“So let me get this straight,” I interrupted. “AV makes for better MPs, because they can make fewer people pissed off?”
“Sort of,” explained the weary local activist. “There are so many safe seats under the current system that MPs can stroll through a career without really having to care about constituents’ concerns. If you need to get 50% of the vote, you have to listen more.” His patience was clearly wearing thin. When you have to spell out the cause to fellow canvassers as well as constituents, you know you’ve got a hard sell on your hands.
Dragged along by a friend of superior civic virtue, I joined up with the ‘Yes! To Fairer Votes’ campaign at Essex Road station on a glorious early-summer evening. We were greeted by a small company of enthusiastic political junkies loaded up with purple bumf, who immediately tested our best lines on AV