While I'd love to claim that I had a "Road to Damascus" moment while flicking through the "No" campaign leaflet on my door mat, the truth is I just hate seeing a job done that badly. "Perhaps" I thought "I could have done it better."
So here it is:
Vote "No" to AV; Vote to Keep First Past the Post!
1. The Most Inspiring Candidate Wins
FPP gives the seat to the candidate with the largest majority of impassioned supporters. This means that it is the candidate who inspires the most of those who care to listen to his/her views who wins.
This means that we have MPs in Parliament with strong personalities, who can get the views and needs of their constituents heard and seen to in the din of the halls of power.
Our MPs are larger than life, not the affable, inoffensive but forgettable people you might get with a system like AV.
2. Fringe Parties remain on the Fringe With FPP
In other countries there are myriad parties all sharing the reins of power, which leads to compromising, fudging and weak governance that can harm the country as a whole.
This is because they have systems which allow for too many provincial or minority issues to be represented, rather than there being strong, national parties.
FPP marginalizes single issue parties, whose manifestos are not serious blueprints for rule, in favour of the national parties who have the wider view.
3. FPP provides us with Strong Governments.
Instead of different factions all pressing for their provincial interests, our governments tend to have a shared vision for the country and the power to carry it out.
Compromising on policy can lead to excessive red-tape, weakened regulators, weakened commissions and ineffectual initiatives. Too many people with disparate ideologies creating policy can drown good ideas, making for a stagnant political climate or deadlock.
FPP will tend to result in single-party rule between elections, meaning that one manifesto can be said to be the most popular and the direction the country wants to go in.
Governments can move forward with the support of the country and introduce the initiatives they believe in. Whether they succeed or not will depend on the strength of their ideas and their personal competence, not on political wheeler-dealing within a coalition of disparate interests.
4. FPP is Proven, Trusted and our Tradition
FPP has been a part of our electoral system throughout the history of democracy in this country. Great Britain has maintained its place at the high-table of world politics thanks to almost always having strong willed leaders leading strong parties.
Our leaders have almost never had to demur on the world stage because they weren't sure that they might not deliver on their promises because of troublesome political partners.
Changing to a different system could endanger the continuance of that history and fundamentally change the character of our politics and our leaders.
So, there it is. That wasn't so hard: Four substantive benefits of FPP, strengths it has over AV. Now: If I can do it in about an hour, why can't the policy wonks at Tory HQ, who've had a year?
Why do they insist on making non-sequitur, ad hominem arguments like "Clegg promised not to raise tuition fees; he became deputy PM in a FPP election and raised tuition fees; he supports AV; don't vote for AV"?
Why do they try to make AV seem random and complicated, when it certainly isn't?
Why didn't they just sit for a minute and argue the case for FPP?
That's the subject of another post, I think.