An Election Day in 2011

Picture selected because it's the only image on Wikicommons that isn't a national ballot paper.

tl;dr — Make sure you vote. I don’t care who for or if you vote yes or no for AV, just fucking cast your ballot. People died and are still dying today for the right to vote. Don’t waste yours.

Almost a year ago today, in the United Kingdom, we went to the polls for a general election. We all know the results: No overall majority for either Labour or the Conservatives. A coalition government between the Conservative Party and, as junior partners in government, the Liberal Democrats.

Today a number of different elections being held. In my own area there are just the local council elections and the referendum on the alternative vote. In one part of Leicester there are those two elections and a by-election to elect a new member of parliament and a mayoral election.

The important point I want to make is: if you’re registered to vote then make sure you vote. People have died to guarantee you that right and people are currently dying in North Africa and the Middle East for the right to vote. Fucking vote!

I should say that it doesn’t matter who you vote for. It isn’t my business who you vote for — it is after all a private ballot — although hopefully you are reasonably well informed on the people and the issues. Just go and vote.

But if you want to know what I think you need to read below the cut.

This is what I’m going to be doing.

My vote on a national level has never been represented because I live in a very safe Conservative seat. My MP is Stephen Dorrell and I doubt beyond very board issues we’d agree on much.

Because of this I will be voting for my Labour representative in the local council elections. I do not belong to any political party and while my sympathies lie with the the Co-Operative party I don’t intend to join them or any political party in the near future. I just want a councillor on a local level who I broadly agree with.

I will be voting yes to the alternative system. Unlike many people I know, including both of my parents, who are casting a yes vote for the alternative vote because the tactics of the no campaign alienated them, I was behind AV from the start. It is a compromise. I would much rather we had a proportional system. Even if that means parties I really disagree with like the BNP and UKIP gain elected representatives in the House of Commons. (I believe in the principle of democracy and fair representation even if the results are unpalatable. Another compromise.) But life is generally about compromises.

I am not going to try and explain any voting system to you. I suggest that you look at the video on this page.

The polling data indicates that it is looking highly probable that the result from the referendum will be a no to switching our electoral system to the alternative vote. I will still be voting yes. If only for the right to complain later.

(For a start I really don’t like that there are No2AV adverts plastered all over a website showing the polling data. Before you ask I’d also be unhappy for there to be Yes2AV adverts on the same page.)

2 Comments

  1. Mike Rees May 6, 2011

    Until a NotA option is added to British ballots, voting should not be considered an obligation.

  2. Will Ellwood May 6, 2011

    Well I wanted to be able to rank the candidates by preference on my ballot. I’m still voting and encouraging people to vote in FPtP elections though. It’s a responsibility brought about by compromise.

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