As far as I am able, I am going to try to avoid indulging in the petty rhetoric and name-calling that has typified each side of the referendum publicity campaigns.*
This week, there will be a referendum as to whether the current system through which we elect our representatives should be changed. I am not going to tell you how to vote; I only implore you that you do.
It appears that all public discussion of the AV debate has focused on the immediate effects of a change, and on the change to the election of a Member of Parliament. It has equally been argued that candidates will have to “work harder for your vote” and conversely that it won’t actually affect rotten boroughs**. I cannot hope to add a helpful voice to that discourse.
My desire is that you consider the implications of a change.
If AV becomes our system of election, more (elect) power will go to smaller parties. This would mean a less decisive election victory, and possibly a succession of hung parliaments or else coalition governments.
While this may be more directly representative of the electorate (albeit not proportional), it will lead to weaker governments less able to conceive and promote focused policies – consider these very campaigns and that our PM and deputy are arguing for opposite sides, irrespective of any Cabinet Collective Responsibility. We would be draining power from the body we elect to hold it. We do not need a weak and cosy coalition. We need a strong government, and a strong opposition.
Coalition brings with it broken promises – compromise between disparate parties must be made; else there’d be no need for multiple parties. I do not wish to be ruled by a government consisting primarily of second or third choices (by definition, precisely who we do not wish to lead), who have had to abandon key policies to form a weak and shaky alliance.
On Thursday the Fifth of May, I shall be voting. I ask you to too.
* I cannot judge if I was wholly successful. That is for you to decide.
** I mean, safe seats. Sorry.