I can see some genuine advantages to AV. For one thing, after 'Cast Iron' Dave's refusal to hold the referendum that people really want - on our continued membership of the corrupt EU - there is an overwhelming need to elect a government that will reflect what people want to happen, not what the elite think ought to happen. And yet the FPTP system makes that almost impossible. In my constituency at the last election, there were candidates for Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, UKIP and a few others. I voted Conservative, not from any real enthusiasm for their policies, but because to vote for any of the others would have risked letting the Labour candidate win, and that was an outcome I could not tolerate under any circumstances. If we had had AV, I could have voted for UKIP (the party closest to my own views), and put the Conservatives as second choice. If the UKIP candidate had bombed, my vote would not have been wasted. I would imagine that, in that event, almost all those votes would have lined up behind the Tory, and a Labour disaster would have been averted. But of course if people had felt free to vote with their real inclination in the first place, UKIP may well have won outright. Without AV, I will always have to vote tactically - against the party I detest (whoever they may be), and for whoever has the best chance of defeating them, no matter how much I have to hold my nose. Under FPTP, it will need a revolution to break the present 2.5 party system, and the British are not good at revolutions. AV perhaps represents a chance for a break.
On the other hand, I like the clarity and simplicity of FPTP, and it has served us reasonably well for many years - in the classic phrase, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
I am genuinely undecided on the issue of AV vs FPTP. And yet the whole issue is utterly irrelevant. No-one has been clamouring for a change to the way we elect our representatives. I have never heard a debate in the pub about PR or preferential voting. No-one, except a few Liberals, is in the slightest bit interested. On the other hand, I have heard many people complain about the EU and the massive waste of money and loss of sovreignty that it has meant for us. And so, for only the second time in 36 years, the nation is being consulted in a nationwide and binding survey of opinion:
On whether we put a cross or a number on the voting slip.
It's an insult. We were promised a vote on our continued membership of the EU, by Labour, and the Lib Dems. David Cameron promised that, if Lisbon were ratified before he came to power, "the matter would not rest there". And what do we get? An utterly irrelevant vote on AV. It's like begging Santa for a racing bike, and getting a bag of fucking chocolate money.
The brakes are shot, the body is rusted away, the engine leaks oil and the battery is dead. And we are being asked whether we prefer the green or the yellow seat covers.
An insult always mandates a response, and mine will be unconventional. My 'vote' won't count, but since they are spending all this money on consulting me, they will get an answer, of sorts.