The people of Camden have bucked the national trend to turn out and say Yes! to Fairer Votes.
We won by 26,275 votes to 24,845 with a turnout of 37.4% – higher than the London average and higher than predicted by many.
Given the national result Camden is a significant victory and testament to the hard work of our Co-Chairs Sarah Allan and Lee Baker, and to the many volunteers who came out onto the streets week after week to talk and listen to the people of Camden. We want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped with the campaign, and to the residents of Camden who turned out in support.
The UK may not have chosen to use the Alternative Voting system, but this is not a vote for First Past the Post. Our Parliament is unrepresentative, unfair, and undemocratic, and the campaign for change has only just begun.
It’s the final week!
We’ve been thrilled at the number of new volunteers who have come along to lend a hand this week, as we pull out all the stops for the final push.
But we still need your help.
Here is an outline of the plan for Thursday. Please send us an email with the times you are free, which locations are convenient, and your name and mobile number – firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Co-Chair Sarah Allan on 07515 505812.
– 7.30 – 9am: Flyering outside tube stations
– Midday – 2.30pm: Flyering around busy office areas
– 2.30pm – 5.30pm – Flyering in local high streets
– 5.30 – 7pm: Flyering outside tube sations
– 7pm onwards: Knocking on doors
Last minute volunteers can give Sarah Allan a call on the day and she will direct you to where leafleting or canvassing is taking place, and contact details of the person in charge.
Our success depends upon getting Yes supporters out to the polling stations on Thursday. Young people are more likely to support AV than the over 65’s, but pensioners are twice as likely to actually vote as young people. So any time that you can give to encouraging everyone in Camden who supports change to get out and vote on Thursday, just an hour or two, will be a big help.
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday!
The Alternative Vote Referendum hustings will take place on Wednesday 27th April at 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, 134a Abbey Road (click here for a map).
The debate is to be held under the Chair of Geoff Martin – Editor of the Ham and High Newspaper. For the Yes campaign the debate will feature Andrew Marshall, Conservative councillor in Swiss Cottage, and David Aaronovitch, journalist, broadcaster and local resident. For the No campaign, Chris Philp, local councillor and parliamentary candidate – a second speaker for the No campaign will be announced shortly. Register for the event through the link below, or simply arrive on the door. You can also submit questions in advance through Eventbrite.
Please come along and show your support for fairer votes!
Historian Dan Snow has shown his support for the Yes! campaign by explaining why the Alternative Voting system is the fairest way to vote…
The No campaign think that the Great British public aren’t intelligent enough to understand Alternative Voting, but this simply isn’t the case . As this video shows it’s a common sense way of making choices which the majority of people are happy with, just as we do in every day life.
You may recognise the cast as our volunteers from Camden and Brent, who thanks to their common sense and appreciation of everyone’s preferences, had a great night out!
Please share the video on Facebook and Twitter!
CAMDEN’S local papers have this week been flooded with letters from local residents saying Yes! to Fairer Votes. The No campaign may be handsomely funded and have the ear of the big media outlets, but the Yes campaign has support from the streets.
How to make politicians’ lives harder (Camden Gazette)
I WELCOME Labour leader Ed Miliband for sticking his head above the parapet and saying that reforming the way we elect MPs will “make politicians’ lives more difficult, but we should welcome that”.
The Alternative Vote will make all politicians’ lives more difficult, especially sitting MPs who keep sneaking in with only a third of the votes. Any MP who would struggle to get 50 per cent of the votes because they are not popular enough will be worried – and that will include Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour MPs.
But any MP who gets out there, listens to everybody, and acts on concerns, will be O.K.
Peter McGinty, Rossendale Way, NW1
Keep MPs on their toes (Camden Gazette)
Votes for women and secret ballots were at one time considered dangerous ideas tampering with a “tried and tested system”.
The choice when we go to vote in the May referendum is between change and politics as usual. The reactionary forces campaigning against the Alternative Vote are trying to convince the public that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it is plain to see that our democracy is clapped out and needs a repair job.
The fact that half of all MPs’ seats haven’t changed hands in over 40 years must have something to do with it.
It’s no coincidence that MPs in all the seats that will no longer be safe are campaigning for No to AV. We have to keep them all on their toes
Lee Baker, Regent Square, WC1
Not complicated (The Ham & High)
IT’S quite something that David Cameron is telling the electorate that a fairer voting system is too complicated for them. Most people I speak to seem more than capable of putting their first choice for MP first, their second choice second, and so on.
But what’s even odder is that a similar system was used by the Conservative Party to elect Cameron himself. The Conservative Party did not want a leader who only had the support of a minority of one wing of the party, but broad, majority support.
If it’s good enough for him, why not for us?
Wystan Palm, St Julian’s Road, NW6
Turkeys (The Ham & High)
I’M voting yes because ten times more MPs are planning to vote no to AV than the handful voting yes. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. I therefore deduce that No is the politicians’ preference and Yes is the people’s preference.
The people should be deciding, not the politicians. We employ them, so I am voting yes. Simples!
Kirsten de Keyser, Highgate, N6
Just a Ruse? (The Camden New Journal)
John MacDonald is wrong to say that a fairer voting system is only a Lib Dem “ruse” (No Thanks, April 14).
If that were so it’s an amazing ruse, one that involved inserting AV into the Labour 2010 manifesto, unbeknown to them, and orchestrating the ‘Take Back Parliament’ mass rallies on Whitehall demanding political reform be part of the coalition agreement.
The truth is reformers have fought for fairer votes for a century and our first Labour Government tried to introduce AV in 1930. Establishment figures are now trying to scare us from embracing change.
Andrew Rutherford, WC1
Real Change (The Camden New Journal)
THERE are three key positive reasons to vote Yes in the referendum:
1) AV will ensure MPs have to secure the support of 50 per cent of voters in their constituency to win.
2) AV will put an end to tactical voting. Voters will be able to vote honestly for the candidate they think will do the best job, without having to worry about ‘wasting’ their votes.
Voters will have the chance to number the candidates in order of preference, to make sure that their vote is as effective as possible.
3) AV will mean there will be more marginal seats and fewer safe seats. This gives voters more power over the outcome of an election and means there will be fewer MPs who can sit back knowing that they have ‘a job for life’. AV is a small change that would make a big difference to democracy.
David Abrahams, Broadhurst Gardens, NW6
JAMES Collins is wrong to say that the only party that voters will want to put second if our voting system is reformed will be the Lib Dems (Alternative we wouldn’t want, April 7).
Voters have shown themselves capable of voting for parties of all different stripes: in some areas the Green Party are the challengers to Labour; the alternative to Labour in Barnsley was UKIP. Labour leader Ed Miliband said reforming the way we elect MPs will “make politicians’ lives more difficult, but we should welcome that”. I think that Miliband is right.
Peter McGinty, NW1
As part of the final push we are now leafleting at Underground stations across the borough in the mornings and evenings up to polling day.
It’s vital we get the message out to as many voters as we can and we really need your help. If you’re able to give just an hour or two of your time to help inform Londoners on why a Yes! vote is so important, send us an email email@example.com or just come along on the dates listed below…
The morning sessions will be from 7.30am to 8.30am, and evenings from 5pm-6.30pm.
Tuesday 19th: AM – Camden Town
Wednesday 20th: AM – Kentish Town, PM – Hampstead
Thursday 21st: AM – Kings Cross
Tuesday 3rd: AM – Finchley Road, PM – West Hampstead
Wednesday 4th: AM – West Hampstead, PM – Kentish Town
They’re usually bitterly divided, but Councillors from all Camden’s major parties are putting aside their differences to join the Camden Yes! to Fairer Votes campaign.
In an unprecedented move, Councillors including Adam Harrison (Labour), Andrew Marshall (Conservative), Keith Moffitt (Liberal Democrat), and Maya de Souza (Green) will work with local residents fighting for a ‘Yes!’ vote on May 5th.
They argue that a ‘Yes!’ vote – meaning MPs will have to aim to win the support of 50% of voters to be elected – will make MPs work harder and listen to more people. They also say the new system, the Alternative Vote (AV), will end negative campaigning at elections and allow people to vote for their favourite party, ending tactical voting for good.
Sarah Allan, Co-chair of Yes! to Fairer Votes Camden, and Camden Town resident, said: “It’s great that local politicians from all parties see the need for change. I’m not a member of any political party and have never campaigned for one. I got involved with Yes! to Fairer Votes because I want to see a better politics where people can vote for who they really support and more people have their voice heard.”
Labour Councillor Adam Harrison said: “From my experience as a local councillor and having seen how people divide their three local votes between different parties, it’s clear that voters’ loyalties are no longer tribal like they once were. So now is the time for us to back AV because this new system recognises that people’s political views are multilayered and nuanced. It gives everyone greater freedom of expression at the ballot box’.
Leader of the Camden Liberal Democrats and local Councillor Keith Moffitt said: “The fact that campaigners from all four of Camden’s parties are working together tells us that we’re on the brink of a new kind of politics and I really welcome that. I’m looking forward to election campaigns where the debate is about the big issues of the day – not just about who can win.”
Conservative Councillor Andrew Marshall said: “It just isn’t right that most MPs don’t get the support of half the voters. AV would mean every MP would have to get the support of a majority of those voting. Giving people the ability to rank their vote as 1-2-3 means everyone can vote for who they really want, without worrying about whether it’s a ‘wasted vote’. There’s an active Conservative Yes campaign as part of the overall Yes campaign, and we’re finding many Conservative supporters locally understand that change will be good for democracy and accountability.”
Green Councillor Maya de Souza said: “Politics has moved on. People want a real choice – not just a choice between 2 or 3 seemingly similar parties. With AV a vote for a smaller party is not a wasted vote. It will mean that smaller parties with a fresh approach to politics and fundamentally important ideas like those of the Green Party can play a fuller part in political life. It does not provide a way in for extremist parties as a party needs 50% of the vote to win, and these parties have been voted out by the public as it’s clear they have no real solutions to offer. AV will mean that people re-engage with politics – which is so important if we are to have a healthy thriving democracy.”