Fenland graduate to stage public meeting as part of nationwide campaign for the Alternative Vote

A GRADUATE campaigning in Fenland for the Alternative Vote (AV) holds a public meeting next week in advance of a referendum later this year. WILLIAM McADAM, the NE Cambs representative for the nationwide campaign, will give a short presentation, followed by a chance to ask questions. In a special column prior to the meeting, he explains why people should support the campaign.

“I COMPLETELY understand that �people can’t understand,” smirked Margaret Beckett MP, President of No2AV, when defending her �72,537 expenses.

Now she’s at it again. Apparently, a �simple upgrade of our voting �system to the Alternative Vote (AV) is too �“complicated” for us plebs.

Beckett embodies the discredited ‘Duck-House Parliament’. Beckett wants to stop us getting fairer votes.

Here’s a message from us to you, �Margaret: you were too stupid with our money, so don’t call us too stupid to count.

Simple counting is all AV is. Instead of an ‘X’ by one candidate on your ballot, you put a 1 by your first preference, 2 by your second, 3 by your third, and so on, for as many or few candidates as have earned it.

With AV, one candidate must get a majority: more than 50 per cent. �Currently, two-thirds of MPs get their jobs with less than this. Who else gets their job when more of their interview panel doesn’t want them than does?

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Here’s an example ballot: 1. Green Party, 2. Labour, 3. Conservative, 4. Lib Dem. No candidate wins more than 50 per cent in the first count (more people ranked them as number 1 than the rest combined). The Lib Dems come last. They are eliminated.

So the Green preference is still counted in the second count. After this vote there is still no candidate with 50 per cent. The Greens come last in this round, they are eliminated.

It is now between Labour and the Conservatives. Labour gets more votes, so the preference goes to Labour.

We therefore have our say in the end: we influence the outcome of an election even if we at first support a party that won’t win.

Currently we don’t have that say. Currently we have no say unless we back a winner.

AV gives us that say. It gives small-party supporters a say in the eventual outcome. Our first preference might not win, but our vote isn’t wasted.

AV forces big parties to respect smaller parties and their supporters, in order to win their later preferences; it abolishes safe seats; it ensures that your vote is always counted.

For our voices to be heard in the 2015 election, we must shout Yes to AV on May 5.

• The meeting takes place in the Quiet Room at the Griffin in March on Monday at 7pm.

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