Wednesday 15 September 2010

Alternative Vote

Since turning eighteen I have voted in every election that I’ve been eligible to vote in. At every general election I’ve voted Labour. I’m now fifty-five and I’ve never elected a Labour MP in my life. Do you know how painful that is?

In 1997 I came close. Labour were less than 400 votes short of taking true-blue Bury St Edmunds. Now that would have been a victory. When we moved permanently to Norwich last year it was to a constituency that had a sitting Labour MP, Charles Clarke. Not an MP whose political views seemed to wholly equate to mine, buy hey it was a Labour seat. Then of course as we know disaster struck and Charles narrowly missed re-election. So close and yet so far. If I live until I’m sixty will I finally elect a Labour MP? I do hope so.

I have never liked the first past the post system. It is so undemocratic, and just plain unfair. How can it be fair when less than half the voting public in a constituency vote for a particular MP? Why have we put up with it for so long?

One thing that I along with many others don’t want to lose is having a member of parliament that is directly elected by a constituency, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with first past the post. AV gives you a constituency MP, and an MP that has actually been elected by more people than first past the post gives you.

Democracy has to be about consensus and often compromise. It is totally wrong to stick with an outdated system just because it favours a particular party or parties. No political party should ever push for a system because it favours them. That’s immoral.
Emily Thornberry in her blog posting on LabourList doesn’t seem to grasp that first past the post is undemocratic and therefore can never be supported by a party that should always take the moral high ground.

Come the referendum I shall vote for AV. It may not be the very best solution but it is a damned site fairer than what we have now. I think that’s called progress. Labour is a progressive party, isn’t it?

1 comment:

  1. I have never voted for a winning candidate in a General Election either. My current constituency, Southend West, has been blue for more than a century.

    I imagine I must have had a Labour councillor where I lived in the early 1980s, but none since. Thank goodness for Richard Howitt!