Over the years I've had many people tell me off for continuing to dismiss civil partnerships as an unnecessary and cruel compromise. They tell me they are a good move forward, a compromise between equal rights and... bigots (lovely compromising there, thanks Labour), and a "stepping stone" to marriage equality".
I've never really been wholly convinced by these arguments. I'm a bit of an idealist (not very useful or constructive in a democracy I know!) who believes things are inherently right or wrong and I dislike compromise between the right and wrong to get "middling" outcomes. But somewhere in my head, I understand the argument. Understanding doesn't mean I have to like it.
So when I see Labour supporters using Clegg's "miserable little compromise" quote to back up their desire to ignore the AV referendum and call for better reform (what exactly I'm not sure, I'm hoping they mean STV but that's pretty unlikely) I have a little sympathy for their stance. But here's my problem...
If, hypothetically as no one argued for it at all which is a great shame, an MP had supported marriage equality and had then decided to vote against or abstain on the civil partnership vote in hopes of making a point, would I have been supportive? No. I would've expected them to argue passionately that civil partnerships were not the answer but when the choice before them was the status quo or civil partnerships that they made the right decision and voted for them, as they are BETTER than nothing at all.
And that's the choice before us at the AV referendum. It's either Yes, we want a change to a flawed but BETTER system than FPTP or No, we want to keep the even more flawed system, FPTP.
And once we've got AV, I shall continue to moan about further electoral reform. I will scream about it being a miserable little compromise but know, in my heart of hearts, it was at least a step forward.
So stop moaning about AV being a miserable little compromise and take a dose of your own medicine. Hold your nose and vote YES!
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist