Avoid discussing politics or religion, so goes the standard advice for dinner party etiquette. These are the topics which, particularly after a glass of wine (or five) can spark blazing heated rows and divide a otherwise amicable group. Keep conversation light, pleasant, peaceful, talk about mutual interests, hobbies, or if needs be the weather. Boring? Perhaps, but at least no-one’s likely to swear a blood feud and storm out of the room over a comment on how clement it’s been for this time of year.
Actually, I enjoy a blazing heated row every so often, but there is certainly a time and a place. So, in the manner of an online dinner party, I’ve so far kept my views on politics and religion out of this blog. There are plenty of politics blogs out there and this isn’t one of them.
There are times however when something is so important that it’s worth breaking this rule, and today is one of those days. Today is the UK referendum on AV and the first chance we’ve had in centuries to significantly change the UK voting system. You may have noticed a new badge recently in the top left hand corner of the page showing my support for the Yes to AV campaign, so it’s pretty obvious which way I’ll be voting today. For the sake of a fairer and more democratically accountable voting system I urge you to please do the same, however if you still need convincing here are some of my favourite explanations for why AV beats the socks off FPTP.
And this particularly informative analysis of the arguments from the No to AV campaign which explains why it’s full of condescending propaganda and lies.
Finally, if the reason you’re not voting for AV isn’t because you want to keep FPTP but because you don’t think AV goes far enough I urge you to reconsider. This is potentially a once in a lifetime chance, and although AV isn’t a perfect system it’s much better than FPTP and represents a first step towards full proportional representation. However if FPTP wins in this referendum it will be declared as a victory for the status quo and touted as evidence that no-one really wants to change the voting system anyway. You will have, rather ironically, split the vote between those who want change and those who don’t, giving FPTP a victory under it’s own terms.
So please make sure you get to your polling booth today and vote YES to AV and YES to fairer votes.