Not being a psephologist, I have very little interest in the forthcoming referendum, personally. However, I've pretty much made up my mind to vote for keeping the current system.
Well, mainly because I received an email "from" Eddie Izzard, urging me to vote for AV: whilst I find Izzard quite amusing as a stand-up comedian, his political views have always been utterly fucking wrong. As such, voting to retain the status quo must be the right decision.
In any case, it is all bread and circuses, as one ex-MP quite clearly stated a few days ago: it was Guido who linked to the Daily Politics episode in which various ne'er-do-wells—such as John Hurst and disgraced ex-MP Jonathan Aitken—debated the question of votes for prisoners.
It was the latter who said this (and let's face it, an ex-MP would know)...
"One vote every four or five years is not tremendously important."
Quite right: it doesn't matter who you vote for or in which manner you do it—the soft socialist politicians with the guns in their hands always get in.
UPDATE: just in case anyone was in any doubt that this whole rigmarole is a really fucking bad idea, our Lords and Masters have decided that this should be the first referendum in British history to be binding.
Two things today convince me that our democracy is deeply flawed. First, Parliament's decision that the referendum on the Alternative Vote will be binding, and will be won by a simple majority.
Making a referendum binding for the first time in the UK's history is, let's face it, a constitutional change of some magnitude. As is changing the voting system itself. Whether you support AV or not (no parties actually proposed it in their manifestos), it seems reasonable that it should require a large measure of public support to happen. Few people know much about the subject, so in some areas the turnout could be miniscule: it could be a constitutional change chosen by a small minority – an interested, informed minority – that could have major consequences for the rest. Likewise, the decision to make the referendum binding is made not by the people but by a simple majority in Parliament, a body whose democratic credentials are rather tarnished right now. If this is allowed to stand, who knows what other binding referendums might be proposed in future?
Well, I shall tell you what referendums will not be binding—any referendum in which the answer might be something other than that desired by the politicians.
As an example, does anyone seriously think that a referendum on the UK's continued membership of the EU—a state supported by the majority of politicians and opposed by the majority of the people—would be binding on the government? If you are in any doubt as to the answer, just look at how binding our politicians' "cast-iron" promises of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty were...
So, why would our corrupt and venal MPs make binding a referendum on the very way in which they are elected? Simple—they don't expect it to change anything of any significance.
As I said, it's just bread and circuses...