to obscure the truth that AV is a change for the better.
See past the fog of confusion and vote YES on May 5.
Do you disagree? Is the Alternative Vote the right system? Comment or send us your response: email@example.com