I have no idea which way to vote on this.
I’ve got the pamphlets through my door, which I fully intend to read, but naturally the pamphleteers are horribly biased towards their own sides and so I remain confused.
And this seems to be the problem on the whole alternative vote thing – people just don’t get it. I’m actually surprised at how little I get it, since I naively thought that three years living with social scientists, economists, politics students and above all, constitutional lawyers during my time at the LSE would have, perhaps, nudged me vaguely towards a grasp of these issues. I understand proportional representation, because you can’t study the Weimar Republic without getting a wave towards it, but AV just didn’t crop up in the same way.
Those people I’ve talked to who do know which way they’re voting, seem very adament on the subject. Currently my inclination biases towards the ‘yes’ side, not necessarily because I yet grasp the issues – though I’m working on it – but because the gentleman I spoke to who was so firmly ‘yes’ seemed to be that way because of the massive research he’d done. He, like me, had woken up one day to hear news of the referendum and realised that he hadn’t got a clue what it was about. But unlike me, he then went online and researched every side of the question, in depth, and finally angled for ‘yes’. It’s no subsitute for doing my own research, but it’s a damn sight better than the rather airy reasons I’ve heard given from people who vote ‘no’. Then again, perhaps they simply didn’t elaborate on their footnotes in quite the same way as the ‘yes’ supporter – I really can’t tell.
I’m not comfortable participating in any election in which I’m not fully aware of the facts, but then again, democracy – while a Good Thing – is also such a flawed thing that you can’t ever really go to the ballet box with a fully clear conscience. Manifestos are ignored, promises broken. Your local MP may be who you chose, but the Prime Minister is the Other Guy – or visa versa – and whatever happens, in the first past the post system there’s a fairly good chance that your voice, along with maybe 40-50% of everyone else’s ballots, will be cast aside as simply not reaching a mathematical majority.
But what do I know?
Sadly, infuriatingly, and a little worryingly – very little indeed.