For the last week, all I’ve been hearing is the phrase “miserable little compromise” bandied back and forth. The ‘No to AV’ campaign has made a big song and dance about it; obviously because it’s a nice, simple, disparaging soundbite that avoids having to actually discuss any of those terribly inconvenient fact things.
I heard it one too many times, and decided to try to determine the truth. Naturally, the phrase is all over the innerwebz, so getting to the root of it wasn’t as easy as it should be (if we are to believe the spin thrown at us about the so-called ‘information revolution’, finding information should be a damn sight easier — but that’s a rant for another day).
Echoes of this miserable little soundbite are everywhere, messing up the trail. Some of these echoes refer to ‘a newspaper article in April 2010’, so I began looking for that. And I think I found it.
There’s an article by Andrew Grice, Political Editor of the Independent, dated 22 April 2010 entitled I want to push this all the way, declares Clegg; this seems to be the source. Having now read this article several times, it has become very clear to me how easy it is to not only misread the content, but also to quote a part of it out of context so as to spin the result. Because of this, I’d have to quote the whole article, so I won’t bother (you can follow the link above if you wish).
With the caveat of journalists’ legendary reputations for misquoting their own sources so as to spin their stories, my own subjective understanding is that Mr Clegg did indeed use the offending disparagement in reference to AV. However, he used the term in making the comparison with AV+, a voting system which, while similar in name to AV, is entirely different in many ways. And, crucially, the comparison is not with the first past the post (FPTP) system. Which all goes to confirm my suspicion that the miserable little No to AV campaign is being disingenuous.
Incidentally, another thing I’ve come away with from having read that article is that Mr Clegg is exactly the same as all other politicians: one rung below a parrot.
On one level, that leaves me, quite simply, having wasted my time. On another it’s now clear in my head that, as Mr Clegg says in the same article:
“AV is a baby step in the right direction – only because nothing can be worse than the status quo.”
AV eliminates almost all tactical voting.
So, since the only choice I’m being offered by our miserable little government to replace the miserable little FPTP system is AV: I’ll take it, thank you very much.
From a purely selfish point of view I urge you to vote yes to AV too; because if you don’t and we get stuck with first past the post to elect our MPs in future, I’ll be tempted to stay in bed rather than waste my time putting a miserable little X on a miserable little piece of paper.