UK: Referendum on Electoral System, & TBP, a Farce?

[image shot/modified, by ed]

Oh, people just lurrrve choices. Their individuality is validated. Their ability to choose between one and the other, be it the devil or the deep blue sea, impresses upon them that their decision is of their own volition.

So now we are going to have this farce of a referendum for electoral reform next May, or more accurately, the refining of the ‘First Past The Post’ system. [BBC] I wouldn’t say that the proposed AV, or ‘Alternative Vote’ system, is a reformation, but rather a refinement. What does it refine? It is an attempt to fine-tune the electoral system to the point that popular dissent might be quelled - not that anything significant is done to reform the system.

The Take Back Parliament movement fell flat on its purple hindquarters. Looking at how things transpired, they needn’t have taken to the streets at all. After all, the powers-that-be were already seriously talking about electoral reform in their manifesto, and Gordon Brown gave it more than a brief mention in his bye-bye-i'm-buggering-off speech at Number 10, amongst others.

So what is the TBP doing presently? Taking to the streets to convince people of the need to support electoral reform, and hence, the AV. They have become nothing more than a mouthpiece of the PTBs. Nothing more, whatever they would like you to think through a ticker-tape parade of various shades of purple. Now, they’ve left it to the vote of its members, including myself, to decide if,

AV ought to be supported unconditionally - 18%,
Supported as a stepping stone to Proportionate Representation - 59%,
Rejected outright in support of PR - 23%.


If they saw it fit to go out into the streets and educate the public in the virtues of AV, then why do they not try to educate their own members - many of whom are youngsters, into the virtue of ‘PR Now!’ and ‘Fair Votes Now!’ given that the movement is called ‘Take Back Parliament’ as opposed to ‘Take Back Parliament a bit now and a bit more in a decades or so time’. Instead, they were already earlier supporting the AV in their postings, and now, they are leaving it to the vote of its members after being selective in what they said and left unsaid earlier?

And they talk about 'patience' and 'being realistic' in toning down the demands for 'Fair Votes Now!' and supporting AV for now? Isn't any democratic movement supposed to challenge and overturn what people have been trained to be patient and realistic in the face of? I was a tad bit worried in the outset when some begin to talk about 'change' as opposed to 'progress'. They did the same shit in Singapore and ended up simply refining fascism. 'Change' frequently amounts to what I would call 'hot-plating'. That is, switching from one foot to another whilst both are placed on a hot plate so as to make the experience less discomforting. With 'change', people could accept the AV. But with a 'progressive' approach, they would be forced to consider if 'change' amounts to true 'progress'. Then, they would most certainly stick to their placards and demand for 'Fair Votes Now', and with especial emphasis on 'Now!' But as it transpired, the TBP has descended to being nothing other than an attempt to incorporate dissent and channel it down paths congruent with the aims of the parties in power.

The significance of the least is that which serves as one of the pillars of democracy. How does AV elevate the significance of minority parties, pray tell? The TBP has now voted, with the earlier subtle goadings of its leaders, and by leaving a lot left unsaid about how AV is an affront to the spirit of the TBP movement, to marginalise minority parties, just as they were in the FPTP system. That is what it amounts to - political fascism. I don't see any progress in using the heads of minority parties as a stepping stone to a representative government.

Now, if AV is supported through the farcical referendum, not only are minority parties left unrepresented in parliament, but their votes are given to the major parties as well. So that’s how its going to be for the ‘stepping stone’ that AV is supposed to be. More like a headstone for minority parties for close to a decade at least. Another 4 years for the next elections, another four after that to try out the results of the AV system in the next elections, and perhaps, to attempt to try it out for another 4 years after that just to see how it goes. 12 years at least? Before ‘Fair Votes Now!’? Looks like the Take Back Parliament movement has descended to being nothing more than a ‘Take Back Parliament’ movement. As for the referendum, it may be giving the people the right to choose, but only after the menu has been carefully vetted through by the parties in power, and the silent acquiescence of those leading the TBP movement.