If you are a Labour supporter planning to vote ‘No’ on Thursday (or not vote at all); ask yourself: why are the Tories fighting so hard to keep First Past the Post?
They are defending a system that kept them in power for two-thirds of the 20th century. Even in the heyday of the two party system, in 1951, Labour got more votes but the Tories won 51% of the seats. That’s why Ed Miliband and most of the shadow cabinet are campaigning for a fairer system.
Fair votes matter for the millions who suffered the worst excesses of Thatcher, despite more than 56% repeatedly voting against her. In 2010, Labour won only 10 seats in the east, south-east or south-west regions, despite winning more than 1.6 million votes. The Conservatives’ 1.3 million voters in the east returned 52 MPs.
No campaigners say AV is only used in three countries. But they won’t tell you that many countries use a more proportional system, or that Cameron and Miliband were elected to party leadership under a form of AV. FPTP may still work in the USA, but only because the majority vote for two main parties. New Zealand recently switched to a proportional system and Canada is debating a change. The collapse of communism led to dozens of new democracies. None of them settled on FPTP!
It may be tempting to vote no as a protest against Clegg, but who will this really help?
Are you going to align yourselves with the Tories, the BNP and Communist Party? Or should you agree with every other major party in the UK and support AV?
Chris Buck, S11