With the news that 114 Labour MPs are campaigning against AV, #LabourMPs was soon trending on twitter with many dismayed at what they see as Labour’s betrayal to one of their election pledges (and yes, many of these complainers are LibDems). I take an apathetic attitude towards AV, so much so, I debated whether or not I should even write this blog post. I am not going to discuss the pros or cons of AV, because frankly it’s rather pointless. The simple matter is the AV system will be exactly the same as the current one: undemocratic. You can butter it up anyway you want, but until we have a real change in the way we do politics, our system will remain unrepresentative.
This, for me, has got me thinking about the various merits of a proper PR system. Whilst I see PR as an important reform required to make the current system fairer, my political views have become closely associated with support for civic assemblies where citizens have a real say in the way policy is formulated. This has the power to involve groups/interests that are often sidelined, such as sex workers, enabling citizen democracy.
Therefore, whilst PR would assist with reforming our representative democracy; until we actually have a system where we aren’t ruled by consensus, where minority views are respected and listened to and where vested powerful interests are not a tyranny force, only then can we have citizen democracy. Frankly, I used to hold a very fantastical view of electoral politics, that when or if we have PR everything would be ok. But now I know, it wont.
There are problems electoral reform, within the constraints of our current system, wont change. However, that is not to deny the merits of a proportional system. The Greens missed their chance to actually argue for what a lot of people want; a proper representative democracy. As I have stated before,whilst it is important to build a counter-movement outside political parties, it is also important to continue reforming the existing system. Instead, the Greens are fighting with the establishment for a system that is as pointless as the LibDems. Decisions such as this, illustrate the need to remain independent from party politics, as well.
Sadly, energy and time is being wasted on debating the potential merits and problems of a system that can sometimes be less proportionate than FPTP. I doubt I will even vote for or against the system as it might as well be asking me to state whether I agree with FPTP. It is totally pointless. Again, this is further evidence that only under a new system of doing politics will we have real democracy, and under the current political structures pointless reform, such as AV, will do little but stall important debates about real political change.