Posted Under: Democracy,Green Party,GreenFeed
On the same day that David Cameron and arch-Blairite former Home Secretary, John Reid, shared a platform to denounce AV, the Evening Standard came out against voting reform, patronising the electorate by basing its flimsy argument on the crazy notion that AV is so much harder to understand. I wonder what’s so hard to understand about ranking candidates in order of preference. Most semi-intelligent people have learnt how to count to five by the time they reach 18. Then again, perhaps the Tories implicitly accept that right wing voters are inherently stupid and that’s why they’re so scared of electoral reform. It might also explain why the BNP are equally opposed to AV.
Meanwhile, with a few honourable exceptions, the Greens are out in force campaigning for AV. As Waveney Councillor Graham Elliott reports:
In Waveney I know several people who voted for their THIRD choice candidate in the 2010 general election in an attempt to keep the Conservatives out. They knew their first choice (Green) would not win and they also knew that the Lib Dems (their second choice) were weak in Waveney and the contest was really a two-horse race between Labour and the Conservatives. They therefore voted Labour which was their third choice. Under AV they would have been able to vote 1 for Green, 2 for Lib Dem and 3 for Labour with no increased risk of letting the Tories in. This is just one specific example to illustrate why the current system doesn’t work. Far too many people vote to keep a party out rather than vote for they believe in. AV will allow a more honest expression of voters values.
From my time campaigning with Elliott, back when I used to live in Suffolk, I’ve come to realise that he’s one of those people whom if they’re on your side, you’re probably on the right one. And if it’s a choice between the Greens, Ed Miliband and the Lib Dems vs. The Tories, John Reid, Nick Griffin and the Evening Standard, I think it becomes clear which side has the moral highground.
Of course, as Reid’s appearance with Cameron shows, the debate does cross party lines. But, increasingly it seems, it is running along ideological ones. With a few obvious exceptions, the left are falling behind AV and the right are coming out against it. No one wants to have Nick Clegg on their team, I admit, he’s the spotty fat geek with asthma we got lumbered with because nobody picked him. But set him aside for now. The referendum isn’t about kicking Clegg – we can wedgie him in the changing rooms come the next election – this is about setting the direction of our democracy.
We can go forward or we can stand still forever. It’s time for those on the left who, for whatever genuine and principled reasons they have, have come out against AV, to look around them and see who’s playing for their team and what their agenda is. It’s time for them to ask themselves, whose side are they on?