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Day: April 1, 2011

My Postal Card came through this morning. Two decisions – Yes to AV and should I waste a vote on the Lib Dems?

This has nothing to do with my broad support for the Lib Dems but in the local elections the Lib Dems quite simply cannot win here. I live in what is called on wikipedia, ‘an affluent area within the Borough of Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England, situated on the Thames Estuary.’ otherwise known as Thorpe Bay. I always call it ‘the posh part of Southend’ when describing it to people. It isn’t really posh but it is nice and quiet and it situated by the River Thames meeting the North Sea. It isn’t posh enough for its own M&S – much to my chargrin.

Anyway the point is this is not Lib Dem territory. The Lib Dems are stronger in Southend West is areas like Leigh, Belfairs, Prittlewell, Blenheim Park and the like but in Southend East they are fighting for fourth with the BNP and UKIP. The Tories fight with a plethora of Independents at council level and it is a a big fight. Labour are a distant third but won’t be challenged by the Lib Dems for that bronze medal. So in essence the person I would most likely want to vote for is a completely wasted vote under the current system and this is the exact reason we should be voting Yes to AV.

Under AV we can still vote for who we want to vote for but if they don’t win – like in many areas of the country – you know the person you want to win quite simply cannot – then you can feel be a real part of the election process by identifying the other candidates and listening to what they have to say. By doing this we can form a much more educated decision on who we are voting for and then rank them accordingly on an AV ballot. AV will enhance our understanding of politics, policies and the people who we are voting for. Under the current system most people act out of long-standing loyalty to one party and will vote for them and that is that.

Under AV it opens up the debate and even those loyal to one party for generations can still vote for that party but also vote for other policies and people and cynically can vote against the people they really do not like with much more fervour. AV will allow tactical voting still but you will not have to stop supporting the party you so desire. I used to live in the south in staunch Tory heartlands and their only opposition were the Lib Dems. I knew many who were deep down Labour who just voted Lib Dem because it was the only way to beat the Tories. Under AV these people could vote Labour and then put the Lib Dems as second preference. Thus having the best of both worlds.

As for the absolute tripe Baroness Warsi is spouting about under AV up to 35 seats could go to the minorities. Anyone who believes that needs to stop for a second and just have a think. Most people do not support the BNP is any way shape or form. This includes the vast majority from all other parties. So is it likely in any way that they’ll gain enough second preferences to get through the 50% mark? The answer is quite obvious no. The decision by the Tory leader of the No to AV campaign to scaremonger and belittle the electorate is quite simply deplorable. Why can’t we just have honest politics about this?

If you want more choice and a fairer system where votes are weighted more equally throughout the country then vote yes. If you like things the way they are and don’t mind the fact that many MPs have a job for life then vote no. Simples as that damned meerkat would say. AV will not cost £250million to install. That is more pathetic scare-mongering from people scared of opening up politics to the people. Under FPTP the status-quo will always remain but AV throws open new opportunities and a turnover of MPs with people having far more chance of voting out MPs who are doing a poor job for their constituents. The fact the head of the No to AV campaign is an unelected official says a lot.

So I am firmly in the Yes to AV camp due to it giving the electorate far more choice and allows the voters to listen to every party and candidate with far more interest than usual. MPs will have to liaise with their constituents far more and that can only be a good thing. It won’t just be a case of ‘I’ve always voted for x party so will again or just not vote as a protest,’ which it has been for a large proportion of the British electorate. it will be more of a ‘I’ll vote for x party out of loyalty but also listen to the other parties to determine who should get my second preference’.

As an aside looking at the local election results in this area – well in the west part of Southend – when David Amess finally steps down as a local MP then the Lib Dems have a legit chance to take the seat. Amess has been a local MP for eons and that is under the current system pretty much always a good thing. Under AV it might not be as easy but even so when the Tories have to put up a fresh name to fight the Lib Dems in Southend West then I firmly believe that they will have a genuine fight on their hands and when that days comes – whoever stands for the Lib Dems will have my number.

As for who I’ll vote for in the local elections – a pointless Lib Dem vote for a vote for the seemingly popular independent. That is still up in the air. The independent has popped a leaflet through my door. No-one else has as yet…

PS: One day I’ll proof-read my blogs. One day…

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