On May 5th the United Kingdom will vote on its second referendum of all its constituent states; this time to decide whether we would like to change to the Alternative Vote system or keep our current First Past The Post method of election.
A recent ICM poll for The Guardian showed that 58% of voters wished to keep the current FPTP system even though the ‘Yes to AV’ campaign promises that the change would provide fairer votes and more accountable MPs. Under AV, in order to win an election, an MP would have to ensure they get more than 50% of the votes in their area, rather than simply more votes than their competitors, which is the case with FPTP.
…it is as easy as ranking preferences 1-2-3-4…
The ‘No to AV’ campaign have framed their debate much more on the reputation of Nick Clegg and their perception that the AV system is confusing (many have questioned this saying it is as easy as ranking preferences 1-2-3-4 etc,) and expensive to introduce.
But there has been little public debate on whether the system itself would be an improvement or rather “change for change’s sake”, a position held by the ‘No to AV, Yes to PR’ campaign which is calling on voters to vote against AV, which is not a proportional system, but in favour of a referendum on a change to one of the Proportional Representation system of voting.
For now, this isn’t the choice we have come May 5th. Instead we have to decide which system means ‘fairer votes’ and at the moment neither campaign can claim to have convinced the public that they fit this criterion.
Image courtesy of Propaganda Times