I am trying ever so hard to be enthusiastic about the possible change to AV. But I'm struggling.
I can see some small advantages. The biggest is the end of tactical voting. The voters can truly vote for who they want to see elected, rather than need to second-guess the behaviour of others. Never again will a leaflet need to talk of two-horse races, or X can't win here.
I can also see how AV is Step 1 of getting to the holy grail of STV. Once the ballots are preferential, moving from single- to multi-member constituencies so that elections are proportional would implement STV. Yet Step 2 is so much bigger than Step 1.
Making such a fuss about climbing the molehill when there is still a huge mountain to climb feels like wasted energy. AV is such a minor tweak to the status quo that I fear that holding this referendum will put genuine electoral reform off the agenda for a generation, whatever the outcome. Hung parliaments are becoming increasingly likely. I can't help wonder if it would have been better to wait for the ideal moment to get full STV in one shot.
I simply don't buy the argument that gaining the favour of over 50% of their electorate gives genuine legitimency to an MP, as that 50% is made up of second, third and maybe even lower preferences. The whole point of multi-member constituencies is to acknowledge that one person can't adequately represent the views of tens of thousands of people. AV goes directly against this principle.
But we are where we are. I'll campaign for AV. But my soul won't be in it.