Reuben has already put out a very good succinct post on why the left shouldn’t vote for AV, but it still seems not enough people are listening to him. Over the last 24 hours I’ve been told by at least 20 left-of-Labour facebook friends that I should be voting yes to AV. So here goes at shooting down their arguments.
The first premise upon which we must work is that parliamentary democracy is a sham. It’s notoriously bad at actually representing anything that the populace thinks, mainly as a result of them not having a say in very much. Nonetheless it’s a system that we have to work with and we should probably be trying to get as many lefty MPs as possible.
“Won’t it be wonderful when you can vote for whoever you like without the concern that you’ll let the tories in?”
This is apparently the strongest argument that the left pro-AV campaign can come up with – an end to tactical voting. Erm, no. There is nothing great or wonderful about the political act of putting a cross (or number) on a ballot paper, particularly when said cross (or number) doesn’t change anything. The truth of the matter is that under AV, in many cases your vote is worth less than it would be under FPTP. This is a shit trade-off. There is absolutely no point in being able to vote for whoever you want on the condition that they can’t actually get in. For those of you who do think that putting a cross on a ballot paper is a great political act, I recommend you do one of the following: 1) Join a trade union; 2) Get involved with social movements, or if so inclined join an organization; 3) Print your own propaganda 4) Do some direct action; 5) Write a blog/letters to newspapers; 6) Set up a lobby of your MP on an issue, and co-ordinate with others; 7) Run a smear campaign on a public figure.
“It will give minority parties a better chance.”
This is frankly nonsense. It will only give minority parties a better chance if they can pick up transfers, which is generally going to be untrue for anyone standing to the left of Labour. Seriously, go look at where left MPs have got in – other than the hardcore left-Labour John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, the left have a chance in marginal constituencies, where they may get in with say 30% of the vote (for example Caroline Lucas). I wish this were not the case, but it is. Seriously, go look at where left have made these gains and try to work out where they’d get all the transfers from. The people it will give a bigger chance to are parties that politically position themselves close to others.
“This is the one route to proper proportional representation.”
You are not going to get PR, you dumb fucks. Labour oppose it, as do the Tories. It’s just not going to happen. Please don’t dump us in the worst possible electoral system for the left for 10, 20, 30 or more years because you think PR is on its way.
“It is just inherently fairer and more representative.”
Well not really. Actually for anyone left of Labour it will be less representative. Where your squeazed minority opinions may have in the past been amounted to a scattering of MPs, the new system will see us having no political representation whatsoever. It may be “fairer and more representative” for the middle ground, but given that parliamentary democracy is already a load of bollocks, I’d rather have whatever power we can get than none at all, based on some nonsense rhetoric about what’s fair. Indeed, if people to the left of Labour having no say at all is “fairer and more representative” I’d question the value of these terms.