Someone suggested that I pen a few lines about why I am voting no to AV. I have been procrastinating about it because
a- its been Easter so I've had a few things on
b- most of my readers/ friends are lovely liberal types who will most likely be in favour
c- I had a fairly vibrant public disagreement with my diocesan bishop about it and am a little scarred!
But for what its worth:
I think at the core of my opposition is about what I believe about history. I believe that history twists and turns on the interplay of radical characters being themselves in a larger arena. God (or fate or whatever Richard Dawkins might call it) and specifics humans engage in a dance that takes world events down particular roads at particular times. This can be for immense bad, or immense good.
In antithesis my very particular take on history thinks that much harm has been done by mediocre characters in the interests of 'safety' and 'stability'. I read a tweet (I know not the source of all sound knowledge) which said this:
"More girls were killed for being girls in the last 50 yrs than men were killed in all the battles of the 20th century"
I suspect that if we do the maths more people were killed in defence of stability, safety, how things used to be and such stuff than by all the crazy mad people who kills out of ideological drive. (I could insert here a little bit about AV being the 'safe' choice that stops all the suburban types having hissy fits about the BNP getting an MP)..
My, this is a long preamble..
And isn't actually making my argument very well.. so I shall cut to the chase as it were.
AV, in my opinion, will lead to a celebration of mediocrity. Ultimately the least 'dangerous' candidate/ party will hold power. I work for the Church of England where such attitudes have held sway for years and perhaps explain why in the main we are dying on our butts. I think people will vote #2 for someone safe: and therefore in anything marginal the dull safe person or party will win.. Yaaawwwwn!
AV is not significantly more proportional due to the random nature of the constituency system.
AV doesn't help the reality that we try to marry two foundational and yet opposing political givens in the country. We seem to want local MPs. But we are also obsessed with party politics. AV doesn't 'solve' this or offer a decent alternative.
The idea that this will be our only chance ever says something quite disturbing about what we believe about democracy in our country. And isn't true. If we care enough for long enough it will come round again.. and frankly if we can make the debate rage for years about foxes but can't do it for voting then we deserve an unrepresentative dictatorship!
And finally: and this is mean spirited but I don't care. The Lib Dems have perpetuated fraud on the voters. They have lied and sold to to almost everything they ever said in pre election campaigning. Now we can blame the anti war leftists for being so profoundly naive (oh I just did, job done).. but we can also hope that those same leftists don't vote for AV as it will stop the Lib Dems receiving their due punishment.
One might argue that such electoral treachery means that Clegg and co deserve to be wiped from the electoral map. AV will most likely lead to them having more MPs (due to our strange part allegiance stuff). And that just doesn't seem fair: sell out your whole platform except the one thing that might help you stay vaguely in power.
So I will vote no to AV. But I will continue to ask and campaign for a better system. Because I want to beleive that democracy is real and if the people ask for something they will eventually get it!
(I will also post about what system I would like and why.. but not yet).