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Yes to AV in Skipton

This morning I got up bright and early, and headed off to spend the day campaigning for fairer votes in Skipton. I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get there when I set off, but as I got into town I realised that the snow was starting to melt at last, and my train left perfectly on time without the slightest problem. There was still plenty of snow lying in places where it hadn't been disturbed, though, leaving this statue of John Harrison (a local clock-maker) looking like he had a pair of festive angel wings:

In Skipton itself, I joined our campaign stall in the town hall, where there was a craft fair going on. It was much quieter than the organisers had expected, presumably because of the weather, but we talked to plenty of people - including Santa!

It was quite a different sort of event from the bonfire we went to at the start of November - that was mainly about shouting slogans and dishing out leaflets to students as they passed, but today we had more time to talk in detail about the referendum to people who were milling around at their leisure, most of whom were in their fifties or older. About two thirds of the people we spoke to still had no idea that there is a referendum on the horizon, or what it is about - but on the whole most of them were interested and enthusiastic once we explained what it involves. We got a few who just went "Oh, politics - I'm not interested in that", and one or two who said they preferred the current system, or didn't think the change would make any difference. But I'd say that in total about 80% of the people we spoke to were positively inclined towards AV by the time we'd finished with them.

Not all will actually take that positivity as far as bothering to turn out for the referendum, of course, but it seems quite encouraging to me. It also fits with the findings of a YouGov poll which concluded that people are more likely to prefer AV over FPTP if they understand how AV works. We've just got to keep on getting out there and making sure that they do.

Finally, here's a list of a few AV links which I've seen or shared on Facebook and Twitter recently, but haven't posted here yet:
Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 5th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
Sorry, but I'm not interested in getting into a conversation about that today, thanks. It would take hours to explain where I stand on it, and I have other things I'd rather be doing.
Dec. 5th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC)
I'd forgotten Harrison was from Skipton - a substantial figure in the rise of technological solutions to problems, even before Dava Sobel mythologized him.

I'm glad you had a successful day. I'm surprised at the pessimism towards AV, actually - I think the cause is likely to win if enough people can be informed of its advantages. I must get along to a Yes to Fairer Votes Oxfordshire meeting at some stage soon.
Dec. 5th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
He isn't actually from Skipton, I'm afraid, and nor is his statue. I can see now that I've written about it rather unclearly, but the statue was something I saw in town (i.e. Leeds city centre) on my way to the train. According to Wikipedia, he was born somewhere called Foulby, near Wakefield.

As for AV, people are inherently suspicious of change, so I'm not that surprised that some people are a bit resistant to it. But yes - my experience of campaigning for it so far is that most people can quickly see how it would give them more power at the ballot box, and obviously that's something most voters want.

It's very noticeable that the Yes campaign is developing as a nationwide grassroots movement, with apparently 140,000 volunteers signed up to help. By contrast, the No campaign so far seems to revolve around a few major public figures with a vested interest in the current system. They may well have money, but we have numbers and genuine enthusiasm, and I'm hoping that will make the difference when it comes to the referendum.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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