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Definitely Voting 'YES' tomorrow

Posted May 04 2011 12:00am
I lived in Australia for 35 years. At election time, I usually voted for a minority party that reflected my true beliefs In other words, whatever one was the greenest. At the same time, I knew that one of the other of the two main parties would almost certainly win. And I definitely had a preference for one of those (the Australian Labor Party) over the other.

Under the Australian system of preferential voting, I could express my loyalty to the party of my choice by voting for them. And at the same time I could indication my preference for the ALP. So that if it was a tight election, my vote would still count. In other words, my vote truly did express what I wanted.In full.

Here in England, under the FPTP system, if I vote for my party of first choice (the Green Party), which has a snowball's chance in hell of winning in my constituency, then in terms of the battle of Labour vs Conservative, mine is a wasted vote. I have no way, here, of expressing my full wishes. I am hobbled.

The UK Tories are telling people that Australians don't like their system. I believe that is a total lie. In all my 35 years there I never once heard anyone express a wish to switch to a FPTP ballot. A lot of people - including me - did say that proportional representation, like many European countries have, would be an even better way to choose a government. And maybe we'll even manage that, eventually. Meanwhile...

Brits are a conservative bunch and don't take kindly to change. I can hardly dare to hope that they will flock to the polls tomorrow to vote 'YES' and change this antiquated and unfair system to a fairer, more flexible and more democratic one. But oh, it would be so wonderful if they did!
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