Today sees the launch of the website for the No to AV campaign.
If introduced, the alternative vote would see a fundamental change to how we elect our MPs. Alongside the local elections in May there will be a referendum where you will be asked if you prefer this system.
As this is not strictly a party political issue I have done a great deal of navel gazing to confirm my gut instinct that our voting system does not need AV, and I remain convinced.
The main reason is that of simplicity. It is easy to go into a voting booth and put a cross against a single name. AV would change this completely, requiring you to rank candidates in your order of preference - it adds a complication that is just not needed. Our ludicrous voting system for European elections is a perfect example of this - and I had a number complaints about it during the last European elections.
One other important issue here is that AV is more likely to result in coalition Governments. The Lib Dems have encouraged changes to our voting system for years as a quest for power. I am afraid my personal view of how certain Lib Dems at a local and National level have behaved since they have become part of the Government has proven that politics in this country is not ready for a system where coalition Government becomes a more common occurence.
I suspect there will be loads of people out there using the argument that politics is broken and therefore we need change. That argument assumes that all change is good; it is not. There are changes I would love to see at a National level that would make our MPs more accountable, such as to reduce the power of Party whips to give MPs more of a conscience and for leaders of all parties to have a greater reliance on their own elected representatives as advisers (David Cameron seems to be headed in that direction with this initiative). AV will do nothing to enable either of these; it would be change for changes sake rather than change for the better.
My advice to anyone is to make sure they understand the issues read up carefully, change to our democracy and a system that has served us so well over the years should not be taken lightly.