Why vote yes

Labour and the case for AV

Labour is the party of fairness and change. Our party membership cards call for a society that puts the interests of the many before the few. In May 2011 we have the opportunity to vote for a fairer voting system.

Labour’s manifesto in the 2010 general election included a commitment to a referendum on changing the electoral system to the Alternative Vote (AV). David Cameron wouldn’t have conceded this demand if it wasn’t for the leadership Labour showed on this issue.

The Tories are clear they are totally opposed to AV – they don’t want fairer votes. First Past the Post was part of the reason that the 20th Century was dominated by Tory governments. It is little wonder Conservative MPs don’t want change.

But First Past the Post (FPTP) isn’t working. When just a few thousand people determine every election result in a few swing seats then the interests of the Labour Party and the people we represent go unheard.

Changing the system to AV will mean that the majority get their voices heard; it will shut the door on extremist parties like the BNP.

Under AV, every Labour Party member and supporter, in every seat in the country, can cast their vote for Labour and then mark any other preferences knowing their vote won’t be wasted.

Under FPTP, the split in the centre-left vote hands seats to the Tories. For example, Labour lost Hendon constituency by just 106 votes to the Tories in 2010. The Green Party candidate polled over 500 votes. Under AV these voters could have transferred their “wasted” votes and influenced the outcome.

AV would mean everyone’s vote counts and every MP is required to get the backing of a majority of voters. At present only a third of MPs can say they have received the support of over half their constituents. A reformed system would strengthen the mandate of our MPs.

It really is as easy as “1,2,3.”! If people still want to vote with a single X they can. AV doesn’t reinvent the wheel: it keeps the constituency link but gives the system an overdue upgrade. It is a small change that makes a big difference.