Sickened by aftermath of UK referendum on Alternative Voting system

 Maybe I should get angry about politics more often! The result of the referendum, by a large majority, is “no” to a change from our voting system from “First Past the Post” to “Alternative Vote.”

I'm appalled to hear politicians who wanted a “no to AV” vote saying that the “no” result means that the British people do not want electoral reform, while the “yes” group say the referendum should be followed by consideration of other forms of voting reform. Surely the occurrence of such a squabble just shows that the question was badly worded, or that there should have been more than one question! Whose idea was it anyway to just ask one question about one specific system?

The “no” team, which includes most of our senior politicians, appear to be complacent enough to believe that this vote exonerates “the system” as if no improvement were possible – just as after an election they claim that the publication of an enormous manifesto with some sane and some insane ideas gives them a public mandate for every sentence in it and at the same time impunity if they break these promises at will! Shocking!

The British parliamentary and legal system is based on the idea that if you have group of people with one idea, and another group argue from the opposite position, then the result will be a correct answer. Historically the system has much to commend it, however it relies on reasoned intelligent debate and individual conscience. Quite apart from the fact that most MP's vote as they are told to vote by their leader, the mere fact that in the run up to this referendum the government have not been able to create a balanced and impartial leaflet about the pro's and con's (but instead appear to have bahaved in the usual electioneering way of seeking advantage for their party) seems to show that people in parliament are no longer capable of reasoned debate. So either “first past the post” is out of date or we are no longer mature enough for it.

Many people have expressed fear that a change in the voting system will result in more coalition governments in Britain, however a friend has pointed out to me that, while our first past the post system has created a coalition goverment for the UK, the election just now has created a “decisive majority” in Scotland through their system of Proportional Representation!

In most of the recent general elections, the public have been encouraged by some to do “tactical voting” if their candidate was unlikely to win enough votes to be elected. In other words, vote to stop the candidate you least like, rather than to elect the candidate you want. A major benefit of AV is that it eliminates this need. You can vote for who you want, and also state who you want to win if your favourite does not win.

I hope there is nobody who has in the past, or will want in the future, to place a “tactical vote,” amongst those who voted “no” to AV or chose not to vote.

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