There’s a vote coming soon, are you excited?
On May 5th we get the chance to vote on a new voting system. We will be asked whether we want to replace the First Past the Post system that we have now with the Alternative Vote. See, it’s more exciting than you thought, isn’t it!
This is only the second national referendum, the first being in 1975 to gauge our appetite for continued membership of what was then called the Common Market. We’ve been arguing about the topic of that one ever since.
However, despite the palpable excitement, with the UK involved in two conflicts abroad, the economy on its knees, tough cuts about to bite, public sector hit hard and people losing their jobs you have got to ask if now really is the right time to be having a vote on a voting system.
I’m sure that the Liberal Democrats would say that the country needs a change because the people are disenfranchised and the FPtP results are unrepresentative of the way people actually vote. And that the Conservative and Labour parties would say that what ain’t broke don’t fix it.
My feeling is that until you can get people to feel like this about voting then the method by which the votes are counted is largely irrelevant. Turnout has been in decline for many years with a large proportion of the voting population showing huge apathy for the process.
So forget how we vote and concentrate on getting people to actually get out and cast their vote in the first place. Only then can we worry about how we count the votes.