While AV has been described as a 'miserable little compromise' and the knowing that the vote is between a deeply unfair and disproportionate system where you can vote once, and a deeply unfair and disproportionate system where you can express your preferences, I am still convinced that we should vote Yes in the AV referendum.
Our democracy is broken and AV is only a very small step to true reform and a modern democracy. But unless we are able to take this small step, progress is likely to be stopped in its tracks. Those desperate to hang on to our discredited political system will herald a No vote as a desire to stick with a sham system that allows government to be elected by just 22% of the population.
Under FPTP, most people who vote in elections end up voting for a candidate who loses meaning that most people are not represented by a candidate that they support. Under AV a candidate needs to achieve 50% of the vote so under AV, most voters would be represented by someone they support.
Claims that AV is expensive and too complicated are simply untrue. There is no need for expensive machines – this claim by the No campaign is not based on fact and has been widely discredited. AV is a straightforward system to count.
No campaigners also claim that people can’t cope with using 1,2 and 3 to rank their candidates in order of preference, a claim that is frankly insulting. Perhaps the best reason to vote No might be an inability to count to three?
What AV will achieve is being able to express a preference and one that has a 50:50 chance of counting. It will make a small improvement to our discredited electoral system and it should be seen as the first step on a road to real democracy.
If you want to consider just how bad the FPTP system is, just consider how we elect the new bodies in this country, the London, Scottish and Welsh assemblies as well as MEPs are elected proportionally. The Major of London and the leader of the Labour party are elected using AV. Astonishingly even David Cameron was elected as leader of the Conservatives using a form of AV –he came second in the first round of voting.
Before you vote, ask yourself what type of electoral system you think will give us the type of politics that we have seen for the last 100 years. If you want change, you will need to vote for it.