May. 7th, 2011


May. 7th, 2011 09:32 am
coalescent: (Default)
It's been a while since I felt so completely out of step with what polls and elections tell me is the national mood. A friend of mine just emailed the list of places that actually voted Yes to AV -- Hackney, Glasgow Kelvin, Islington, Haringey, Lambeth, Cambridge, Oxford, Southwark, Camden, Edinburgh Central -- which makes some sense of this, because it is to an almost comic degree a list of the places where I and my friends live or have lived. But part of me still can't really believe it. I genuinely thought that when people in this country started voting that they just realised how pathetically inadequate putting one X in one box is as a method of expression, and how tragically unrepresentative our governments have been as a result; I didn't encounter formal descriptions of electoral systems until later, but I remember thinking how absurd it was that SF awards have fairer voting systems than the UK parliament. And I genuinely thought -- still think, if I'm honest -- that AV was so transparently a solution to part of the problem that winning the referendum shouldn't be that hard. But the No campaign won thumpingly, 70/30. And now I'm angry, because now it feels like I might as well not bother voting for the rest of my life, and God forbid the referendum on Scottish independence is won, because then the country will be fucked as well. (Probably not me personally. But that just makes it worse.) Fortunately there's enough blame to go around on this one. I blame the No campaign for fear-mongering and lies, and the Yes campaign for a lack of imagination and clarity. I blame David Cameron for giving the fear-mongering and lies legitimacy and approval; and Ed Miliband for being either unable to convince his party, or not really trying, I'm not sure which; and Nick Clegg for not managing to get PR on the table, so that the Yes campaign wouldn't have been split by the ridiculous bickering about whether AV was worth it or not, and for not shutting up when it was clear he was doing more harm than good. I blame Conservative voters for being reactionary entitled shits, and Labour voters for being ignorant tribal shits, and Liberal Democrat voters for being condescending high-handed shits like me. I blame the people who enabled No to so massively outspend Yes that the playing field was tilted from the start. I blame the media for not challenging the claims made about AV -- particularly those of the No campaign, but also Yes -- and I blame whoever wrote the rules on public broadcaster impartiality so restrictively. I blame the national curriculum for not providing a basic grounding in electoral systems, and teachers for not providing it anyway. I blame the economic climate and the political climate. I blame everyone who voted out of political calculation, rather than on the merits of the question at hand. I blame everyone who obsessed about edge cases, either not understanding or not caring that the failure modes of FPTP are worse and more common than the failure modes of AV, and I blame everyone who thought an incremental change wasn't good enough. I blame everyone who didn't vote. I blame you. I blame myself. Of course, I don't really mean all of this. Of course, I mean every word. Who did I miss?

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