1. It recognises that our VOTING SYSTEM is BROKEN
2. It gives MORE POWER to voters
3. It lets more people feel that they have an MP they voted for
4. It lets people choose HONESTLY with no tactical voting
5. It gives voters a choice between PEOPLE not PARTIES
6. It makes politicians talk to people who aren't in their "base"
7. It makes politicians talk to each other, encouraging grown-up politics
8. As far as what the voter has to DO goes, it's exactly the same as voting with STV
9. It's on offer and STV isn't
The time for grumpy acceptance is over. Let's stop looking for the ways that the glass is half empty and start looking at how it is half full.
The AV referendum ISN'T about getting proportionality; it's NOT about Fair Votes. So let's stop COMPLAINING that it isn't what it isn't.
But what it IS is about giving more POWER to voters, and showing more TRUST in voters.
Honestly, the First Pass the Port crowd are going to be campaigning on a platform of "we don’t trust you to count up to five". Do you REALLY think that that's an unbeatable message?
Liberal Democrats DO trust people; that's why we're going to ASK them what they want (and that's why Hard Labour's so-called offer of instant AV with NO referendum was really toe-curlingly EMBARRASSING!)
Anything that moves away from tactical voting is GREAT. At the very least we can see who the voters REALLY want to vote for by looking at their first preferences and that might give a real boost to the Parties that currently have no representation at all. And that's got to be a boost for democracy. People can vote for real policies that they want. People do NOT have to vote for EVIL parties as a "protest" vote.
Anything that moves away from LISTS imposed by parties is GREAT. AV is about choosing YOUR OWN list of people and the order that they stand in, not one imposed by anybody else. And that's why the second preferences and third preferences… and LAST preferences… also tell us the sorts of people that people want in Parliament. And remember, First Pass the Port is a closed Party list system with a list of ONE. (That ISN'T true for AV – you probably won't, but you CAN have more than one person standing from one Party… or you could, entirely hypothetically, have two people standing for "the Coalition"… and people can choose between them for themselves.)
And anything that moves away from the status quo is more than GREAT it is FANTASTIC. We KNOW that people want CHANGE; they VOTED for CHANGE at the general election, and – no matter how queasy the public might be feeling about the Coalition… no matter how queasy some of US might be feeling about the Coalition – change is what they got: a different kind of government that NO ONE quite understands yet.
It's EASY to be FRIGHTENED of change. It's EASY to listen to all those voices saying how all sorts of scary and nasty things are BOUND to happen because of what the Coalition is doing. It's EASY to LOOSE FAITH in people.
Because change is HARD. Freedom is HARD. Being a Liberal is HARD.
The EASY thing to do is to promise to wrap everyone up in cotton wool and tell them fibs about how everything is all going to be all right; the really difficult thing is to tell them that THEY have to make the choices and then to TRUST them to make the choices and to FOLLOW the choices that they make.
And yes, that means following their choices when people give the Conservatories SIX TIMES more seats than us, or rather when they give the Conservatories ONE-AND-A-HALF times as many VOTES as us. More people voted for Conservatory policies so, grit your teeth people, Conservatory policies ARE going to happen.
Sometimes you just have to hold hands with the CAT-MONSTER and hope that it doesn't BITE OFF anyone's head!
If you don't want that to happen AGAIN… tough. The only way to prevent Conservatory policies EVER happening is to institute a socialist dictatorship, and we KNOW how successful THOSE are. If you believe in co-operative politics, then SOMETIMES the Conservatories are going to have to get a go.
But if you want to make sure that they have to BEHAVE, that they have to PLAY NICELY and JOIN IN with everybody else… well THEN you have to support a change in the voting system.
It WON'T stop things being horrid – but that's because the economy is bad-worded beyond repair – but it will start to heal our democracy.
So enough with the blubbing over STV.
Let's go out and WIN this!
PS:I wrote this BEFORE seeing that Mr Fred Carveup had posted quite the opposite view on the Liberal Democrat Voice. Great Minds, it seems, think completely unalike.