Just over five weeks out from the referendum, today's Independent makes electoral reform its lead story, laying out the case for the alternative vote, reports Shamik Das.
Just over five weeks out from the referendum, today’s Independent makes electoral reform its lead story, laying out the case for the alternative vote.
The front page editorial explains:
“So why should we care about whether or not our ballot papers allow us to list candidates in order of preference at general elections? Is this not irrelevant to people’s real lives, a preoccupation of political anoraks? Apathy is an understandable reaction but it is a misguided one.
“We should care about this referendum because it is a chance to inaugurate a new, more fully representative political era…
“AV is not the reform that we would have chosen. It is not a proportional system. And under certain circumstances it might mean even bigger landslides. AV would erode, but not eliminate, the problem of “safe” seats.
“Yet it would mean a more representative House of Commons and a much less restrictive voting system.”
Rebutting some of the myths of the anti-reformers, it adds:
“It is assumed that AV would boost the parliamentary representation of the Liberal Democrats. But the merit of this reform is not that it would benefit any individual political party, but rather its impact on the overall political landscape.
“Those arguing for business as usual fail to recognise the extent of the disaffection of voters with the status quo, which has yielded an unhealthy disconnection between the political classes and the broad mass of the public…”
“The public are already rebelling against the present two-party voting straitjacket. In the 1950s, 95 per cent of voters cast their ballots for Labour or the Conservatives; in 2010, just 65 per cent did so:
“The doors to political reform have been prised open by the 2010 election result, which delivered a hung parliament and the agreement to stage this referendum. Now is the time for the British people to fling those doors to a better politics wide open by rejecting apathy and voting Yes to AV.”
Left Foot Forward has long made the case for AV, and will continue to do so over the next five weeks, rebutting No2AV myths and misreporting – as Will Straw has done this morning in respect of Baroness Warsi and as Dominic Browne did yesterday over a misleading Daily Mail story.
• The AV referendum takes place in just over five weeks’ time, on Thursday, May 5th; if you aren’t already registered to vote, click here.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.