Thursday, 5 May 2011

Old Habits

I've tried so hard to stay out of politics recently. It's not because I don't care, it's not even because I want to go back into Politics and need to keep my mouth shut and be impartial. It's the rage. I get politics rage. I'm 24 and I shouldn't be as cynical and rage-filled as I am but there we go.
I lasted quite well but it's election day and I can't stomach the rubbish I keep hearing any longer. So here's my take on electoral reform.

There is one major problem with changing elections - if a party/government has been elected by an existing system they are not going to want to change it because it clearly works for them. So if there is a proposal for electoral change I start pestering friends and contacts for internal polling data. Once politicians are in power most of them want to stay there. 'Overly cynical? Me? No, and of course Chicago is only called 'the Windy City' because of the weather...'
The other big issue has been that newly introduced systems lead to lower turnout because people are confused by the new system - of course this is (hopefully) short-term. A slightly more minor issue is that the first election held under a new system almost always gets messed up, again hopefully short term.

AV itself is not my cup of tea (and neither is FPTP) but it is at least a straight forward system. I am sure that everyone in the UK now understands it but according to Blogger about 85% of my readers are in the USA so in case anyone's missed it...
Alternative Vote is a single member voting system where voters rank the candidates in order of preference. To win the seat a candidate needs to have 50% +1 of the votes cast. If no single person has achieved this through the number 1 rank the lowest ranked candidate's votes are taken out and their voters second choices are given to the remaining candidates. This continues until someone has over 50% of the votes. Simple. For a better explanation please click here for a link to the Electoral Reform UK site.
It's used in Australia (for the House of Representatives) and works well enough. I should add that in Australia it is illegal not to vote. I like this a lot.

I could quite easily type up a pros vs. cons list about Alternative Vote. Really, very easily because I memorised when I was seventeen. That's not the point. What is bothering me about this election is that whichever camp people fall into they are just not listening to each other. It feels that people have decided on their point of view and are simply shouting at each other. I like debates where people change their minds and are not ashamed or embarrassed to have done so.

I disagree with a lot of people on politics. I am non-partisan and I vote for people over parties at elections. I like to talk about issues because I do think things matter. Talking to some people can be like hitting your head against a brick wall though and that is such a miserable feeling because debate should be fun and engaging. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and it would be rubbish if they did, but I do expect people to accept that I disagree and not try to force me to change my mind. It's entirely possible that I have a different outlook on the world - that doesn't mean I am wrong or need to be educated and changed. Outlining the facts is good - deciding what this means to another person is not.

This goes for politics, religion and what I'm having for lunch. Just because I disagree does not mean I don't understand and the more someone bashes me over the head with an argument the less likely I am to listen. I do apologise for sounding grumpy but today I've had one too many people trying to convince me that one view is better than two.
And I had a bacon and avocado sandwich on spelt bread for lunch, in case anyone is wondering.


No comments:

Post a Comment