So the No2AV vote romped home with a two to one majority on a 42% turnout. I find this very depressing, not because the Yes campaign failed so miserably but that so few people could be bothered to get involved in something so important as the way we elect our MPs. Sadly this was also reflected in the local elections, my own ward stood out from the crowd by having a turnout in excess of 5o%, still way to low. Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with electoral reform history will know that it wasn’t until the early part of the 20th century that women were entrusted with the vote and then only after a bitter struggle. It’s not necessary to go back that much further to a time when only the landed gentry enjoyed this privilege, ordinary citizens not being considered worthy or reliable enough to take part.
In my opinion electoral reform would be unnecessary if we could achieve a higher turnout, thereby reflecting more accurately the views of the people. We live in a country of approximately 60 million people and something like 45 million of us are entitled to vote but less than half do so.
There has been a lot of noise about how the LibDems might be less well disposed towards being in government with the Conservatives as a result of the poll. Really? are you serious, they’ve been out of power for something like 90 years and this is their chance to make a difference. I don’t think so. I am sure Mr Clegg and co will hang on in. What he needs to do is stamp on the few MPs in his party who behave as if they had won the election. What was so nice to see this morning on SkyNews and this is why I have written this now, is that he recognises that with only 8% of the votes they are not going to get their manifesto through parliament. They are and always will be the junior partners but that does not mean they have no influence. This team of Cameron and Clegg may yet turn out to be one of the most effective we have seen for many years and although I wouldn’t normally advocate this it may be exactly what we need to get us out of the hole we currently find ourselves in.