Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

No to AV campaigners don’t seem to like different viewpoints.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 15, 2011 in British Politics

Reading the No to AV website reveals an interesting insight into how many of them seem to think about politics in general. Let’s be honest: There are some good reasons for voting for FPTP. It is simple, and gives a result. Not an accurate one representative of most voters, I feel, but there are many people who want an election above everything else to give a clear result, and FPTP does that most of the time. If AV is like a game of Risk, and needs thought, FPTP is Snakes and Ladders. It does eventually end with a clear winner no matter what you do (or indeed, how you actually vote).

But what is telling about the No to AV campaign is their disdain for the idea that other people may think differently about politics from them. Just consider the logic of their argument. If you are a Tory voter living in a constituency where, say, it’s Labour versus the BNP for the top slot, what they are saying is that you should not care who actually wins if your (Tory) candidate does not.

But that is not the way many ordinary people think. There are millions of Tory voters who would be appalled if they ended up with a local BNP MP, and if asked to give a second choice to Labour or the BNP will vote Labour no.2 to stop the BNP.  Yet the No campaign dismiss people like that. Why do they dismiss them? Because the No side is made up mostly of professional politicians who think only in narrow party political terms, My party or no one. That is not the way ordinary people think, or indeed vote. AV increases voter choice, and makes more politicians vulnerable in their seats. That is a good thing.

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