Yes to AV - if you dare

In all my years in politics I don’t think I have seen anything more disreputable than the “Yes to AV” campaign. Their literature is a complete fabrication of lies and innuendo from beginning to end. But then knowing the stable it comes from I’m not surprised

Lie No 1 — The expenses scandal. It had absolutely nothing to do with the voting system. Quite simply the rules governing MPs’ expenses were too loosely drawn, and virtually encouraged MPs to drive a horse and cart through them. And which of us hasn’t tried to fiddle our expenses on occasion? In addition, those which administered the system, who were the responsibility of Mr Speaker, were often too afraid to say “no.” Which begs the question of how well the Speaker’s office was operating.

Lie No 2 — MPs have jobs for life! Every MP I’ve ever met was almost paranoid about losing votes and losing their seat, even those with large majorities. As has been shown so many times in the past 50 to 100 years, there is no such thing as a “safe” seat for any MP or their party.

Lie No 3 — AV will make MPs work harder! Doing what, once they’ve answered the mountain of mail they receive every morning, plus emails these days, followed up constituents’ problems from their “surgeries,” attended parliamentary committees, and various debates, sometimes until well into the evening if they want to contribute to it.

But, it’s a popular misconception that sitting in the Commons Chamber is all MPs have to do. It is in fact the smallest part of the job.

And all of that is in addition, for those 100 or so MPs who are actually part of the government. And even then, woe betide any MP who neglects his constituents.

People will soon point this out, as will his local party. Which would soon raise the spectre of the dreaded de-selection, if they don’t shape up.

Rather than change the voting system local people would have much more influence over their MP, and who is selected to stand for the election, if more of us joined our local political parties. Any of them!

But that’s something the great British public has set its face against over the past 20 years or so. So, if we don’t like what we’ve got as an MP, we really have only ourselves to blame.

Tinkering with the voting system is nothing more than a cop-out, like all the other similar daft ideas the last Labour Government wished on us.

Want a better democracy? Simple, join it!


Cornmill Lane