The referendum on the AV voting system, is likely to rob the Green Party of significant political representation for a generation. Frankly we don't have a generation, we have run out of generations, the ecological crisis is here now.
If voters support AV we lose and if voters support the existing system we lose.
Sold as voting reform AV is not a fair or proportional voting system.
Without proportional representation it will be a huge struggle for the Green Party to win a significant number of MPs.
Across the entire planet Greens have only ever won three or four parliamentary seats on a first past the post system.
Well of course in Colombia may be over 20% of people vote Green but in most countries Greens get around 5% of the vote, something more.
We need to get 5%, or whatever proportion of votes we win, of seats in parliament. We can then have influence which given climate change and all the mad false solutions like carbon trading or biofuels is vital. We can also work with other green inclined politicians for change
Without proportional representation achieving any seats is very difficult. Caroline Lucas achieved a major victory and shows that it is not impossible, however Caroline is a perhaps unique green politician and green support is very concentrated in Brighton.
AV is a little better than FPTP because 'wasted' votes no longer apply, you have a first and a second preference.....this means that you might vote green instead of voting tactical against another party.
However unless a party wins over 50% of first and second preferences in a constituency it will fail to elect an MP. We can do this in Brighton though it will be a battle, I am not convinced that we are close to do it any where else in the UK.
With AV the German Greens would have found it impossible to win any seats in parliament.
AV can be seen as a means to prevent the growth of the Greens, if it is introduced it will make the system a little more democratic reducing the pressure for change in a very undemocratic system and if the referendum fails to introduce it will be said that voters are happy with first past the post.
I suspect it is more dangerous for the Green Party and democracy if AV is introduced.
Certainly we need to be campaigning for actual PR, something the Liberal Democrats have abandoned so quickly most of their supporters have not even noticed.
I am concerned as a Green Party activist but the issue is simple should our votes cout or should we have a winner take all system.
Greens should never ever be naive about the tough political realities we face, with Labour out of power there will be swing back to Labour which could take green votes, the combination of well funded climate scepticism and corporate greenwash is reducing concern with green issues and the political system is becoming more and presidential....all these factors need to be faced up to and all make it tough for us.
Greens need to get a lot more political, we face a very hostile political landscape.....we need to start thinking about how we change some of the contours pretty quickly....a campaign for pr is certainly needed.