Yesterday, talk turned to the AV vote - as obviously I am about to get my first taste of local democracy/national democracy in action in our local government elections.
As a result of this, we're all also in Purdah, which means we can't say or do or retweet anything at all even remotely political. Well we probably could but the whole thing is so complicated that I'm just erring on the side of extreme caution. This is also why this blog is quite quiet at the moment - well that and the fact that half the Western local government world in the UK seem to have stopped blogging - or my RSS feeds are broken, I'm not sure which, to be honest.
Anyway, AV stands for Alternative Voting. I had to Google it. Yep, I as clueless as everyone else seems to be on this, I freely admit. At the moment, we have something called First Past the Post and it somehow means that if , for example the Beer Party come first in 200 places, for some reason they don't get 200 seats in the Houses of Parliament.
Conversely, the option the Yes to AV crowd want us to vote for means that if there's a Beer Party and a Cake Party and a Tea Party and everyone puts the Tea Party as their second vote, but split their first votes between the Beer Party and the Cake Party, potentially the Tea Party will get into power in Whitehall, cos the first votes where split.
You see I am not entirely sure. No one I know is entirely sure except the rather fabulous @ben_greenwood who with the imitable help of @andrewrhodes managed to explain this using Cake, Beer and Tea yesterday in a way I understood enough at the time to know that both proportional representation (where the second vote of everyone would attain power) and the first past the post systems are utterly flawed, do not result in democracy being done, and frankly, we're in a bit of a mess.
I can't wait to see the turn out figures. I really can't. And of course no one will attribute the lack of votes on AV to people being utterly clueless and lost in all the random terminology, smoke and mirrors campaigning and frankly impenetrable explanations being bandied about on that there telly. Instead, everyone will jump up and down in panic and conclude the British Public will get what they deserve when it comes to voting because they simply don't care enoguh about it to get off their behinds and tick a box.
The turnouts and outcomes of the local elections for local Councillors I may of course not comment on due to Purdah. But we all know what's going to happen, I think.