The Alternative Vote (AV) and Carers

I nearly did a PhD in politics once. I was going to study why people don’t vote, with one of the potential reasons being that people who don’t vote feel a lack of influence over their representatives and how they act when elected.

Proponents of the Alternative Vote (AV) system, being voted on in the referendum, say it would partly address this. They say that because some people may feel demotivated to vote in constituencies where there is only one or two likely winners if their preference is for somebody very unlikely to win. They have also been arguing that because AV increases competition, it motivates MPs to pay greater regard to their constituents when elected as their re-election will be less likely guaranteed.

The third argument is they offer is that currently some people feel forced to vote for one candidate to keep another out, even though their preference is for a third candidate. AV should enable that person to vote as they truly believe, for the people they want in Government and as the argument goes finding out people truly think may lead to a more representative government and Parliament.

There has also been a vigorous no campaign which has been arguing that the system would be more complicated because people can rank up to three candidates (you could still just put your first preference only if you wanted).

They also point out that it may make coalition governments more likely as parties other than Labour and Conservatives could win seats making it harder for one party to win an overall majority in Parliament.

Important questions, and the real shame will be if few people vote.

Fewer people vote in local elections than in national elections too, thought to be due to people thinking they are less important. Yet, when localism is the order of the day and local government assumes more responsibility for decision making, who you vote for will have a large, and growing, effect on your lives.

The shame is that even those who do vote often vote according to their view of national politics and political parties, when the local policies and people can be quite different. The UK Government has focussed its cuts disproportionately on funding to local government in England, and because of this we have come to realise what a large role local government has in providing services that we value and need in our lives every day.

National politicians seem to believe that the population want local solutions to local problems. This may be correct and I hear this from people quite often. However, if it is true and we do want local solutions to local problems, then we must take on our democratic responsibility to get involved in this and vote for those people who will be making those decisions on our behalf.

And if you don’t then you may find that the school you send your kids to, the library you get books from or pool you go to, the roads you drive on, the shops you buy from, the recycling bins you use, and yes, even the Carers’ Centre or Crossroads Care you get support from may not be there anymore.

Take care to vote


May 5, 2011 - Posted by | David Cameron | , , , , , ,


  1. Voting today for or against AV will make no difference to carers whatsoever.

    Politicians don’t pay any attention to the lives of carers because it’s not a subject that gains them any brownie points with their political masters.

    Carers and their dependents will continue to suffer under all political parties because there are no strongly independent lobbying groups to stand up for them, CarersUK and Crossroads all recieve funding from government so their campaigning cannot go too far otherwise funds will be removed from them and the many people at the top of the organisations don’t wish to lose their well paid jobs.

    None of the main carer organisations have done anything to change the carers allowance which still remains a poverty benefit, politicians don’t and never will understand what it;s like to care for someone 24/7, never having time off because you cannot trust the support that may or may not be offered.

    Cameron said he understood the plight off carers as he did have a disabled son but in reality he didn’t, he had the finances to have a nanny, he had the money to provide all that’s best for his child, he never had to worry about affording heating or going without food because he did not have to rely on CARERS ALLOWANCE like hundreds of thousands do.

    The government have said they have made it easier for carers to go to work, how on earth can a carer go to work when they care for someone 24/7? It’s that stupidity or total lack of caring about this subject that angers me and millions of others.

    The only people to benefit from voting today will be the political parties who would not normally have an opportunity to get any power, the LibDems and the greens have the most to gain but for the rest of us it’s all the same old rubbish, politicians don’t care about the people they only care about the improvement of their lives and political mascinations….

    Comment by newsextra1962 | May 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi News Extra
      I think I disagree with you that politicians don’t pay any attention to the lives of carers because it doesn’t get them any brownie points with their political masters. In a democracy, the masters are those who vote. That’s why issues which are key to how people vote get more attention. So I disagree with you and Paul below as you both seem to think it is pointless voting.

      If people vote according to what parties do and say regarding carers, then much moee focus will be paid to carers.

      I actually think that before the last election there was a lot of focus on carers. Each of the three main parties had clear distinct commitments regarding carers and two of the three televised prime ministerial debates had discussions on these policies.

      I know that this was because of a lot of work done by charities such as Carers UK, Crossroads Care and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. And just like we did with the last Government, we will continue to pressure Government and speak out on carers’ issues.

      The annual accounts of charities are public so do have a look. Funding from Government to the charities are a tiny proportion of overall funding. For instance, virtually all the money The Princess Royal Trust for Carers receive comes from donations.

      We know that many carers are not getting the support they need and deserve, and there are people in Government and Parliament who also believe that. However, there are also many other issues and to keep carers as an important one that must not be ignored, we need everybody telling their MP that what they do for carers might determine whether they get votes or not.


      Comment by Gordon Conochie | May 24, 2011 | Reply

  2. AV ?

    Proportional Representation ?

    First Past The Post ?

    For many carers \ disabled \ elderly citizens alike , the conceptions are meaningless in today’s Sad New World.

    Name one Party whose agenda includes the protection of Society’s most vulnerable against the ravishes of the free market economy ?

    To gradually reduce the most severe inequality in wealth \ income between those at the top , and the ever increasing masses at the bottom ?

    It is not a question of which Party , it is a more fundamental concept …. a change in the way we exist in this Sad New World that no of us ever voted for.

    Living comes later once the the majority accept that the present system has failed it’s citizens.

    Red ? Blue ? Green ? Yellow ? Take your pick , all will lead to a continuation of much the same.

    Comment by Paul | May 6, 2011 | Reply

  3. Maybe if people don’t vote they get the politicians they deserve?

    Comment by charles47 | May 15, 2011 | Reply

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