Thursday, 28 April 2011

Yes to fairer votes!

Wilson and Former Cabinet Minister MP Sammy Lammy say yes to fairer voting!

Wilson and Murad Qureshi London Assembly Member say yes to fairer votes!

Wilson and Business Secretary MP Vince Cable say yes to fairer votes!

Katie Ghosh Cheif Executive of the Yes to Fairer Votes group spoke of the need for a more progressive voting system to enhance UK democracy.

Baroness Oona King spoke out against the deceitful "No" campaign set on preventing adoption of AV.

Other guests included Baroness Meral Hussein- ece

David Lammy former Cabinet Minister explained that the AV system would make MP's strive harder to serve their electorate.

The meeting was chaired by Director of Operation Black Vote Simon Wooley.

Vince Cable has been an outspoken proponent for AV and alluded to a desire for proportional representation that empowered every vote.

Many of local residents have queried how to vote in the forthcoming referendum on the potential adoption of an Alternative Vote election system in the UK. I was reticent to speak on the matter on this blog until being invited to the Operation Black Vote Leaders Rally. The Leaders Rally stirred me to convey the potential benefit of the proposed new voting system.

This proxy is the first of its kind in 36 years - the last national referendum in the UK was held on the year of my birth 1975. There have been only 9 major referendums in the UK some of you will remember the London Mayor Referendum and other will remember Scottish Devolution or National Welsh Assembly Referendums, to state a few.

The fact remain that the sovereignty of Parliament ultimately makes the final decision one to be made by our MP's. However, it would be a rare turn of events for the Government to renege on the decision made by the wider populous on this debate.

So how should we vote in the forthcoming referendum?

I am no expert on AV however, I am a keen supporter of any progressive political movements. I detail below my perceptions of the benefits of AV which were echoed in similar fashion at the Leaders rally held at Commonwealth House,Northumberland Avenue, London:

1. AV will require a strong majority win: The first past the post existing voting system allows potential winners to be elected without a strong majority. This has resulted in many MP's being selected on 30% margins or slightly higher. With the AV system by the utilisation of priority voting (1st choice, 2nd Choice, 3rd Choice), elected MP's will categorically have to attain votes from at least 50% of the electorate.

2. AV increases choice: Electors unhappy with a particular party they traditionally vote for, can opt to give them a lower ranking whilst voting for an alternative hard working individual as a first choice. This is a more positive protest vote than a vote for an extremist group such as the BNP, who won a large number of Labour votes in recent elections. It will open the door to a stronger presence of popular, hardworking individuals (MP's) from smaller parties who will gain a larger share of votes.

3. AV will stimulate endeavour amongst potential MP's: The very fact that 50% of the votes will be required for a seat will mean that MP's will be required to be known by their electorate and representative. This could create a pathway for our first Greem MP locally. Moreover, numerous polls indicate the majority of electors do not know the names of their local MP's or Councillors and could not recognise them by face. AV would stimulate a concerted effort by our MP's to engage with their electorate, meaning that core local issues would direct their decisions in Parliament - resulting in a Government more in tune with its people.

4. AV would increase the weight of your vote: Many people feel disenfranchised by their vote and often are apathetic about completing an election proxy, much due to a belief that their vote will make no difference. This is the case in the First past the post system in which only a major shift in voting allegiance would have any affect and MP's could be elected on simple majorities. Although the AV system is not as favourable as proportional representation in which every single vote counts - it is a sure and steady step in the right direction.

Dispelling the Myths:

The AV system is not costly to introduce this is a fallacy and a ploy to retain the unrepresentative and undemocratic election system, that has created our existing two party political regime.

The AV system is not a new invention, charities use it for their leadership elections, the Speaker of the House of Commons is selected in the same way. AV is used when voting for the London Mayor and has been used for decades in Australia during their parliamentary elections. Moreover one of the reasons why the First past the post system is so globally entrenched is due to Britain once colonising much of the know world during it's empire building day's. Such voting systems are part of the last vestiges of that period, the empire has now collapsed and surely the global community should now move on..

Finally, I must shatter the allusion that British People will find the AV system confusing. Last night at an Operation Black Vote Leaders Rally Baroness Oona King quite rightly said:

"If you can count to 3 you should be able to vote correctly in the AV system" She went on to disparage the view that British people would be to "dumb" to understand.

The simplicity is in the numbers with a selection by priority for your top 3 candidates the basic need is for an ability to write 1, 2, 3...

(Click here to learn more on AV)

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