Yes, No or Unsure about AV
The Yes and No campaign for the Alternative Vote was launched yesterday in parliament, in lead up to the referendum on May 5th. With The King’s Speech stars Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth backing the Yes campaign, BUzz investigates whether we should be saying Yes or No to AV?
What is AV?
The Alternative Vote is like the FTPT (First-Past-the-Post) ensuring all MPs have a real mandate whilst delivering greater choice and eliminating the need for tactical voting. It is used to elect representatives for single member constituents, giving voters the choice to rank candidates on offer.
How does it work?
Voters, instead of marking an”X” on their ballot papers are able to mark ‘1’ by their first preference candidate and a ‘2’ by their second preference and so on. If a candidate receives the majority of first-preference votes then they are elected. If there is no majority on first preference votes then the candidate with the majority of second-preference votes who finished last on the first count is re-destributed. The process is repeated until someone gets over 50% of the votes. All MPs would therefore have the support of the majority of their voters.
Where in the world AV?
Whether AV will be passed as the new voting system for the UK remains to be seen at the May referendum. Currently Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are the only countries in the world to use AV. It is supposedly, a fairer way of gaining a higher spread of votes but often can lead to a hung parliament.
Who is supporting the Yes campaign?
King’s speech star’s Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth bought politics onto the red carpet when they announced their support for the Yes campaign for the alternative vote. Bonham Carter who won a Bafta on Saturday night for best supporting actress in her role as Queen Elizabeth in The King’s Speech, publicly announced her support for the campaign. Firth, who recently withdrew his support for the Liberal Democrats admitting he’d been dissapointed with their role in the recent coalition, said he saw this as an opportunity for change and added he’d be “voting yes”. Other celebrity supporters of the campaign include John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and left wing supporter Eddie Izzard.
What about the No campaign?
No campaigners are concerned about the alleged £250 million being spent on the cost of the voting reform, with critics expressing their disgust at the priorities of the current government. Some critics are struggling to see how the expense of such a change is justified when reports of underfunding of the NHS leaves vulnerable patients in unacceptable conditions in hospital. ComRes pole figures suggest that 40% of those questioned agreed with AV, 30% disagree and 30% don’t know.
The May referendum is set to cost £85million, not including additional expense for counting machines. Some are questioning Nick Clegg’s priority of protecting the country from cuts and concentrating on boosting the economy and public services in Britain and instead focusing on creating a voting system that will keep his party in power.
The bill introducing the referendum is expected to recieve royal assent tomorrow.