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Edward Davie: I could no longer side with fascists and dinosaurs

Explaining first-past-the-post on the doorstep in a recent council by-election, I had become convinced that a more complicated electoral system would only disenfranchise already marginalised people. But signing up to the No campaign, alongside fascists, Tories and dinosaurs from my own party, proved to be a profoundly uncomfortable experience and their noxious emissions have driven me out.

Forming an independent view is, of course, important; I now recognise I got it wrong to be in Nick Griffin and George Osborne's camp and that natural allies like Ed Miliband deserve my support. The clincher has been that not only is AV "as simple as one, two, three" but that the new system is the progressive majority's best chance to stop the Tories exploiting the centre-left's historic split and dominating this century as they did the last.

I have become convinced that the best thing I can do to promote the welfare of my constituents is to try to keep the Tories out and that the best way of achieving that for that is to vote Yes on 5 May.

There is an old Labour joke that, faced with a Tory and a Liberal Democrat teetering on the edge of the cliff, it has to be the Tory who gets the shove first because "business comes before pleasure".

I know many party colleagues relish the prospect of giving Nick Clegg a shove, but we must remember that we have to protect our communities from the Tories, even with imperfect mechanisms like AV. If we give David Cameron a shove on 5 May with a Yes vote he and his party will be severely weakened – no wonder Tory backers pour money into the No campaign I am now deserting.

Edward Davie is a Labour councillor in Lambeth, south London