I was taken to task by our deputy chairman, a fine man indeed, over my remark last week about the AV referendum when I suggested that the nation is not exactly breathless in anticipation of exercising its democratic prerogative on 5 May.
He said that I shouldn’t be treating the opportunity to reform our voting system for the first time since Parliament was invented with mockery. And, of course, he’s right. This is a hugely important vote, and even if we can’t quite get behind it just yet, what with all those bank holidays and a royal wedding to squeeze in, we jolly well should be paying attention to the arguments.
Here in i, we’ll continue to cover the debate without presuming to tell you which way to vote. It’s none of our business whether you’re a Yes or a No person; our only advice is that you should get to the polling station and make your opinion count. I was dismayed by a Radio 5 vox pop in which a sample of the electorate in Scotland said they were unlikely to vote because they were unsure of the exact consequences of a switch to AV at a general election. This is particularly worrying, given that they already use the AV system in local elections in Scotland.
It’s not that difficult a concept to understand, but to ensure you’re fully abreast of the nuances, we’ve included a short guide to AV with our poll coverage on page 4 today. It used to be the case that those against switching to a more proportional voting system would point to the fact that it invariably produces coalition government, and that is a recipe for stalemate and instability. I think we’ve seen conclusive proof recently that this might not be so! What do you think? Actually, it’s quite a simple question. Give us a Yes or No!