AV is a small but significant step in improving our political system

Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson is supporting a Yes vote on May 5th because it will mean people can start to vote for what they really believe in.

Darren Johnson AM represents the Green Party in the London Assembly

I’m supporting a Yes vote on May 5th because it will mean people can start to vote for what they really believe in.

For too many people, voting often ends up being a tactical choice. You have Conservative supporters tactically voting Lib Dem in some seats. You have Lib Dem supporters tactically voting Labour in others. And in many seats you have substantial numbers of Green supporters voting for someone other than the Green Party because they worry about their vote being wasted.

This is the reality of First Past The Post: large numbers of people voting for their second or third choice because they feel their first choice would be a wasted vote. AV will help address this problem. It will allow people to express their genuine political preferences on the ballot paper – not just in their head. By being able to rank the candidates in your order of preference, it means that if your favourite candidate is not successful you could still have a say in who becomes your MP.

Yes, AV raises the bar candidates have to jump to be elected. But it means a more honest form of voting where people can vote for who they really want. And it means a politics that reaches out more beyond rigid party boundaries. We in the Green Party are confident in our capacity to reach out. That is why we are in favour of this change, when extremist parties like the BNP are not.

That is why the Green Party is urging a Yes vote on May 5th. While it is fair to say it is not the system we would have chosen ourselves, it is a major improvement on the current system. AV will help change politics. And the No campaigners are terrified of that change, coming out with the same sort of fanciful arguments, lies and scaremongering that opponents of democratic reform have done for centuries.

When it was proposed that women be given the vote opponents argued that if women became involved in politics they would stop marrying, having children, and the human race would die out. It’s laughable now but it is not that different from some of the nonsense that the No campaign is currently peddling about AV.

Boris Johnson has called AV utterly bonkers and predicted disaster if our MPs were elected in this way. Yet as Mayor of London, he himself as elected on a variant of AV which allows Londoners to cast a first and second preference for Mayor. Within the London Assembly, thankfully, the mood is different. Not only have Green and Lib Dem members come out clearly in favour of a Yes vote but a number of Labour members and Tory AM, Andrew Boff, have been joining forces to campaign for a Yes vote.

I do urge electors to vote for hope over fear and take this small but significant step in improving our political system by voting Yes on May 5th.

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