May 5th 2011 is the referendum on the potential change to our voting system. In the run up to this referendum, I’ve found it difficult to understand the benefits or downfalls to the current and the alternative voting system. In fact, there has been little information out there at all. All we’ve been told is that David Cameron and the Conservatives says a stern ‘NO’ and Nick Clegg with the Lib Dems a gigantic ‘YES’. The Labour Party is largely split on the issue, but Ed Miliband is in favour of AV.
The only bit of information I received was a direct mailing from The No Campaign, which told me amongst other helpful tit bits, that if we voted in the AV system then the BNP would gain power, and that voting NO gives Nick Clegg his well deserved comeuppance. That leaflet went straight in the bin. (Yes, the recycling bin.) This is my main concern though; that people will see this referendum as an opportunity to fight back against Nick Clegg and his party. The issue is much wider than that and it is not a way to send a message to Nick Clegg, so please, if you’re going to vote no, at least look into the issues and make an informed vote rather than a defiant door slam like a teenager having a tantrum.
The only helpful explanations about the two voting systems I’ve found so far are through comic strips circulated on Twitter, or YouTube videos. I love the ones below! They make excellent use of the Animal Kingdom to explain the problems with the current system, and why AV could be better. Have a look. Hope it helps!
The Problem with First Past the Post Voting Explained:
The Alternative Vote Explained: