I have just voted "no" (sorry)
In the 'fairer votes referendum', that is. I have done this by post and with a heavy heart.
For this election (unusually) we have had a load of stuff through the door, and each side had such bad arguments (as well, to be fair, the occasional good ones) that all I could do was:
a) not vote at all (and so let my mum down who thought that any woman who didn't vote was ratting on the whole of woman kind)
b) vote no, for the status quo (ie a sort of abstention)
I suppose I could also have spoiled the ballot paper, but I hadn't really considered that option before the postal ballot went in the post box.
I suppose I should be a natural for a change in the system - and the 'no campaign' had some truly repulsive and quite misleading arguments. But the argument for change has got to be more powerful to get me behind it.
The thing that tipped the balance was the last piece of paper that came from "yestofairervotes".
It gave me three reasons to vote "yes".
First: It will make all MPs work harder.
Well, I think that MPs DO already work very hard. It's not hard work that's their problem... it's what they work hard DOING.
Second: It will make your vote count.
I see the point here. But there are more aspects to this. One of the good points made by the No campaign (among the layers of dross) was the effect of a "coalition culture" on what you think you are voting for. If parties are almost bound eventually to cut their cloth to get into a coalition agreement, then what reliance can we place on the policies of their manifesto.. in other words how do we know what we're voting for. (We've already seen that with the Liberal Democrats and student tuition fees.)
Third: It will tackle the 'jobs for life culture' (aka 'safe seats').
I am not certain on this that I DO think safe seats are so bad. It's easy to knock those seats where anything with either a blue or a red rosette will get in ... but in fact I can see quite a lot to be said for continuity of representation and the development of a strong bond between member and constituency.
The same piece of paper also told me that if I voted no (as I just have), I would be voting for my "voice not being heard, MPs in the dock, expenses scandal'. At this point I had that sinking feeling that this campaign for a change in voting system was promising itself as the answer to political ills that it couldnt possibly cure.. and I decided to stick with the devil I knew.
In the hope perhaps that one day a more realistic, clear headed, more coherently supported system of 'fairer votes' might come our way.