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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

5 May: The Vote; Alternative or Otherwise.

Flowchart for counting IRV votesImage via Wikipedia
Today, in UK, we vote, some of us in local council elections, all of us in the referendum on alternative voting. Some, of course, won’t bother with either. Whether this is idleness, indifference, cynicism, boredom or an underlying distrust of the political system, it’s a sad outcome when you consider that people suffered and died so we would have the right to make our feelings known. In many Arab countries, in China, in African states, people are being killed, incarcerated, beaten and tortured simply for expressing views at variance with the current voice of power. It does us little credit to allow laziness or petty reasoning to prevent us exercising those hard-won rights and freedoms. I hope as many as possible will go out there and vote today.

As for the Alternative Vote referendum; the ‘No’ camp has put out some pretty scary propaganda; the vast majority of it untrue, of course, since it is the current powers that most fear change.
A ‘No’ vote will mean a continuation of the status quo; the seesaw between selfish conservatism and ideologically outdated socialism will carry on, with little positive effect on the vast majority of the electorate as those MPs, certain of a job for life, settle back into the trough and get on with their other jobs at the expense of the country.
A ‘Yes’ vote will probably mean a change, and a change that may possibly be for the better. I’m not suggesting there will be an overnight or even a noticeable change to begin with. But, the alternative voting system, flawed as it is, will at least mean that your MP will have to take your concerns into account, if he or she is to rely on your vote next time round.
At present, we can have a government voted in by 23% of the electorate, but the ‘No’ camp appear to believe it’s perfectly acceptable for the country to be run by people who 77% of the country didn’t want in power and want to see such inequity continue forever. My own view is that my MP should become the representative he/she is supposed to be; I want this public servant, who is paid a large salary to work for me and you, to do just that: work for me and you. Don’t you? 
I hold no brief for any political party; in fact, I believe that party politics is not good democracy. A group of independents would serve us better, in my opinion.
If you'd like to know a little more about this issue, try the following links:
An organisation of activists for change in many areas - http://38degrees.org.uk/
You might find these articles by the BBC helpful:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/13112302
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11243595

Or you could have a look at what the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns for the referendum have to say:
Yes Campaign: http://www.yestofairervotes.org/
No Campaign: http://www.no2av.org/ 



But, whatever else you decide, please do make the effort to actually go out there and place your vote. There are millions in the rest of the world risking their lives to take freedoms we take for granted.


My apologies to my international readers, for whom this post is likely to be of little interest.

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