ON THURSDAY, May 5 the British people will go to the polls in the first referendum for more than 30 years.
After centuries of struggle to get a vote, we are for the very first time to have a say in how our MP is elected. So why do we need to change from the current First Past The Post (FPTP) system?
Well, FPTP may have worked when Britain was a two party state, like the 1950s when more than 95 per cent voted for the two main parties.
Today however it’s a totally different landscape with most constituencies fielding five or six candidates and only 65 per cent voting for the two main parties.
This leads to a situation where two thirds of MPs have less than 50 per cent of the local vote and in the worst example (Norwich South), the winning candidate required only 29 per cent of the vote to get elected MP. Even here in Hastings nearly 60 per cent of people didn’t vote for the current MP.
The Alternative Vote (AV) system is not a panacea for all that’s wrong with our political system, but it’s a small step in right direction.
It will make politicians of all parties reach out beyond their core voters to appeal to the majority of constituents to try and gain more than 50 per cent support.
Let’s be very clear about the choice facing us, a NO vote means we are stuck with FPTP for at least a generation, whereas a YES vote is a vote for change making it easier to change again in the future.
Co-ordinator of the
1066 YES to Fairer Votes