As a graduate who dabbled in student politics I’m sure I’m supposed to advocate for the Alternative Vote having used Single Transferable Vote for a number of years but when it comes to parliamentary elections I won’t though and these are 3 reasons why I won’t:
Decisive Politics: As a student I watched as all my friends and fellow students fell victim to the political power-play by the Liberal Democrats in 2010 to brand themselves as different to the other two main Westminster parties. They wanted change, and a progressive future, and found only Nick Clegg who was progressively capable of changing his morals and his position to suit his new found title in the Tory-led coalition government.
The Alternative Vote will make more coalition politics likely and I cannot agree with that. I want a decisive government in any case because it is clear what their objectives will be. Having two or more parties have to enter a coalition to run the government is not something that I look on favourably. Coalitions will happen now, and for the foreseeable, because the parties have done a poor job at re-framing politics and its institutions with the public, it is still the same old politics with the same old people.
It is not grown up politics, its politics without a mandate and without public support.
Equal Vote: I believe in ‘One Member One Vote’ and whilst it may be hypocritical of me whose been involved in STV elections in the past I think that enables to me challenge the positives and negatives of the system.
I don’t think it’s fair or right that someone should be able to select their 3rd or 4th preference and have it equal or be greater than my 1st preference. With First Past the Post you only receive one vote. You could say that voters select other political parties than their first preference because of their ability to win, either the MP’s seat or the ability to run the government, if they would normally vote Green Party or other developing party. I believe that electing a member of parliament should receive a different approach because it’s not the same as having 3 people you know run for entertainments officer and being happy with all three candidates in the job (after all it is only for one year and what harm can they do? Run a bad night out?)
Selecting a government, or at least your MP, should be a considered point. Who will champion local interests? And fight against inequality in your constituency? Who represents my values the best? After all they will be running the country for 4-5 years after they get my vote so I better be happy with them first.
This is why I want to vote for one party, decisively, rather than vote for another party I don’t want because AV demands I select my candidates in order of preference.
Far Right Danger: I don’t think this has been talked to about but this is one of the reasons I won’t vote for AV in parliamentary elections is because the preferential voting system enables right-leaning, and far right, parties to increase their vote share based on their 2nd and 3rd preferences. Rather than them occupying the 1-10% of the electorate in FPTP I think they would sky-rocket under this system and I think that’s more dangerous to our political system than anything else, especially when the Liberal Democrats have shown themselves unworthy of being a government party.
Combining the Tory-led agenda cutting against the youth of tomorrow the last thing we need is a targeted campaign against students and young people to join the far right because they wouldn’t have scrapped EMA or the Future Jobs Fund or trebled Tuition Fees. I think by voting for AV we open the door to Pandora’s Box and we’ll see more far right politicians taking seats as public interest and apathy grows in politicians and the institution itself.
Whether or not AV will be ready in time for May 2011 remains to be seen but I will note vote to give Nick Clegg a ‘win’ after his despicable u-turn on tuition fees. If you want to send a clear message to the Liberal Democrats that they’ve got it wrong vote no to AV.