We don't need celebrity clowning to help us choose our electoral system

Liberal-left luvvies are out in force to change Britain's electoral system to AV. But the current system is fine whatever Eddie Izzard thinks

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A democracy that has stood the test of time
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Christian May
On 13 April 2011 10:21

Forget the Olympics. Forget the Royal Wedding. Forget about the Russians buying the World Cup. Just look over there! A cross-dressing comedian, a couple of TV presenters and some actors are shouting about DEMOCRACY!

Even if you don’t know what they’re on about, you must recognise their faces. One of them used to be an athlete before embarking on a TV career that took him to the dizzying heights of Gladiators and Through the Keyhole.

Look, that other one made a career out of playing slightly hapless nice guys in British rom-coms, before achieving Oscar success from his latest endeavour.

And isn’t that the face of Twinings Tea? You know, the one who tweets a lot? Having trouble placing the man in a dress? Just cast your mind back to the “Yes to the Euro” campaigns of times gone by. Don’t forget that little chap in the corner. Why, it’s Tony Robinson! Best loved for his portrayal of that stupid, unwashed dogsbody in Time Team.

Yes, you’ve got it. The ‘celebs’have organised themselves around the greatest democratic cause of our generation. I am of course talking about the campaign to mess around with the way we vote for MPs. What did you think I meant? The battle for freedom in the Maghreb? Don’t be daft. That’s not worth getting out of bed for.

“Democracy itself is at stake,” we’re told. “We need to send a message to our MPs,” they tell us. (When was the last time Stephen Fry tried to get a response from his MP about a neighbour’s encroaching hedge?) Frankly, if the advancement of democracy is such a concern to these people, why don’t they head to Egypt and lead a breakout session on progressive politics?

It is of course remarkably easy to associate yourself with a soft-left, positively positioned and supposedly “non party political” campaign such as Yes2AV. (Sorry, I mean “Yes to Fairer Votes” as they insist upon calling themselves. On that note, couldn’t we, the other lot, call ourselves “No to Watered-Down Votes?”)

All of the ‘celebs’in question have lent either their voice or their image to the YES campaign. Colin Firth thinks the current voting system is “clapped out.”

Eddie Izzard, demonstrating why he is the Left’s luvvie of choice, thinks that First Past the Post is “regressive.” Fancy that! Continuing with a voting system that neatly tells each citizen that they are of equal value in a democracy is regressive! Lefties love this word, because if you’re not fully in agreement with their definition of things, then you’re the roadblock to the future! The antidote to progress!

Let’s imagine how it would have gone down if Chris Akabusi, upon winning gold in the 400 metre hurdles at the 1990 European Championships, had been informed that because the old system was deemed too regressive, the chap who came in two places behind him would in fact be given the top spot on the podium.

Frankly, parading a bunch of celebrities in front of the electorate and saying “you want to be like them, don’t you?” is a pretty desperate way to go about getting a message across.

Furthermore, the British people are perfectly capable of making up their own minds on this issue – and that includes deciding whether or not to give a damn about it. 

Christian May is a political consultant with Media Intelligence Partners Ltd, where he specialises in foreign affairs and international consultancy. He writes for The Commentator in a personal capacity

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