So, yesterday the votes were counted and the UK (or at least, the 42% of the UK that bothered to vote) resoundingly rejected changing our our voting system from First Past The Post (FPTP) to Alternative Vote (AV) – when the dust settled, the ‘No’ campaign had won over two thirds of the vote. Not only does this add insult to injury for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats (who had already suffered heavy losses in the local elections), it also scuppers any chance of electoral reform for the foreseeable future. I’d even go so far as to say it’s entirely possible that we won’t see another referendum on the subject for decades. Why? Because the current system suits the two biggest parties down to the ground.
Those who opposed AV may tout their victory in this campaign as a victory for common sense, or even a victory for democracy. It is neither. It’s a victory for the Conservative and Labour old guard, a victory for two-party politics, a victory for the cycle of blame and change that has dominated UK government for decades. Then again, the Liberal Democrats have shot themselves in the foot and then been hung out to try by the Conservatives, so I don’t suppose AV would have made a lot of difference to the poor bastards. At least I can go back to voting Lib Dem without having to pretend it might make a difference – the UK has successfully condemned itself to another generation of either/or politics and disproportionate representation. Hope you’re proud of yourselves!
Oh and by the way, if you voted ‘No’, then in my eyes you’ve entirely relinquished your right to complain about FPTP or any of the problems inherent to it during the next general election. Just thought you should know.