By Stuart Mackay
Here’s why I want to support Bella’s alternative AV campaign.
The last few weeks has seen more strident campaigning by the pro and anti AV people. You may not have noticed, not many people care, not even the campaigners. The Times noted that Labour and SNP candidates would ‘not take a strong view’. It’s difficult to get passionate about an electoral change that most commentators agree wouldn’t have made ANY difference to the last six elections at Westminster. Most people forget we’ve already had PR at Holyrood for 12 years, and oh, of course this new system isn’t proportional. So what’s going on?
It’s a smokescreen for change. It’s British politics at it’s dire turgid worst. It’s puerile tinkering dressed up as change. As the people of North Africa are intent on throwing off tyrannical rule and exploring new democracies we are faced with some regurgitated constitutional sick which the Liberals, complicit in the wholesale dismantling of the public sector are – for some inexplicable reason – delighted about.
So why should you – blogger – reader – support our AV campaign to turn the biggest con in half a century into a claim for independence? And what can you do to support the campaign? First if you haven’t already joined the Facebook campaign GO HERE.
But why? Isn’t First Past the Post an outmoded unfair voting system?
It probably is but the state of our democracy is such that this is like your friend slipping into a coma and as they are ushered past you offering them a nail-cutting. It’s at best an irrelevance and at worst a distraction foisted onto the Scottish electorate belittling and marginalising the Holyrood vote. The specific recommendations of the Gould inquiry after Douglas Alexander botched the 2007 elections were that there should not be doubled-up elections on the same day.
But the AV campaign isn’t founded or motivated by the potential for electoral confusion, it’s the fact that the Unionist parties after more flipping and flopping than Flipper basically stood against the popular appeal for a referendum. This is our chance to protest against that.
As that political manqué Wendy Alexander slopes off into Never Never Land and that old roué Baron Foulkes recedes to enjoy a malt or two in sunny Cumnock it’s worth remembering that it was these people who oppose a referendum. In fact as Labour in Scotland ‘develops’ it’s becoming clearer that opposition to change is the reason for Labours existence. It was the driving force behind devolution, it was the failed drive behind Labours 2001 campaign, and now this Manifesto of Mustn’t and Can’t is coalescing:
- We mustn’t get rid of Trident even if it defies morality, international law and economics
- We can’t (and mustn’t) stand up to the supermarkets
- We can’t tackle alcohol abuse
- We can’t allow the people to have their voice on constitutional change
AV is dressed up as political change, the rhetoric of supporters talk abut fairness, democracy and gild their offering with all sorts of radical rhetoric. The fact is that 90,000 Scottish youngsters live in severe poverty, the land is owned by an ancient elite, the media is dominated by a handful of rich individuals spewing out disinformation, we are ruled by a Tory government we didn’t elect. If we want to talk about power and democracy and ‘fairness’ – and recognise these facts to be true, putting energy into a ‘referendum’ on a voting system that will change nothing is not just stupid it’s insultingly wrong.
There is no cost to spoiling your ballot, it’s a claim for real democracy.