I took the photo because my two-year old is currently under going long-term treatment at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and, I believe, it definitely should not be used for political points scoring. It is a great institution and my local Children’s hospital. The staff who work there are amazing and I don’t know where I would be without them. I would encourage everyone to, please, donate to their very worthwhile cause: Birmingham Children’s Heart Appeal.
But I wanted to write this blog post to set the numbers used in the No2AV advert in context. The No 2 AV claims are based on the following assumptions:
There will be £130 million cost of electronic counting machines. This is undermined by one simple fact – there will be no electronic counting machines used with AV! The No campaign simply seem to have just made this up. As Anthony Green, who is an election expert in Australia where AV is used, said “We’ve used AV for 90 years at all levels of government. And Australia has never used voting machines to conduct its elections.”
£82 million for the Referendum. This sounds very much like the figure calculated by Gordon Brown for a stand-alone referendum (which, of course, we aren’t having as it’s at the same time as local and regional elections). In any case, the cost of the referendum is incurred whether there is a Yes or a No vote. So there is no saving from voting No in the referendum planned for 5th May.
And they wildly exaggerate the cost of voter education with AV, basing the cost of the adoption of a different system – the Single Transferable Vote for Scottish Council elections – that is much more complex than AV.
There will be a cost to changing the voting system but it will be very small in comparison to No2AV’s wild calculations.
Also, I’m not a politician, but even I realise that money spend on elections, wouldn’t find its way into the Health budget.
I, personally, believe that the Alternative Vote will allow people to prioritise the public spending they care about, through a more democratic system which allows them to put preferences against the candidates most likely to look after public services. It will give people more of a voice, long term, for all the reasons mentioned in ‘Why Chose Yes?’. I joined ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ because I wanted my son to have more of a say in the future of this country and protect it’s worthwhile causes.
I also worry that he won’t be able to do these things because of the scare tactics of this advert:
- No to AV Advert – Birmingham Mail – Mon 21st Feb