Sunday, April 24, 2011

37/100: Why I Shall Vote YES (For AV)

I received a leaflet on post yesterday urging me to vote NO on the 5th of May, helping to keep Britain's First Past The Post voting system intact. There is a photo of runners on the finishing line, and the message that under AV, the person coming second may be the winner. Like everything in today's Britain, it is an appeal to my fear: It is based on the assumption that I can be fooled, and misled easily.

This informative video from BBC will tell anyone that AV is not about the losers winning, which the right-wingers are trying to establish, but about public having more choice, elections producing results and candidates winning fairly and squarely. It is giving the public more say and MPs less to play with. It will reduce the premium on the kind of dishonest politics of fear that the NO camp is playing.

I shall argue that AV reflects the realities of political life in the modern times. Rarely, it is a straightforward choice between two clear alternatives, but many shades of the same opinion and many imperfect candidates. Indeed, one may say that the voters are frightened by choice: Indeed, they may be. I know people like straightforward options, choices between black and white. This is how politics in most democratic nations are played out, reducing democracy to a number game of 'vote banks' and tribal affiliations. But, AV forces no one to declare their second or third choices. It just provides the option to those who is interested in making the political system better and more responsive. And, given the deep effect politicians have over our lives, I would rather vote YES and have more choice.

One reason why many people like me may not vote at all or end up voting NO is because of the deep distrust we have for Lib-Dems. For all their high-pitched politics, they have proved themselves capable of most astonishing political somersaults. But this is choice for the future, of British democracy, and democracy in general in other parts of the world. I see this not being about endorsing Lib-Dems, which I shall loath to do, but about giving a new life to democracy and save it from the clans-and-cronies degeneration that currently plagues it.

So, indeed, I shall turn up and vote YES.

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