Campaigning on the referendum begins to draw to a close tonight with the polls about to open in the morning. Some strange questions have been focused upon over the last few weeks. Which side would Churchill have been on, for instance? As if that mattered, any more than what Wellington or Nelson or any long-dead war hero might have thought. Lest we forget, Churchill’s career was littered with wrong turns, crazed impetuosity, and half-baked ill-thought-out schemes. One of the few things he did right was judge the nation’s mood to perfection in 1940. The idea that he is some fount of wisdom for our times and not the unreliable adventurer he was regarded as by many in his own time is not one to give much credence to.
Should the debate have taken place in an atmosphere of highbrow academic debate, serving the best interests of the nation in the style of the New Politics, or was it always going to be a dirty gutter scrap between competing vested interests? The naivety of those who are shocked when vested interests do their best to achieve their ends by the lowest of means is nobody’s fault but their own.
How much will machines cost we might not need? What do celebrities think? Are there better systems than AV out there we should be voting to change to instead?
The debate has just confused and obscured the issue. Forget everything you know about AV. Forget who’s in favour, and who’s against. Forget how you’re being told to vote. Forget the manufactured rows and schoolyard bickering. Forget the lies and the moaning. Forget the tortuous analogies, the ridiculous tedious adverts. Forget the celebrity campaigning. Forget the endorsements or otherwise of long-dead people. Forget supposedly superior systems we should be voting on.
Whatever wing of politics you support, remember this: If you’re a Tory and wish to prevent Labour ever again hanging onto power with minority support like they did for 13 years until the last election, vote Yes to AV. If you support Labour and fear a repeat of the Thatcher years, when their own minority support delivered us an overbearing government which abandoned huge swathes of the nation to its fate while pursuing tribal ideological objectives, vote Yes to AV. If you support the Lib-Dems and wish to see your party represented in Parliament in numbers approaching the proportion they deserve for the votes polled, vote Yes to AV. If you wish to vote for a minority niche party, but express a preference towards which of the main parties you’d like representing you if you can’t win, vote Yes to AV. Ensure our nation never again has to put up with divisive rulers who have no need to appeal to anyone but their core support and voters in marginals. Nothing else matters. Vote Yes.