The great British public recently had a chance to make history in this country and change the way our MP's were elected, from an out dated, heavily biased system called First Past the Post (FPTP) system to a slightly less out dated and slightly less bias system called the Alternate Vote (AV). Alas, with the Prime Minister sticking his oar in (I think that's the expression), and using his party's rather substantial resources (apparently), he managed to persuade (scare, frighten, intimidate etc.) the majority of the country that it's best to stick with what the country knows and what best suits his party, the First Past The Post system.
Having read Victoria Coren's article on the Guardian website (Luvvies or lads. What a choice) about her experience of the whole thing, I've finally realised that the whole process was doomed to failure from the outset.
The question that was asked on the ballot paper was asked as follows:
"At present, the UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the "alternative vote" system be used instead?"
So the response is either Yes we should change to the Alternative Vote system, or No we should keep using the First Past The Post system. This is why you ended up with the two opposing sides called the Yes2AV campaign and the No2AV campaign.
Basically, for those wanting electoral reform the question was asked in the wrong way. Why, you say?
Well while reading Vicky's article she mentions one important thing about the way the majority of Britain thinks. She says:
"Shall I vote no, then?" I wondered. "Everyone else will. And I am British, after all. I hate and fear change of any kind. I didn't like it when the newsagent got a new window display."
To put this another way, people these days are for nothing and against everything. Should we have wind farms to provide our power requirements? Not in my backyard. A just say No attitude to everything. And this attitude appears to have manifest itself in the way that people voted in the referendum.
In that case, how would people have voted if the question that was asked was the following:
"At present, the UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should we keep this system or use the "alternative vote" system instead?"
If the question have been put this way, the response is either Yes we should keep the First Past The Post system, or No we should change to using the Alternative Vote system and the two campaigns would then have been the Yes2FTFP and the No2FTFP campaigns which would have meant that those in favour of keeping the current system would have had to but more work into justifying why to keep the FPTP system instead of spending most of their time scare mongering about change.
Alas this thought comes far, far too later to make any difference but looks like the next opportunity for electoral reform may come sooner that some might think. The House of Lords is in urgent need of reform and it would be fitting if that reform could be of a democratic nature, an elected chamber. And what about the system used to elect this new second chamber? How about some kind of proportional system may be?