Wednesday, 13 April 2011

AV vote becoming increasingly partisan

I fear that this Alternative Vote referendum is becoming more and more about party political preference rather than what it should be, a question of how best to represent the wishes of voters. This isn't a sleight aimed at any party, or indeed any individuals, and both sides of the referendum are engaging in it, it's merely an observation which is really quite disappointing.

This vote shouldn't be about what system will help which party, but yet many, many people who's views I respect and agree with on so many other things are basing their support or opposition to the Alternative Vote based on how it will affect their political party. They argue that what is in the interests of their chosen party is in the interests of the country, and so any change to the system which is bad for their party is bad for the country, and vice versa.

Whilst the belief that the interests of your party are in the interests of the nation seems a rather natural belief, it should have no bearing on this referendum. You cannot drag the electorate along with you based on a malfunctioning voting system, you have to earn and keep their trust. When judging electoral systems you should look at it from a completely impartial point of view, and base your decision on whether or not said system reflects the wishes of the nation. If that harms your party, then tough, you should focus more energy into making sure you do represent them.

Too many people in this country don't have a vote that matters. AV is not a cure-all, but it will end the very worst of FPTP in that it takes away the need for tactical voting. I find it outrageous that in a modern democracy people cannot vote for the candidate they prefer simply for the fear of letting in someone worse. If all that happens is AV is the end of this kind of campaigning then I think it will have been worth doing.

I may dislike Tory policy, but is it right that people are denied the chance to vote for them?

I have already made many cases for AV, but this was simply me expressing my exasperation that party politics kept getting dragged into the debate. This is about making sure that MPs truly represent their constituents, not just the ones that are members of their party.

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