Tuesday, 26 April 2011

AV, the monarchy and democracy.

It's been a while since I've written something political and opinionated but this twigged an interest. A pretty broad array of topics but they are all linked. The May 5th referendum is about changing our voting system. We're currently using the First Past the Post (FPTP) system and the referendum wants us to change it to the alternate vote (AV) system. Now, in my opinion, we should all vote yes on this referendum. Not because the AV system is much better and fairer - which it is - but simply because the FPTP system is undemocratic and the "No to AV" campaign has been using misleading information.

The new AV system is pretty simple. Instead of just choosing one party to abide by you pick a preferential order by numbering the boxes 1, 2, 3 and so on. The No campaign have been saying that this system is too complicated and would make unfair results where people in third place would get into power. That is wrong. The idea that the person in third place - or lower down - will get into power makes no sense, it lacks logic. Either way, if the person in third did get into power it would still be fair thanks to the preferential order of voting. So explain to me, morons who like to twist the words and lie to get what they want, how is that unfair? Also, using a picture of five runners to explain to me that the person who's about to collapse will win the race is even more moronic.

This is wrong.

Let's carry on with the tripe that's being pedalled by the prolific No campaigners. They keep incessantly telling me how the AV system is going to cost £250m. Let's dispel this blatant lie. First of all, the referendum itself is going to cost £91m which changes that £250m to £159m already. Therefore, I've already proven that it is a lie pushed to you for their own personal gain. Now, another £130m is apparently on electronic vote counting machines. They are not being bought for AV and they aren't needed for AV so I think it'll be a good ol' ballot paper and hard work to count. That is it. I believe that is what is going to happen. Either way, if they did buy those machines it would be for future elections as well and not just for this voting system. That's another £130m gone from their outlandish £250m figure leaving us with £29m left. Now, yes, that £29m will be spent on informing people how to use the AV system which is quite insulting. It's simple, you pick preferences and - as I've heard so far - you pick at least three but you can pick as many as you like.

It will create more coalitions but don't judge the current coalition; it's just a Tory government pretending to be a coalition. Coalitions work. Fact. You don't even need to leave Europe to see that. If you're Welsh (like me) you won't even have to look further than our Welsh assembly. Oddly, it works. A coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru has had no problems and I'd say the Welsh assembly is a pretty successful, middle-left government. But, there are plenty of other successful coalition governments which compromise and challenge each other and really end up making things better - a bit better than usual anyway.

This voting system is better than the current FPTP but is by no means the best voting system. This is just a step in the right direction. A friend of mine described it as a sideways step to move forward but I'd say it's a bit more diagonal as it is slightly positively progressive. It may not be the best reason to vote yes but it makes more sense than to say no. The no campaign - ran mostly by traditionalists and right-winged Tories masquerading as liberals (they wear Nick Clegg masks in their demonstrations to prove that this is a negative thing) - have said that the BNP will have more power and more seats if the AV system were to come in. If that's true then why are the BNP against this voting system?

Even though we're voting for a different voting system to be more "democratic", I find that hard to believe. Britain is one of the biggest hypocrisies. We preach democracy, we impose democracy, we shed blood over the name of democracy yet we technically don't have one. We, instead, have a monarchy. You may not think that the monarchy do that much bar cut red ribbons and make boring speeches written by pretentious idiots, but they do. Before each law is passed, it needs "royal assent". That means the queen has every right to not sign it and not create the law. Rarely do the monarchy say no but it still leads questions as to why an unelected person still gets the final decision.

It has it's positives and negatives. For example, the queen said that she will not ask the BNP to govern the country even if they win the election. That makes me happy knowing that those idiots won't get into power but it's still not democratic. Practice what you preach, to use a cliché. We're over in Libya fighting to give them democracy and stop the innocent people being slaughtered and raped yet we don't have one. There's more than a hint of hypocrisy in our policies.

Now that leads to the royal wedding. At first I was a little angered that our tax money was paying for a wedding of two people. There are massive cuts which are unnecessary but apparently a wedding isn't wasteful - was my first thought. Two random people who fell for each other and decided they wanted to spend eternity together. Now, by thinking about it, I regret my dislike of the royal wedding. I won't take a part and it won't really effect me but the aftermath will. They've estimated that 2bn people will be watching the royal wedding. TWO. BILLION. That's a lot of people and a niche so that we can advertise in between, get people to pay expensive television rights and pretty much cash-in on the whole idea.

We may have spent between £20m-£40m (hard to find definitive numbers oddly) of our money on it but we're going to make so much back. From the TV licenses alone we'll probably make about £200m (a rough estimate considering 150 different TV channels will be broadcasting it) and then there's the memorabilia, the advertisements, the rental space, the tourists and so on. Say goodbye to the recession since we just made a tonne of money back. You know what that SHOULD mean? George Osborne should stop cutting but of course that won't happen. He'll move it around instead and make sure the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and start dying out. That's always been his plan and always will be.

To sum up in a semi-brief manner. You should all vote yes to AV. It may cost a little bit but it's a step in the right direction. In my opinion, we should all vote for our national and local area and then tally the votes that way. That's the fairest way. Each vote counts and the highest percentage gets into power. That way, Labour would have won a lot more elections. The monarchy makes this country democratic and hypocritical but I suppose they do no real harm since they're like a cash-cow with gold (oil is probably more lucrative now) instead of milk. Royal wedding is a good thing for this country since we'll make a bomb off other people's interest in something so pointless. Result.

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