How about… NO?

After long (really) deliberation, I voted NO on the referendum. I was actually in two minds right up until I arrived in the booth. On the one hand, I thought that I really ought to say yes, that if there was a resounding NO from the British public, that there would be possibly another hundred years before any form of electoral reform was suggested again (and seriously, the current system is irretrievably broken) -possibly never- and, er, well that’s about it.
On the other hand, I don’t like the idea of AV. I especially don’t like the way that it will be used to demonstrate that all MPs have some sort of mandate of over 50% of the electorate, when they may simply be bottom of most people’s lists. Also, those shameless ditherers the Liberal Democrats like it (presumably thinking it will work out good for them) which tempts me to think that if it’s good for them, it certainly won’t be good for me.
Eventually, I decided that the wrong reform would be worse than no reform, so now we just have to wait and see how it turns out.

On the council election, I exercised only 2/3 of my electoral right. I was allowed to vote for three candidates out of a field of around 12- all but two were either Lib Dem, Conservative or Labour. I was damned if I would vote for any of those buggers so that left me with the English Democrat and UKIP candidates, neither party I’m terribly enamoured with but I figured a vote against the other three parties was better than a spoiled ballot.

So there you have it.

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3 responses to “How about… NO?

  1. Not so much the wrong reform, I think. That implies that there is a single right reform and when the system is as fucked as it is I don’t think that’s possible. I believe AV is, or probably I should say would have been, a small step in the right direction, but only a very small one. It could be one of a package of reforms but of course that wasn’t the question. As with all referenda it would have been interesting to ask it a different way:

    “Does the UK’s voting system need to be reformed?”

    I think the Yes vote might have won that one.

  2. Actually, although I didn’t mention it in the post, your system down under was one of the reasons I voted no.
    Once the psychological barrier against dicking around with the voting system is changed I can see lots of other reforms being suggested and tried and possibly one of those would be compulsory voting. Then they really WOULD be able to say each mp had a majority mandate.

  3. Sorry for the belated reply. I can understand that, though I don’t entirely agree with it. For my money breaking that psychological barrier is essential purely because (or so I believe) a whole boatload of reforms are needed. I’ve blogged on what I think should be done and why at my place, though as far as I know nowhere is doing all of them – inevitable since some of them are being done nowhere at all. However, although I’d listed compulsory voting as one of the things the UK should absolutely not copy from here it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be one of the things suggested as a reform for the UK. Now that I think about it compulsory voting seems likely to get more support from Brits than AV, though I’m not sure a referendum would be necessary to make it happen. Certainly it’s a lesser change in some respects since it involves no actual tinkering with the voting method and technically isn’t even compulsory voting but compulsory showing up at the polling station, which could be argued is not much of an extension to the compulsion (well kind of, and really not enforced as far as I know) to be on the electoral roll. Possibly a referendum wasn’t really needed for AV either, I don’t know either way, but that certainly would change the voting system and would have been tough to justify without a referendum when no party put it in their manifesto. Successfully stand for election on “We will introduce compulsory voting” and it’s probably a done deal.

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