Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sadly, its a "no to change" not a "no to AV"

As anyone who is remotely aware of the news, the country overwhelmingly voted “no to AV” yesterday. I however, beg to differ, in the majority of cases, you haven’t seen “no to AV” but the electorate, saying “You haven’t bloody told me what AV is, how can I vote for it?”. 
Now you may be thinking, well actually I do know what I want, and this just isn’t it. Well, I don’t buy that argument either.
Lets go back a year/year and a half, as you will all remember, this was the age of “the expenses scandal”. The public had just found out that the vast sum of tax they pay, was being spent of adult films or duck houses. As predicted, anger swept across the country, we had been let down by the people we trusted most - our mandaated representatives.
Closer to my point, following this came one of the most over used cliché’s of the last year and one which clearly isn’t true after the rejection of another voting system - “disillusioned with politics”. Now, I may be reading into this wrong, but when i think of people being so unhappy about something, that they have become “disillusioned”, I think its fairly safe to assume they might just want a change from the status quo. In fact people were demanding changes to politics as well - evidently reflected in the rather unpredictable 2010 election result.
So why does all of this matter, well yesterday’s referendum result shows one of two things, people either dont want change (i strongly doubt this),or more likely,they just didn’t understand the significance of the referendum. 
You don’t have to know an awful lot about politics, to know that yes the vote was about changing the voting system to a relatively knew, slightly altered version of the current system - which does have its flaws. But this is besides the point. People just didn’t understand the implications of a  ”yes to AV” result yesterday.
As explained, we would have a different system, but this was the biggest chance to change and influence the future of politics, in at least one generation, more likely 3 or 4 (the Lib Dem’s wont regain people’s trust for a rather long while - doesn’t require an expert to see that). This may appear to be only a mere change in the voting system, but actually, by political standards, this would have been a hell of a change. And as with any institution, if you change the system, the people in the system (politicians) have to change and adapt to survive. Now when people ranting and begging about disillusionment and needing to change politics, when an opportunity actually comes around, (for example;should we change the whole political system?) we should say yes. But we didn’t we said no, and a resounding no at that.
Why did people say no to this opportunity for change. Its actually simple, people saw the negative ramifications of AV -partly due to the fact there wasn’t really much of a yes campaign (surprising given this was the Lib Dems only thing they could keep in the coalition) - but not the positive consequences. Mainly, within the foreseeable future, we probably would have voted for a fully PR system and replace AV anyway, so no need to worry about how rubbish AV is. However, the result yesterday means this is unlikely to happen for a long time, due to the fact that the Lib Dems are the only ones who are pushing for electoral reform, and they probably wont have this much power again for a very long time. Most importantly, the electorate didn’t understand that this the biggest and only chance for change, for the next 50 years at least. And, isn’t it change we wanted in the first place?

No comments:

Post a Comment