Helen, Co-convenor of the Yes to Fairer Votes Edinburgh, writes to the Edinburgh Evening News on the debate in Edinburgh on adopting the Alternative Vote Voting System.
The fact that just 12 people turned up at a meeting to debate the change to the voting system for UK that was organised by the NO2AV campaign (and somewhat unsurprisingly declared themselves opposed to change) hardly justifies the headline that “the city’s answer is ‘no.’” Rather, it is indicative of a complete lack of support for the NO2AV campaign in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh citizens have been showing a strong interest in reforming the voting system for UK general elections since this became a real prospect last May. This was first seen in the well-supported demonstration on May 15 2010, calling for an end to the broken system for electing MPs so that our Westminster government can be more relevant to the voters it exists to represent.
Over the last few months YES! to Fairer Votes campaigners have been very busy with activities such as street stalls around the city, handing out leaflets to shoppers in Princes St or rugby fans on their way to Murrayfield and speaking to thousands of voters over the phone. The people we are in touch with are often keen to learn more about the proposed alternative vote, to hear what we are asking them to say yes to, and why. Many are receptive to the reasons we give – we are supporting a YES vote to give all voters more of a say, to end safe seats and the jobs for life they bring for some MPs and to make MPs more accountable to their constituents because they will need to aim to get 50% of the vote to be sure of getting elected – which makes us all the more aware of the need to continue providing information and underlining the importance of voting in the referendum.
May 5 is the date for the people in Edinburgh and throughout the UK to give their answer to a question that deserves their fullest attention. I sincerely hope that on the day that really matters, the people will say yes.
You can see what other members of the Edinburgh Yes to Fairer Votes group had to say about the debate they were at here.