Within an hour or so at landing at Belfast City Airport on the latest stop in his non-stop campaign schedule, Eddie Izzard had been greeted by Dawn Purvis (who’s in favour of AV), had a look inside the Black Box, given a pep talk to runners in tomorrow’s Belfast Marathon, met leading politicians from local parties supporting AV and retired to Malmaison for a purple (non-alcoholic) cocktail … as well as spontaneously canvassing numerous passers – even the receptionist at the Malmaison – about the merits of voting Yes to AV on Thursday 5th May.
Asked why he was supporting the switch to Alternative Vote, Izzard replied:
I think it’s a fairer system … I think it’s going to make MPs work harder for us … MPs will not only talk to their core campaign support but they’ll have to talk around it and get second choice votes, I think that’s better.
Northern Ireland voters are used to voting 1,2,3 in STV elections. But voter turnout is potentially a growing problem. Could AV do anything for engagement?
There’re a lot of people around the UK who feel this is a safe seat and I disagree with the politics of the person sitting in this seat so I’m not even going to bother voting. This gives them more of a chance.
At nearly all stages, a purple “Yes” speech bubble appeared behind the comic’s head. If there was a prize for maximising the number of purple-themed photo-opportunities within an hour, the Yes2AV campaign might be looking more hopeful than they are in the upcoming referendum.
Feel free to suggest captions for the photo immediately below. I’ll start with
“AV seeks to release the political roadblock?”
“Building a new style of politics?”
At one point, Alex Huston – 17 year old
campaign director for 18 year old independent Assembly candidate Stephen Stewart in East Belfast – interrupted proceedings to challenge Izzard about the downsides of AV. However, I think it’s fair to say the comic was under-impressed with the pinstriped youth’s argument. election agent
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.