Back democracy!


By Elin Jones, our candidate in Ceridigion.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that, as the Minister of Agriculture, I enjoy a Sunday lunch.  Now imagine going for a Sunday lunch in a pub. When you hear your first choice of meat is unavailable you would hope to get a second choice. Well, it makes sense doesn’t it?

I wouldbe  happy to get the choice, certainly happier than if the barman said: “We don’t have that so you can’t have anything.”
Welcome to your ‘choice’ under First-Past-the-Post, the system we still use for elections to the House of Commons.
If you don’t choose the one who wins, you won’t see your view reflected in the result at all.

On May 5, on the same day as we cast a vote in the Assembly elections conducted under a fairer voting system, we will have the opportunity to reform the system at Westminster as well.
There will be a referendum asking if we want to change from the present system to the Alternative Vote (AV) system.  Plaid Cymru supports this change.

“Another referendum?” you may well cry!

I have seen many elections and referendums in my political career – indeed the opening scenario wouldn’t work in my own constituency without a referendum on Sunday opening for pubs in Ceredigion in 1989.

This is a particularly busy period for politics in Wales.
But the AV referendum is important.  AV is a clear and simple step toward a better politics.
Yes, I did say ‘clear and simple’.  Like True Wales before them, the No to AV campaign is trying to paint this change as complex and confusing and they will not shy away from muddying the waters.

The truth is that the only change to casting your vote is that instead of using an X you can rank the candidates 1,2,3 and so on - and you can choose to put only a 1 or list all the candidates if you so wish.  In the count, the winner will have to gain 50 per cent of the vote.

That is the simple choice we face in the referendum on May 5.
It is not about any issue other than the vital question of how we elect our MPs.

It is not about changing constituency boundaries or the number of MPs, which will remain a matter for Westminster.  The referendum is on AV and AV alone.

Why vote Yes?  AV gives more choice to people.
It ensures politicians will have to work harder to retain our support to win 50 per cent of the votes cast.  It cuts down on the number of safe seats and so ensures more competition.
AV also gets rid of tactical voting.It would forever consign to history the old Labour mantra ‘a vote for Plaid is a vote for the Tories.’
Outside Plaid’s own interests, it is vitally important that a system allows people to vote with their hearts and vote according to their honest opinion.

So let’s put some proper meat of politics and democracy on to the empty plate that is served up to us at Westminster at present and vote Yes to AV on May 5!