If, like me, you’re in the UK then you may be just as confused as I am about the choices in the up-coming referendum on May 5th.
You may well have checked out the official site and found it about as much use as an invalidated voting form!! I certainly did. The public information film by the “no” vote only served to confuse the issue – which was probably the point of it!
So what does the diligent citizen do if he wants to find out exactly what the alternative vote entails? To save you all the trouble the best graphic explaining the premise is on the Guardian’s website. It certainly has been put much more succinctly than the “No vote” film!
I’m not going to presume to tell anyone which way to vote. It is after all dependent on your personal preference but something needs to change. Obviously David Cameron, being in power as he currently is, would like things to stay “as-is”; whilst his partner-in-crime Nick Clegg would like it to change in order to give his party more chance of winning more than a few seats.
I think the alternative vote system has one positive aspect and that is that candidates would really have to go out and convince the floating voters, and possibly steal votes from other parties with a solid manifesto rather than hollow promises. Only those candidates that can guarantee that their core support will amount to more than 50% of the votes could get away with not being so proactive. Possibly! The AV system could bring them down big-time if they rely on their +50% being a “given”.
It would certainly make things more interesting!
For me, though, I have a problem with putting down alternatives. For a lot of people I can see it being akin to supporting more than one football team – if you’re a true fan you just don’t do it! You have your team and you support them, no matter what! Whilst I agree with that in the football context I do, however, suspect that I’m probably one of those voters that could be won over to another party by a candidate presenting a better argument to the candidate representing my party of choice. Such is the fickle finger of many a voter.
Conversely, there are those with their own personal reasons for voting the way they do and are less likely to change their allegiances. So how are they expected to pick a second-best alternative (let alone a third, fourth, etc.)? I suspect that this issue alone will be the biggest reason for people voting to keep the ‘first passed the post’ system – providing they all vote to keep the current system. If not, again, it could make for very interesting elections in the future – most likely with really low turn-outs which, perversely, would bring the alternative vote system into its’ own!
The “No vote” brigade really need to get their message across. There’s no doubt that their confusing film probably helped for convince those people that don’t have internet access, or can’t be bothered to look up the real facts. Whether that’s transferred into action on the day … we’ll have to wait and see.