Campaigning in Camden for a YES! vote in the May 5th referendum


Camden bucks the trend and says Yes! to Fairer Votes

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.


Polling day – we need your help!

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 – 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!

Camden AV Referendum hustings – Weds 27th April, 7:30pm

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).

Cllr Andrew Marshall, Conservative cllr for Swiss Cottage and AV supporter

Cllr Andrew Marshall is the Conservative Councillor for Swiss Cottage

David Aaronovitch is an award winning writer, broadcaster, journalist and resident of Camden.

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!

Click here to register for the Camden AV referendum hustings through Eventbrite.

Dan Snow and Camden volunteers explain AV (please share the video!)

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!

The story of Camden’s Co-chair, Sarah Allan

I’m not a member of any political party and have never campaigned for one. And yet I’ve got so involved in the Yes! to Fairer Votes campaign that I’m Co-Chair of Camden’s branch. Why?

It started in 2001 when I was in my final year in sixth form and my friends were old enough to vote for the first time. Having grown up in a family where everyone voted, it was strange for me that many of my friends weren’t going to participate.  I asked them why and their reasons were various. They didn’t feel they knew enough about it, they didn’t feel it affected them, they didn’t think their vote would make a difference.

And then it hit me. I’d barely seen an election leaflet. I definitely hadn’t seen any election activity. I had no idea who the local candidates were. Any why? Because my friends and I lived in one of the safest seats in the country. No one cared about whether or how we voted, or what we thought, because it simply didn’t matter.

By the time of the last general election, I’d moved to a new area. But I still couldn’t get my voice heard. True the contest was closer, but between two parties I didn’t particularly like. I ended up voting tactically rather than for the party I really supported.

And it’s not just me (and my friends).  The majority of people in the UK don’t get their views heard at election time.

That’s not just unfair; it means that thousands, indeed millions of people across the UK can be ignored. Policies don’t have to reflect your concerns and no one faces the consequences if they don’t (except you). In Camden, if you live in Holborn and St Pancras and aren’t a Labour voter, you can be ignored. If you live in Hampstead and Kilburn you might well have voted tactically in the last general election as you tried to second guess who would win. And if you’re lucky enough to have your views heard now, what happens if you move? And what about everyone else?

This isn’t a sensible way to run politics or indeed the country.

If you choose AV, everyone (including you) will be able to vote for who they really believe in. And more ordinary people will have their voices heard. Please vote ‘Yes!’ on May 5th.

By the time of the last general election, I’d moved to a new area. But I still couldn’t get my voice heard. True the contest was closer, but between two parties I didn’t particularly like. I ended up voting tactically rather than for the party I really supported.

Secret ballots and votes for women were once considered dangerous ideas…

I could not agree more with Green Party spokesman Darren Johnson who said last week that the secret ballot and votes for women were once considered dangerous ideas tampering with a ‘tried and tested system’.

I am not a Green Party member, but I agree with him that the choice on the ballot paper 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 people that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ when it is plain to see that the system is clapped out and needs a repair job.

Fewer and fewer people are bothering to vote – the fact that half of all MPs’ seats haven’t changed hands in over 40 years must have something to do with it. Voting for AV will mean keeping them on their toes.

Kirsten de Keyser

Camden’s contribution to the national debate Ed Miliband, has made a compelling case for voting Yes!

How refreshing it was to hear local resident Ed Miliband saying that reforming the way we elect our MPs would “make politicians’ lives more difficult, but we should welcome that”.

Miliband, Camden’s contribution to the national political debate, made a compelling case for voting yes in the referendum on the 5th May to change “politics as usual” because it would force candidates to listen to more people. The Alternative Vote would mean that to win and hold on to their seats, politicians would have to win 50% of the votes.

To do that, they would have to listen to everybody, including those who usually vote for other parties, to try to secure their second preference votes.

Politicians who fail to listen to the voices of different people in their areas and who only have narrow appeal can win under First Past the Post, and that is alright for them – but not for us.

Martin Lake