Campaigners against changing the way MPs are elected have claimed a "resounding" victory as the No camp gained an unassailable lead in the UK-wide referendum.
With 403 of 440 results declared, more than 11.4 million people had rejected a switch to the Alternative Vote, with 5.2 million in favour – a margin of around 69% to 31%.
Senior political figures on the No campaign said the scale of the victory meant it was not simply a vote against AV but a firm endorsement by the public of the first-past-the-post system.
The vote wasn’t even close, a complete drubbing. I pose a few open questions. Do we tend to overstate the electoral reform sentiment within the electorate? Now I realize this is a foreign example, but we’ve had our own votes, with similar failures. Amongst the engaged, I sense an overwhelming desire for reforms, but I still wonder if there isn’t a disconnect with the public at large. There is no clearer verdict than a vote, it lies at the heart of any process, so that judgement can’t simply be dismissed. Is it the form of the reforms? Is it that people don’t like the current system, but alternatives seem risky by comparison? Is there a general want of reform, that evaporates when faced with practical implications? I have no real answers, but once again the purest expression of democracy has rejected reforming itself, and that requires some acknowledgement.
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