With the referendum on whether or not to adopt the Alternative Voting system for future parliamentary elections finally here, Dave Watkins of Bromsgrove, like many others, is struggling to come to a decision which accurately reflects his needs.
‘Do I queue by a polling booth, or would shopping, or perhaps tending to the garden more closely reflect my personal circumstances and preferences at this time?’ he asked himself, whilst nodding at campaign leaflets showing David Cameron looking strict, Nick Clegg looking ‘elsewhere’ and Ed Miliband looking like a man who wants to leave a room in a hurry.
Recognising the importance of the AV issue Mr Watkins prioritised his needs for the day ahead, saying: ‘I’d rank going out to vote at 35% as it’s my fundamental right to expression in a free society; not going out to vote at 31%, as I don’t think my vote will make any difference anyway; buying new trousers in the sale which is about to end – pretty important, party tomorrow, 22%; and cutting the grass, which my wife says needs doing and while I often see where she’s coming from, I’m diametrically opposed to her on this one, so only 12% for that.’
With gardening coming in last Mr Watkins decided not to do it today and passed on its share to the other items. ‘I do feel a bit guilty about even thinking about lawn mowing on such an important day so it’s 7% to the ‘yes to go and vote’ campaign, 4% to the ‘no to go and vote’ campaign, and 1% to trousers,’ he said, decisively.
‘But trousers are not the most important issue today, are they, and really we could all lose them given the momentous choice we’ve been given to determine our futures through the ballot box, but since if I didn’t go out to vote I could get them much sooner, I give 15% of their importance – a leg and a bit – to the ‘no to go and vote’ campaign and 8% to the ‘yes to go and vote’ campaign.’
‘Which leaves, let me see, that makes 35 plus 7 plus 8 which is 50% in support of the ‘yes to go and vote’ campaign and 31 plus 4 plus 15 makes… um… 50% for the ‘no to go and vote’ campaign.’
After a brief pause Mr Watkins added: