Man walks into a column, no.16: AV

A short and simple post this week, because (a) it doesn’t take many words to express what’s on my mind, and (b) I am a simple fellow (emphatically not because my commitment to fulfilling my New Year’s resolution is waning; perish the thought!).

To my shame, I’ve only been keeping half an eye on the twittering and blogging about the AV referendum, mainly because I knew from the outset how I was going to vote and as a result the debate didn’t feel very interesting on a personal level. But there was less miss-able news yesterday, in the shape of the Guardian/ICM poll apparently showing support for AV collapsing.

My simple thought is that this is a case of classic irony, of means thwarting desired ends.

Earlier this year, when the Guardian last polled, the whole AV thing was little more than a fuzzy idea which had notional appeal: a way to change things for the better, maybe? Then, inevitably, the politicians got involved. And what do we know about the Great British Public? They don’t like politicians.

Given it’s always more difficult to sell an idea than to persuade people not to bother, the Yes camp loses out, no matter which side is ‘winning’ the debate: as long as it’s politicians arguing the toss, voters (in the UK, at the present time) switch off. For some, switching off will mean not turning up. For the few that do bother to vote, the ‘no’ box will simply be another chance to say ‘bollocks to the lot of you’. 

What’s genuinely sad – tragic even – is that the agents of the current system, a system dominated as it is by careerists, apathy, lack of responsiveness and accountability, are conspiring against the very thing that could fundamentally improve things. Just by being involved.

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