On 5th May (tomorrow), the UK will hold a nationwide referendum, only the second in our history, to give people the opportunity to choose how we elect MPs. The British public will have the chance to decide whether to keep our First Past the Post system, or to adopt the Alternative Vote system.
Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, is keen to emphasise that this is not a party political issue. He said:
“I strongly support the No to AV campaign and will be doing all I can to persuade Islanders to vote No on 5th May. This is not a party-political issue, and I urge Islanders to vote according to their own genuine views rather than with, or against, any party or politician. Island Labour, like the Conservatives, believe we should protect the democratic principle of ‘One Person One Vote’ – which has led to Britain being seen as a bastion of democracy. Unfortunately, as we have seen from Peter Mandelson in recent days, there are politicians who want to use this referendum for party political purposes, ignoring what is best for Britain. Lord Mandelson’s comments are very disappointing.”
About the choices, Mr Turner said: “First Past the Post has stood the test of time. It is simple, voters choose who they want to represent them – and the candidate with more votes than anyone else wins. AV is complicated: voters list candidates in order of preference and some people will have their votes counted twice, thrice or even more times. It is unpopular: only three countries in the world use AV – and of those Fiji has plans to scrap it and 6 out of 10 Australians want to go back to First Past the Post. It will lead to Governments getting in through backroom deals: with politicians making promises and then refusing to deliver because they have to compromise with their coalition partners. And, finally, it is hugely expensive: there are many other pressing issues rather than wasting money to change from a system that is not broken. I know some people would prefer a system of proportional representation – I respect the arguments in favour of that, although I do not agree with them – but AV is not a proportional system. To quote Nick Clegg AV is ‘a miserable little compromise’! ”