Why the Alternative Vote Referendum is important to campaign groups like SNUB

The referendum on voting reform may not feel the most obvious issue for campaigners like SNUB at the moment. After all, most of us are about changing how people think about the planned over development of the North East growth triangle and the behaviour of Broadland District Council and others who have steamrollered through the Joint Core Strategy without any regard to the democratic process.   These are the local issues that occupy our minds and not the way people vote for Governments.

However any change in the system which alters the value of our vote, claims to improve the representativeness and responsiveness of the system, or which could be perceived by others of undermining its value should be the subject of comment and debate. At the very least, SNUB would actively encourage local residents to get involved in the referendum debate, which until now has been woeful and would benefit from a serious injection of evidence.

But more than that, some organisations have information that is relevant to the debate e.g. Friends of the Earth claim that countries with more proportional systems have the environment higher on the agenda, organisations that work on participation claim that a more proportional voting system encourages more people to get involved than first past the post. These and others should not feel constrained from making this case in public, nor should those who have evidence that contradicts these views.

Democracy is about the competition of ideas, not constraining them. SNUB have a lot of experience to bring to the table in that debate and the rest of us can then judge the validity of the arguments. It does not sit well that a referendum about how best to reflect the views and choices of all our citizens, does not then encourage all the voices about that reform to be heard.  You can see some unbiased and balanced arguments for both sides of the debate at:

We would urge you to consider how your vote in the AV referendum would change the politics of the Broadland constituency and the future of our invisible MP Keith Simpson who seems more interested in raising his profile to get a seat in the Lords then representing the local people who voted him in.  AV will force him to concentrate on what he obviously sees as minor issues.  Lets see what happens.


  1. Under either FPTP or AV the Conservatives will control Broadland after the local elections. Under AV the Conservatives will get more firat preferences than other candidates some wards(winning under FPTP). They may lose to an independent candidate who is against all the growth close to Norwich when all non-Tory votes are transferred under AV until only the Conservative and Independent preferences are left.

  2. s

    No more Tory votes from THIS household.! A candidate who purports to represent Thorpe End's residents failed to attend the most important JCS "approval" meeting at BDC to register the strong local opposition to these plans,is now asking us to support him again in the forthcoming elections. Make your own mind up,but we've made our decision.

  3. Thorpe End Resident21 April 2011 at 22:32

    I nearly choked on my cuppa when I read Tory Councillor Shaun Vincent's leaflet for re-election in Thorpe End. He claims to be representing our interests against the development within the area. He voted FOR the Joint Core Strategy at one meeting I went to, then didn't even bother to turn up for the vote to adopt it last month. Reading his flyer you would think he was actively campaigning against it! Not only that but he sits on the parish council and they voted unanimously to oppose the JCS! How does that work then?

  4. Richard Williams22 April 2011 at 11:26

    The case for the alternative vote system is made in the first post.
    Look at the post war history of politics in this rich country where squillions have been wasted by successive governments in an ideological battle.
    First we nationalised, then we privatised, then we renationalised…. and went bust. So they privatised once again, making a better job of it this time selling off all the state assets in a way that defied any further repeal, but selling us things we already owned!
    As a consequence all our state utilities are now in foreign ownership, our manufacturing industry has imploded and all in the pursuit of short term cash gain. Our mutual building societies were also sold off as profit making banks creating the building blocks for the next financial collapse.

    Then, when that Government degenerated to sleaze and greed we just re-elected the other lot. They went to war, twice, cleared the unemployment scars by expanding the public sector and went on a credit based binge. Then.... we went bust again; "No money left".

    Yet the Tory Government is now embarking on yet another new wave of reorganisation. There is no national plan nor will there ever be whilst the present political system persists. We have the worst traffic infrastructure in NW Europe and a failing water and electricity supply network. The NHS is now finally heading towards privatisation and our education system is in meltdown.
    They are also embarked in another military adventure.

    First past the post has created a political extremism of the worst kind and has led to a decline in this country which people have no will to change. This is reflected in the number of people who bother to vote. Yet we have the arrogance to tell everyone else in the world how a democracy works even though we do not have one. About 600,000 people who live in marginal seats always choose our government.

    How do we change it?
    By changing the voting system and ensuring that the outcome of elections are more representative of the will of the people.

  5. No difference from the Lib/Dems. A flyer the other week claiming support against the developments in St Faiths, but who was missing from the important vote on the JCS! Bali Kular.

    They all want your vote but as keith Simpson has prooved, just for a day.

  6. Revision is right23 April 2011 at 08:27

    The NO campaign is just brilliant. If it had been written by a 14year old they would have made a better job of it.
    They point to the cost of implementation and point out how many hospitals and schools they could build for the money but totally ignore the morrass of foreign wars and that enormous cost. They ignore the cost of membership of the EU and the broken promise on a referendum.
    They point out how few the number of countries who use the system but the Tory Party would not agree to a more representative system being considered. A system which incidentally they use for there own leadership elections.
    They say it gives more power to minority parties and it does but their claim that extreme votes count for more is unjustified.
    The claim that it is too difficult to understand when most of Europe uses some form of proportional representation is an insult to our intelligence.
    What legitimacy is there in a system which allows a government to be formed almost exclusively from a minority of the electorate.

  7. If we do not vote for change they might just as well go back to government by the House of Lords, where privilege is the only qualification.
    On second thoughts our politicians have filled that house up with their own cronies and made it practically worthless.

  8. Richard Williams makes the case for AV, he would have a valid point if dealing with people of integrity. Sadly this is not the case, the humans involved in this political system care not a jot for us residents of Norfolk or any form of democracy. In West Norfolk we have had a referendum & over 92% voted against an incinerator (on a turnout of 65%), but we are told we must have it!
    This is not just the Conservatives that are at fault, the previous Labour Government were complicit; when at the GNDP planning inquiry all the Greens cared about was a cycle lane (I include ALL political parties in my contempt – by their actions or contrived inactions, not their words).
    You cannot reason with these people or expect fair play, whoever you elect they will attempt to force this through, to them you are nought but cattle.
    The AV sideline is just another pretence of democracy, to keep the people quiet for another couple of years of concreting over our land.

  9. AV will not make anyone more accountable - surely this is the real issue at the heart of our disquiet with politics and politicians.

    AV might work better at local levels where our need is managerial and tactical - I could see being able to rank candidates in some sort of preference order. Although why I should see this as 'fairer' or 'more representative' is beyond me.

    But at a national level, ranking ideologies and strategies makes no sense at all - I either support them or I don't.

    If you coAV at that level presents me with

  10. TAKE CARE, the AV System is untried and could destroy what little Democracy we have have left.Better the Devil you know !