Time is ticking down. My poll card has already arrived. And the information leaflet has been read through. Now all I have to do is to turn up on Thursday May 5 and vote – in the first referendum for 36 years. And my choice will be the same as the one I made back in 1975.
Which means that I will vote Yes to the Alternative Vote (AV). I’ve heard the arguments from both sides, and just as importantly, observed the rogues’ gallery of those lined up on the No side. The former has informed my decision, with the latter reinforcing it as in foundation concrete.
I’m aware that AV is not Proportional Representation (PR). But my conclusion is that it is an improvement on the present First Past The Post (FPTP) system, under which, let it be remembered, the leader of the Tory Party following the 2007 election would have been David Davis.
Equally, I’m aware that there would still be elections won with less than 50% of popular support if AV were adopted. But at least it gives me the ability to send a message that if I can’t have my first choice candidate, then I can specify my preferred choice from the rest of the field. And, if I choose, my third or fourth preference. Or I would be able to specify just one choice, as now.
Reinforcing this is the No campaign, headed by Matthew “Gromit” Elliott, stalwart of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA). Experience tells me that being on the opposite side to the TPA is by definition A Good Thing. Elliott has made, or caused to be made, a number of flagrantly dishonest statements during the campaign, which has also persuaded me that my instinct was well served.
The idea that Elliott is “anti-politics” is breathtakingly fraudulent: he, and the rest of the TPA, are firmly pro-politics – the politics of those who pay the TPA’s bills. The TPA is a political organisation, misleadingly suggesting that it is about better Government, while its true purpose is to demonise Government – any Government, along with public service and public works.
Moreover, the assertion that adopting AV would incur an additional cost of £250 million is bogus, but Elliott and his pals have covered their backsides by prefixing their scary number with “up to”, so that includes the less frightening amount of Zero.
And saying “Governments will be selected in backroom deals” applies to the current one – so a cleanly executed own goal by Team Elliott. But clinching the deal for me is the line-up from the dunghill that is Grubstreet: the Maily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun are all in the No camp.Best keep one’s distance from that shower. So it’s Yes for me.