Thursday, 5 May 2011

AV and Being Bothered

We the British people, the lovely United Kingdomites, the extended family of none other than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will be called to make a choice today.

AV it or Not AV it, mate!

For those of you in the further flung places of our wonderful world, we have a choice about our voting system. Currently we elect our politicians, like horses, in a 'First past the post' system where the chap or chappess with the greater number of Xs wins. The Alternative Vote is the choice that is on offer in this referendum, and in simple terms, is a process by which election candidates are ordered by preference. The winning condition is to receive more than 50% of the votes cast. Failure to achieve that means that the poor poppet who secured the least number of votes have the alternative choices on their ballot papers considered and re-distributed. In other words, if your No. 1 doesn't win, your No. 2 etc may gain from your vote. To me it is simple, though many are confusticated by the whole thing. 

Me, I am for the Alternative Vote. It favours a three-party system whereas the 'first donkey past the post' favours a two-party system. AV also means that, in the end, the winner of a given election has secured the greatest volume of support. The other system allows a government to be formed that may well not have the physical majority of the total of votes cast. The answer seems simple to me. It also means that my vote matters, unlike now when voting for anyone other that Tory in this area is a waste of pencil-lead. 

But my views are not why I have written this post. There is a societal cancer that lingers in the bones of our great nation. Apathy. In recent elections, the turn-out has been poor. People just don't seem to want to engage with the process. I am not sure if this apathy is born of laziness, not caring, or having too many other burdens already, but the problem is right there. AV or No AV - it is almost moot-point when the V is a minority sport. To gain half of the votes cast when only 36% of voters voted means that you can only claim 18% of popular support, and frankly, it makes little difference how we get there. However, a viable government 18% does not make, in my modest opinion.

As a Christian, I believe I have a duty to vote in this and all elections that effect me and my area. My reason for this is that the least in our society are affected by the outcome (and perhaps it is true to say that all of us are, and my ministry is to all people, not just the least by whatever measure we are working with). If I have a care for a just society I have to play my part in its formation and governance. If I have a love for neighbour, what affects my neighbour must be important to me too. Say 'Fair Trade', and you will bring every living-breathing Christians out in the goose-bumps of justice-for-all. Say 'referendum' and I fear that you will struggle to bring many out of the house. 


  1. I find it all very frustrating. We can be so unbothered, so unconvinced we can make a difference - so of course we don't make a difference, because we never try.

    It's horribly self-defeating.

    I've voted :)

  2. Spot on, David! I voted a fortnight ago (we now have postal votes, being away a lot and not wanting to miss our chance to vote) and I too have voted for AV, being a lifelong LibDem voter.

    Also, being a woman as well as a Christian, I've always felt it's my duty to vote, in gratitude for all the people, men as well as women, who stuggled to get votes for all, not just the powerful, financially secure and male.

  3. Since I first was given the right to vote I have always done so, not because there was a candidate I particularly favoured but because as Perpetua said, the vote, Particularly for women, was hard won and it would be an insult to those who fought for it for so long to waste the opportunity.
    Like you, I waste my vote in this blue stronghold but I live in hope.

  4. Excellent post. I totally agree. Voted as a postal vote two weeks ago, FOR AV.

    It is not often we have a chance to change things, and we should grab them while they are given.

    I actually think that voting should be compulsory. When I lived in Europe (Belguim and Germany) it was. It should be here to.



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