The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
So, an overwhelming no to even modest political reform. Money, power and fear have once again convinced people to vote against their own self-interest. I wonder in history lessons in the distant future school children will sit in wonder at how there grand parents could have been so subservient and easily scared by political propaganda.
The AV referendum was a chance to go into the polling box and instead of putting a cross next to one candidate, you could instead rank them in order of preference – making those in charge perfectly aware of not just who you wanted to win, but also the regard in which you held the other candidates.
Yet around 70% of voters decided that this was something they didn’t want.
I just find that unbelievable. I just cannot fathom why anyone would not want AV over FPTP (I’ll ignore valid arguments about AV being a miserable compromise because it was the best we were ever going to be offered and already No campaigners are already crowing about how they knew all along the masses didn’t want political reform – I think it highly unlikely we’ll ever get the chance to vote for any kind of reform again). People went out in their millions and actively said: ‘Don’t give me the chance to rank candidates! I don’t want that!’.
What makes it worse is that if I genuinely felt that people had considered the cold facts of AV and FPTP and preferred the FPTP system then I could accept that. But I just really don’t believe that they did. Instead they just picked up their newspapers, read the AV leaflets, got scared and voted no without even engaging their brains. It’s the same when any political debate begins and the masses just repeat the media narratives and we’re all soon lost in a cycle of pointless, endless arguments about immigration that never come close to addressing the facts of the matter.
It’s depressing. Very, very depressing.
What really annoys me is that people always seem angry about the government which just switches between the Conservatives and Labour every few years – each party voted out as being the worst government ever… before being re-elected a few years later because the other party is now the worst government ever – we seemingly forget the evils of the party that they in turn had replaced. FPTP has given us this system that everyone seems dissatisfied with, yet here we are as a populace voting in droves to keep this same two-party system that we’ll no doubt keep bitching about.
I would invite anyone to justify why they voted against AV, why they would not want the opportunity to rank preferences on a ballot paper rather than just getting one option. I will never understand the mentality of the no voters, just as they will probably never understand the consequences of their actions.
In Bury today after three recounts, Labour and Conservative posted the same number of votes in the Ransbottom ward. The two candidates then drew straws, with the Labour candidate drawing the longest one to gain an extra vote and win the seat – giving them a majority on the council. In actual fact they drew cable ties.
We have a system so staggeringly simple that the winners can be decided – quite literally – at random using the length of a cable tie. And over 10 million people were so happy with this system they went out and voted for it.
No wonder the world is such a messed-up place.