from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


A friend has just very gently reminded me of my political commitments; and in the midst of rhapsodising about poetry and art and transcendence, since elections are only a day away and I am after all involved, I might also think about AV - the Alternative Vote referendum is also happening in England tomorrow. This is in fact rather important.

There's been a lot of controversy about this, and a great deal of confusion in the eyes of the public both as to what it means and what effect it might have. If you are not yet convinced, and are going to be voting tomorrow, here's the stuff:

1 The main issue is that AV is a genuine move towards democracy, equality and justice.

2 As I understand it, the main reason for adopting this system is to challenge our current First Past The Post (FPTP) system which means that a very high proportion of elected members gets in with only a minority of the votes in their constituency.  How can this be genuinely democratic? It can only possibly work in a two-party system, and even then the election of the candidate is not a success for democracy but only representative of the views of a slightly larger proportion of the population.

3 It works by enabling people who do not wish to vote for one of two major parties to instead vote for the candidate of their choice, and, via redistribution if necessary (that is if your first choice doesn't get in, then your vote will go to your second choice), to have that vote count towards the final outcome.

4 This in itself is empowering.

5 In countries where a version of this happens, it's been shown that it's untrue to suggest, as the opponents of it do, that it costs more and is difficult to incorporate.

There. Over to you, friends - let's make this election a step towards change...

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