We have war in Afghanistan. We have another one possibly in Libya. Inflation is picking up. The Brown Budget Deficit is still with us and hitting hard – and the Euro is falling apart thanks to the daft idea that 17 different countries from Ireland to Greece and Finland to Cyprus can all start using a single currency in the twinkling of an eye and all behave like West Germany in the 1970s!
In the midst of all this we have a Referendum on whether to adopt the least popular method of electing MPs in the whole world – where they elect them at all, that is! ‘Barmy!’ I hear you cry – and you’re right!
HOWEVER, the worst thing people of sanity can do is to throw up their hands and say ‘I’m having nothing to do with it!’ and not vote. If you do that you leave it open to the celebrities and change-for-the-sake-of-it mongers to impose their half-baked scheme on the rest of us for good and all. Whoever you are and whatever your politics, please vote NO!
The system does not guarantee proportionality of seats. Far from it. It is not what the Lib Dems have campaigned for for decades, which makes their support for it such rank hypocrisy. They probably think that Labour voters will give the Lib Dems second preference against the Tories. But I have news for them. In large tracts of the South and West, where current or recent Lib Dem local authorities abound, lots of Labour activists and voters prefer the Tories to the Lib Dems. Quite a lot lent their votes to the Lib Dems in 2010 but they may well not do so again. Here in Kingston is a strong case in point.
Lib Dem supporters of AV hope it will lead to PR in the short term as its defects become apparent in practice. They are buying a pig in a poke if that’s what they think. What government is going to introduce a major constitutional change like this again within the next few decades? Australians have been critical of their system for decades (they are the only major country to use it, by the way) yet it is still there, largely because every government is nervous about kicking away the ladder by which it climbed to power.
So would everyone please think carefully about their vote on 5th May and find out as much as you can and ask yourself seriously whether this system is the one by which you want to elect MPs (and probably councillors too) for the rest of your life. If you want either to keep the present system – or to change to PR of some sort – then vote NO. It’s the only logocal thing to do.