Friday, 1 April 2011

One man. One Vote. - Where I stand on the AV Referendum

Last week I helped launched the ‘NO TO AV’ campaign across the North-East.

I was joined by Councillors and representatives, including the Labour Leader of Sunderland Council in Newcastle and Sunderland as we put forward the case for rejecting Nick Clegg’s un-fair and un-democratic system.

We also had a very successful launch for the Tynedale No to Av campaign too.

I firmly believe in the principle of one-person, one-vote, - and that this is a key basis for a representative democracy. AV would destroy this principle completely. It would allow a BNP voter to have their vote counted up to 6 times whereas the voter of a more ‘mainstream’ party would get just the one vote. Try that for unfair votes.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I do not want to be elected on the back of second preference votes of the BNP.

Presently, 2.4billion people use our First-Past-The- Post system to vote in their government, making it the most popular democratic system in the world. It has been copied throughout the world and our system of voting has been a beacon of democracy to Canada, India and the USA. AV is only currently used in three countries; Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea. In a debate on AV last week, one member of the audience asked me ‘if an elderly lady walked up to the polling booth and was given a ballot paper under the AV system, she quite probably wouldn’t know what to do, is that democracy?’. I said no. The current system is simple, its fair and it creates strong governments. When you vote for your candidate, you are adding one extra vote to his or her total. Under AV, you do not know if this is the case. Your second, third, fourth, fifth or even sixth preference vote may be used to elect your member of Parliament.

I understand that FPTP is not perfect, no system is and welcome the deabte.

All this electoral system will do is create a generation of boring political candidates, where their priority is to strive for the 2nd and 3rd preference votes. Where they don’t particularly please anyone, but do their upmost not to displease. To sit back in be quiet in the hope they sneak in. Is this what we want in our future politicians?

I WILL be voting NO on May 5th. I urge you to do the same!

AV Debate in Newcastle, chaired by Professor Rosie Cunningham

No to AV Launch in Sunderland

The Tynedale No to AV Launch