The Thick of It

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AV rows rumble on and I swing

Differences of opinion between the Tories and Lib Dems about AV continue to attract press attention. What was meant to be an apolitical issue has been fashioned into a party political affair. Peter Mandelson has suggested that Labour supporters should vote yes to hinder the Tories' potential electoral dominance. The no campaign have used Nick Clegg's unpopularity to encourage Labour supporters to vote no.

The recent sniping between the Lib Dems and Tories, plus interventions from Labour's heavyweights has added a little oomph to a rather dull and dry referendum campaign that will have passed most voters by.

The "row" has been the story rather than AV. That is much easier to report and shows a media appetite for tittle tattle over trying to educate the readership. There has been a great deal of nonsense thrown about by both sides. The no campaign have dubbed AV confusing, unfair and expensive. The yes campaign have dismissed the no campaign as the Tory old guard hanging onto the levers of power.

Both sides have tried to score party political points on the other. The no campaign calling on voters to deal a blow to Clegg, the yes campaign to David Cameron. If I'm going to be party political about the AV referendum, I'd like to deal a blow to both but voting for short term gain isn't necessarily going to deliver the best political outcome in the long term.

As usual Channel 4's Fact Check comes to the rescue bringing together the claims and demystifying the myths. AV won't be expensive and will ensure all MPs will be elected on some type of 50%+ support. AV wouldn't have altered many recent UK elections and would have exaggerated many recent results, like 1997.

I feel myself becoming a swing voter for the first time in my life. I've never approached an election and not been totally sure of how I would vote, but I am about AV. I want a fair system, a simple one and any change must be fair to all parties. Will AV be that change? I'm not convinced but it might be.

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