And I regard the whole thing with cynical and irritated eyes. Is AV more fair than FPTP? Yes – in the same way that being dropped on your head from a distance of 20 feet is better than being dropped on your head from a distance of 30 feet. It's still not a great system with little guarantee of real fairness and as far as reform goes it's hardly groundbreaking – especially since the Lib Dems sold every principle they ever (supposedly) had to get this pathetic non-deal.
I actually think AV will sabotage any future attempts at real reform. Any future reformers looking for real reform will be faced with “but we have AV now!” or presented with a failed referendum and be told “the people don't want it.”
Nor, for that matter, am I especially enamoured of the thought of more coalition governments after this one. Politicians frequently lie, break their promises and generally treat their voters like shit but rarely do they get an opportunity to do so with impunity as when they're in coalition. Now they can throw out every awkward principle and blame the other party or the coalition. As we've seen with the Lib Dems, it's frankly astonishing, even in such a cynically corrupt sphere as politics, how little what the people voted for was kept when the election was over. I didn't consider coalitions a bad thing, actually thought they may have positive elements - the Lib Dems have massively changed my mind
I do know my parents, 3 colleagues, my brother, 2 aunts, 3 uncles and 4 cousins are all voting “no” just because they're ex-Lib Dem voters and now want nothing to do with the party again. While it won't affect my vote on AV, I can understand the sentiment. It's also not an uncommon sentiment from what I can see and I think will add to the “the people don't want it” for any future attempts – the fact that the Lib Dems are the ones who want this and they are so justifiably hated right now is not going to help.
Personally I'd rather vote “yes” for the AV and get a marginally better system – and then not include the Lib Dems in any of my choices. It's probably what I intend to do – but I'm not exactly going to be jumping for joy if we get AV – because it should have been so much more.