AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

Monday 2nd May, 2011
There's a very important vote coming up on Thursday and it's important that as many of you as possible vote and cast your opinion. What's more important, however, is that you enter the vote without being blinkered by some of the awful biased propaganda that is around.

There are people that claim that Alternative Voting (AV) ensures that a candidate requires more than 50% of the vote to win - it doesn't. This is covered clearly on Page 8 of the official leaflet, published by the Electoral Commission, that has been put through every letterbox in the UK. It states "Because voters don't have to rank all of the candidates, an election can be won under the 'alternative vote' system with less than half the total votes cast".

So, if your motive for voting "yes" to AV is to ensure you get a representative majority election, you aren't necessarily going to get it and could be wasting time and money by changing to a voting system that simply doesn't achieve that objective.

Additionally, a lot of the examples are utterly biased. Take a look carefully at this one from the "yes to AV" camp. The same bias can be seen in this video. At a glance they all make sense and a benefit of AV can clearly be seen which may make people rush out to vote yes. But neither of them are true examples at all. In the diagram, they've somehow come up with no less than 4 candidates that all represent beer and just one candidate for coffee. It's fine for biased propaganda but useless as a real-life example. This isn't because there are usually more coffee shops than pubs, not at all, this is purely because rarely are candidates that close to each other in their beliefs or objectives. The example here is just a choice between beer or coffee and there are only really 2 candidates. As such, there would be only 2 boxes on the voting slip and First Past The Post (FPTP) would already have easily selected "beer" to be the winner with 70% of the vote. Likewise, on the video, there are only 2 examples, cat or dog and it's a clear attempt to make cats look under represented. Again, in real life, it would be a choice between the Cat Party and the Dog Party and, if the vote was as described, the Cat party would clearly win under FPTP anyway - making a change to AV utterly pointless.

AV only has a true effect when there are more than 2 real differing candidates, e.g. Cat, Dog, Bunny Rabbit, Hamster or Parrot. They avoid this in the examples, however, as it's much harder to show that AV actually works under such examples. In many cases, it actually doesn't make any difference at all. Where it does make a difference, how will the result change? The answer is, nobody knows, as we've never actually collected information about what a voter's 2nd, 3rd or 4th choices might be. We don't actually know what might happen but can consider what would happen to our own votes...

Go to the BBC Election Site and look-up the results for your constituency for last year - here are my results for Runnymede & Weybridge. It's clear in this example that Hammond for Conservative actually got 55.9% of the vote. As he already had a majority, AV won't make any difference at all in my constituency and will simply cost money for no effect. You can see on the same page that the same result would have occurred under AV in 2005. This isn't to say that AV wouldn't work for everybody, just not for me. Look in your constituency and first check whether AV could make any difference. If the first place candidate got less than 50%, then it might work and we can look a little more closely.

So, let's take a look at my neighbouring borough Spelthorne - here the Conservatives also won but with 47.1% of the vote, below that critical 50% level. So AV would have an effect here. As Kwarteng didn't clearly win, Leon-Smith would be eliminated and his 2nd choice votes re-allocated to other candidates. So what might this do? Well, in reality, nothing at all. The 102 people who voted for him clearly had no belief in the other parties, obviously not the big 3, as they would have voted for them not him. I expect the voters here are friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Under AV, are people voting for such a minority candidate going to make a 2nd choice? Perhaps, but only likely for one of the other independent candidates.

So, let's imagine that all his votes go to John Gore, now giving Gore 269 votes and moving him to 6th place behind Swinglehurst. There is still no clear winner and so the now bottom placed Couchman is eliminated. His votes again are unlikely to go to the top 4 parties but some may have voted for other independents. Those votes will be re-allocated accordingly but any that only put bottom placed Leon-Smith as their remaining choice will be thrown in the bin as that candidate has already been eliminated.

The elimination process repeats until all of the independent candidates have been eliminated. Even if Browne, for UKIP, somehow manages to pick up every single vote from the other independents he will still, however, only have 10.7% of the vote and be next up for elimination.

So, where will those votes go? We're now on to our 7th place choice. Firstly, how many voters will actually rank anybody 7th place? You may vote for your first, second, maybe third or perhaps fourth choice. But are you really going to vote for a 7th choice? If you do, is that 7th place going to be any of those remaining candidates? Thankfully, the system realises this and won't actually look at your 7th placed vote - it will look for the remaining candidate on each voting slip with the highest ranking. So if the UKIP vote has ranked Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative at all, then the one he ranked highest will acquire his vote. If this gives the Conservative candidate an additional 2.9% of the vote, then he's already won and the outcome of the election hasn't changed in the slightest, AV would have been a waste of time and money.

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, the top 3 candidates only manage to acquire another 2% of the vote from this - e.g. 2 in 10 of those people who voted UKIP as 1st put Labour in 2nd place. 2 in 10 put Conservative and 2 in 10 ranked Lib Dem their highest alternative vote. So now we have 3 candidates remaining from our original 9 candidates. Conservative are now up to 49.1%, Lib Dem are up to 27.9%, Labour are up to 17.5% and 5.5% of voting papers are in the bin and don't actually have any say in the final rounds of voting.

So now the Labour candidate is eliminated and his votes re-allocated accordingly. This is where the big AV decision comes into its own. Many Conservatives realise that it's highly unlikely that any Labour voter would put them higher than the Lib Dem Candidate and that pretty much all the Labour voting slips would end up in the Lib Dem pile and could result in a Lib Dem win. This is why many Conservatives are against AV, it's also why many Lib Dems are quite clearly in the "Yes to AV" camp - they could win an election in a Tory stronghold, where they actually came 2nd. Likewise in a Labour stronghold, where Lib Dems came 2nd, again AV could potentially give them a win - another reason for the Lib Dems to back Labour and why some Labour voters may have discomfort.

So let's apply this to our results above and assume the highly unlikely scenario that every single one of the Labour voters put Lib Dem 2nd place.

Now we have the Conservatives still on 49.1% but the Lib Dems are up to...45.4%. Oh, they didn't win, because along the way, 5.5% of voting papers chose not to pick one of those candidates. So the Conservative candidate wins anyway and AV was a pointless waste of time and money. Not only that, but the winner took the seat with less than 50% of the vote - isn't that what AV was trying to avoid? Not only did it fail to change the result, it also failed to represent the 50.9% of people who didn't vote for him.

Of course this is just an example and the possible outcome may be somewhat different. Assuming that many of those Labour voters might put Lib Dem second place was a fair bet before the 2010 elections. Since the forming of the Coalition Government with the Conservatives and all those broken election promises it's quite likely that in fact they won't. I know it's changed my opinion of the Lib Dems and that in 2010 I would happily have put the Lib Dems in 2nd place but now I would seriously think twice about it. Of course, as we've already seen, it will never make a difference in my constituency anyway.

So, consider your vote wisely on Thursday - don't listen to the propaganda out there:

1) Look up your result on the BBC Election Website. Did the winning candidate get more than 50% of the vote? If so, voting "yes" will achieve nothing except forcing an already cash-starved Government to spend more money, diverting it away from public services.

2) If a candidate didn't achieve 50% of the vote, do you think AV will make a difference to you? It didn't in our example above. If not, save us all time and money and vote "No".

3) Make up your mind. Many people went with the trends on Facebook and twitter and voted Lib Dem in 2010 with a genuine belief they might win instead of the distant 3rd they actually achieved. Don't go with what you think is popular, go with what will actually make a difference.

4) Find a constituency where AV would work well? Post a link in the comments below.

Now, where do you want to go for that drink tonight? The Pub? Starbucks? Costa? Or Cafe Nero? Oh, most of you want the pub? Good job they sell coffee!

After posting this article, I've subsequently decided to vote "No" - find our why by clicking here.

  1. 1) Kerri Said: (02/05/2011 19:17:18 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Great post - especially of for a local. There is a huge amount of biased media about and its nice to read a simple post which explains it well - thanks. And mine - pub everytime!

  2. 2) Paul Said: (03/05/2011 10:52:02 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Thanks for tweeting me this post, interesting stuff. It seems to me that you have taken a few quite extreme scenarios and shown how AV would - at worst - make no difference to a FPTP outcome. You repeatedly make the claim that minority candidates can still win but this is when the minority candidates have very close to 50% anyway, a vast improvement on the FPTP situation where 30% of the vote can - and regularly does - win the seat on the first count.

    You ask people to submit an example of where AV would make a positive difference but it would have been nice to see an example given by you. Sadly, the entire post is an argument against AV, with not one positive reason why FPTP is a better system (its only plus seems to be that it is already here). As for the time and money reason, time seems irrelevant (a few optional extra ticks on ballot day) and the money argument has also been grossly exaggerated by the notoav campaign (their 'babies not electoral reform' campaign is practically a reason to vote yes in itself).

    If we make the assumption that an electoral system has to be 100% perfect then vote no, since AV isn't 100% perfect. But if you think we should vote for the voting system on offer that is, the majority of the time, fairer then vote yes.

  3. 3) Ben Rose Said: (03/05/2011 11:57:44 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Paul,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I specifically took scenarios for where I lived and then looked for neighbouring constituencies where the result may be different. I didn't use cats, dogs or coffee shops; just real life examples. I couldn't find one where AV would help, which is why I posted the request? I notice you didn't share one either. Could you give me a link to a constituency where AV is going to make a significant difference?

    Minority candidates can indeed still win. The only way anybody will win under AV is to eliminate the votes from the bottom placed candidates. As you do so, other candidates will be pushed towards that 50% but not necessarily over it. As many votes will be discarded along the way, I expect it's actually going to be quite common for us to run out out voting rounds before anybody has exceeded 50%.

    Ultimately, in FPTP, everybody gets to choose who they would like to win. The person with the most votes wins. Everybody gets a choice and I'm failing to see how that is fair. Just because you didn't choose the most popular option, should you be allowed another vote like you get under AV? I'm really not sure of that.

    I'd love a fairer voting system, but I don't see this necessarily as being that. If somebody can still win with 49% of the vote or even less, then it fails to achieve the main objective and more than half of voters will remain with the so called "wasted vote".

    Please somebody, anybody, link me to a constituency result on the BBC site where AV would make a difference. I'd love to live in a society where my minority vote counted, I've never voted for the Conservatives that win in my area - I even ran as a candidate myself once without success. My main issue is that AV will cost us £250million and I can't see it actually helping at all. I'm all for spending the money on a system like PR that will actually make a difference but I simply can't see AV doing it at all.

    Don't just tell me about these people allegedly winning with such a small proportion of the vote...link me, show me where they are.

    AV will cost money to implement and money to continue running. Dozens of Council workers on overtime in each constituency to count voting papers cost an absolute fortune, we need to ensure we're doing it all for the right reason.

  4. 4) Paul Said: (03/05/2011 12:34:14 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Hi Ben,

    I dont have time to look through various election results near me, and I am not sure I would find what you are asking for if I did, but I will tell you where AV would make a difference - to me, at every election. At the moment, like you, I live in a borough where the same party (Labour in my case) has won every election for god knows how long and every time I vote it makes no difference. Now, I am naturally a Labour supporter so its not a problem is it? Well, yes. There have been times, especially recently, where I have wanted Labour to know that they are a bloody shower but what are my options, not vote? vote lib dem? The former is a waste, the latter is a pointless protest vote. But with AV, and tell me if I have this wrong, I would be able to use preferences and tick (for example) 1. Greens, 2. Labour. Now I am registering suport first off for a cause I feel strongly about (environment issues) and also still voting - once the Greens are inevitably knocked out - for the party I actually want to win. Labour get my vote but under AV I suspect they will see that their first round share of the vote is greatly reduced from the level they poll in FPTP as others vote like me and express their truer political feelings. If this makes Labour (or anyone else) sit up and think 'ey up, these Greens seem popular, maybe we should steal some of their policies' then so much the better. And if the same runs true for the BNP then that is the price of democracy. The BNP are in the No camp incidentally so they clearly dont see AV as a bonus for them.

    Second, and shortly as I need to get back to work!, the cost thing. The £250M figure is pure unadulterated BS. It was made up by the No campaign headed by Dan Hodges, and consists of £90M for the referendum (being spent already, regardless of outcome), £130 for counting machines (no-one, most specifically the election authorities in this country, has said we will be getting these) and £30M voter education (I assume they all had a great laugh at the No campaign when some bright spark came up with that figure).

    If we vote No this time there will not be another chance for electoral reform. The Conservatives and Labour will decree that the country doesnt want change and we will be stuck with FPTP for another 100 years. Depressing.

    Enjoying the debate btw Ben, thanks.

    Paul

  5. 5) Ben Rose Said: (03/05/2011 13:34:37 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Hi Paul, I love a good debate.

    It takes about 10 secs to type your location into the BBC search, is that so hard? A number of people have and nobody has yet found me a constituency where it will work.

    If you like eco, you're on the right website...take a look around. So you want to put Green as your first choice to somehow try and send a message to Labour that you aren't so happy? This isn't really the point of AV, I'm sure you know that. Do what I did when Gordon Brown became leader, cancel your membership and be sure to tell them why you did so. That's is how you send a message, not by spending millions of pounds on an alternative voting system and then voting for somebody who you hope won't beat them as first choice!

    I'm rather more environmentally aware that most but I choose not to vote Green as their policies aren't really that good and, aside from the environment, they don't really seem to have a clue. I even asked for their opinion on eco matters and got no response. So, will AV change that? No. They still couldn't run the country effectively and still don't deserve my vote. I wouldn't even like to rank them on my voting paper.

    As for the BNP. This stuff is going around a lot from the "yes" camp as they know that many people truly dislike the BNP and it will swing some opinion their way. In reality, in the 2010 election, the BNP didn't win a single seat in the House of Commons. They have no MPs, none at all. This is a null argument, but let's assume it was.

    Well, there are some people out there who DO believe in the BNP. They believe in their apparent racist beliefs and they do vote for them. Are you saying that you are voting for AV so these people's votes don't count? Isn't the whole purpose of AV to INCLUDE, not exclude these minority parties.

    Incidentally, wouldn't AV potentially allow a considerable amount more of the extreme right wingers to vote for the BNP at no risk of losing a Tory seat to the opposition? Vote 1 - BNP Vote 2 - Tory. Doesn't look so nice now, does it? What if all the racists out there decided to put BNP as vote 1?

    Why do the Greens see AV as a "yes" and the BNP see it as a "no"? Doesn't make much sense does it, seeing as they are both minority parties.

    The cost thing, whatever the number, is significant and AV will cost more for every election as it simply takes longer to count all of the votes which requires more staff time and more wages for all involved. For a Government that keeps reminded us how much debt we have, I think perhaps that bill is too large at this time. We've taken cuts to public services to allow us to pay off more debt, why borrow more to pay for a voting system that may not work?

    My concern is that if the "yes" vote wins, and AV is implemented, it really might not work. And if it doesn't work, the naysayers will explain that it was all a waste of time and money and put people off the idea of another referendum in future which could have implemented PR. If AV works, nobody will want PR. If AV doesn't work, they will used the failure as an excuse not to have another referendum. Ultimately, if you want PR...vote for PR, not something else!

  6. 6) Paul Said: (03/05/2011 14:13:55 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Hi Ben,

    It doesn’t take long to type a postcode in, and I have done for my borough, but I am not sure what you want me to do next, tell you what people’s second or even third preferences are? I can take a guess, same as anyone else, but I don’t know. I would be surprised if AV changed the result in my borough but then just because AV often returns the same people as FPTP doesn’t change the fact that one system is inherently fairer than another. And in the boroughs where AV would return someone different to who FPTP would return it will be because the views of voters in that constituency have been better represented. Clegg cites Roy Jenkins in an interview today as saying ‘if you look at the last century, the left wing parties did not get a look in because they were splitting the difference.’ The Conservatives say Yes to AV because it has kept sending them to parliament over and over again on roughly 30% of the vote, this is why they are bankrolling the No campaign.

    As for the BNP, you missed my point. I said that if the BNP get more votes then that is the price of democracy, I am definitely not voting for AV as a way of blocking anyones votes. I think if AV came in then you would probably see quite a lot of 1. BNP, 2. Conservative and if that is what it shows then so be it, at least it would kick-start an honest debate. I don’t think the BNP would get any seats under AV or FPTP and both campaigns have tried to smear the other with this sort of argument. Both campaigns have been useless in my opinion, the No campaign especially but Yes haven’t covered themselves in glory. As for why are the Greens Pro-AV and the BNP anti-AV I am not sure I get your point but my guess would be that the Greens are – however misguided – a party that believes in a better future and the BNP wish we lived back in the 1930s.

    I really don’t think the cost thing holds water. If one system is fairer than another then as a nation we should swallow some extra cost. The £130m figure is made up by the No campaign but your more realistic suggestion of extra man-hours is affordable, especially given that the majority of people counting at stations on election night are volunteers. The extra cash we are talking about is a drop in the ocean compared to overall budgets involved and if it makes us a stronger democracy it’s perfectly reasonable.

    Finally, the point about a vote for AV scuppering PR is the mirror opposite of my view that a vote against AV scuppers PR and the truth is probably that both arguments are right. The Lib Dems got a referendum on AV as part of their conditions for propping up the Tories, presumably cos there was no way the Tories were going to give them a referendum on PR (Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, whatever the voting system). I personally think saying Yes to AV sends a signal that the country wants a fairer voting system and as such makes PR more likely, but the vested interested (Conservative and Labour) will fight tooth and nail against reform whatever the outcome.

  7. 7) Ben Rose Said: (03/05/2011 14:43:03 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    I just wanted you to take a look and see if AV would likely make a difference in your area. You say no as has everybody else I have asked so far. I'm simply looking for a constituency where it would. The whole "yes" campaign is based upon all these MPs who have allegedly been elected unfairly. I'm looking for just one.

    I don't see one system necessarily being fairer than the other. What could be fairer than everybody deciding who they want to win the most and then seeing who gets the most votes? That's how it's done. If that person doesn't win, why should you get another choice and another choice until, ultimately, you likely lose anyway? This is a Government election, not the X-Factor. One person, one vote. Simple.

    Clegg cites Roy Jenkins? As in Lord Jenkins? As in the SDP Guy? The one who said that actually AV was utterly pointless and a waste of money? I bet Clegg didn't mention that bit from Roy's report into electoral reform, did he?

    The Conservatives don't say Yes to AV, they say no. I assume that is a typo. I see no problem with them giving funding to what they believe in, just as I did when I was a member of the Labour Party under Blair. Please show me a constituency where somebody has won on 30% of the vote? I still don't see one. We don't run elections based on the total national vote, we have seats. The alternative would be PR, which we don't have, I would like and isn't the same as AV.

    I agree that if one system is fairer than the other, we should swallow the cost. I just don't see that it is right now and we should perhaps postpone the plan until we have a better one and/or money to burn. AV is a poor compromise compared to what Lib Dem voters expected and I think we should just have has a vote based on "Do you want another voting system?" before choosing which one was best fit.

    I'm just in fear that if AV fails, it was a waste of money. If it succeeds, it will still be far from PR...which is what I actually want.

  8. 8) Paul Said: (03/05/2011 15:11:04 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Ok Ben, I'll bite... :)

    Just quickly, I went to BBC, looked at constituency list on election results page, second one down is Aberconwy. The Cons gained this seat with 35% of the vote. Lab/Lib Dem votes accounted for 45% of the vote. It seems realistic to me that AV MAY return a different result than FPTP in this case. FPTP gave us the choice of 1 in 3 votes. AV could - not saying WOULD - have returned an MP who was preferred choice of 1 in 2. Seems fairer to me. Obviously we could argue about would Lib Dems and Lab all add the other as second prefs etc, I don't know, if I could predict elections I would be rich, but it's certainly arguable and as it was the second result I picked I dont think it is likely to be the only case.

    Don't really care what else Lord/Roy Jenkins has said about AV, I read that one statement this morning and didnt want to pass it off as my own that's all.

    Glad we both agree that PR is the way forward, I just fail to see how voting No on Friday is going to make the argument to Parliament that the country is actually yearning for more deep-rooted change to the voting system.

    I hope my boss doesnt see this post! Must. Do. Some. Work.

  9. 9) Ben Rose Said: (03/05/2011 16:52:23 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Aberconwy? Nice find. We do allow links here { Link }

    So the Conservatives won having got around 30% more votes than anybody else. This, in my eyes, is a fairly clear cut victory but I can see that they did indeed have only 35.8% of the overall vote...so 64.2% didn't vote for them.

    Lib Dems/Labour combined polled 43.8%, just 8% more and still polled less than 50% even if every single Lib Dem voter chose the Labour as 2nd. Which they wouldn't as this is Wales and Plaid Cymru are in play who almost polled as many as Lib Dems on their own. It's even possible that the Lib Dems would be eliminated before them, depending on alternative votes.

    Clearly, at that point, the Lib Dems had a lot of right wing members - we know that as they formed a coalition with the Conservatives. We can also see that some of the vote appears to have even shifted directly from Labour to the Conservatives...which makes no sense to me given their clearly different politics - perhaps some Labour voters stayed home and Tory votes turned out, nobody really knows.

    I summarise that AV would definitely have been very interesting in this election and, given that Plaid Cymru apparently lean to the left, they should have given a lot of there votes to Labour if/when they were eliminated. But they might just as easily have given it to the Lib Dems. It's hard, given the 2.6% from "others" to call exactly who would be eliminated in 4th place. If the Lib Dems were eliminated, and many of those votes went to Plaid Cymru, this could even give an overall win to Plaid Cymru when Labour would be eliminated in 3rd.

    AV could seriously change the vote and allow 4th place to win. Hold on, is that right? 17.8% of people gave them the vote in the last election but they could win the next one? Is this wrong or simply highlighting how bad the current voting system is? For many voters, it will actually only be their 3rd choice candidate who wins, is this a victory, abeit pretty shallow?

    It's a great example and I really don't know. I see a fair win for the Tories under FPTP with 30% more votes than the 2nd place. But I also see the 64.2% who didn't vote for them, so can see the other side.

    But, in reality, 82.2% didn't vote for Plaid Cymru who might win under AV. 80.7% didn't vote for Lib Dems who might win under AV and 75.5% didn't vote for Labour who might win under AV. So, is it not the case that AV might actually elect a party that was voted for LESS people than the previous Tory winner under FPTP?

    I'm still undecided.

  10. 10) Schrodinger's Kitten Said: (03/05/2011 20:10:31 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Worcester: (ma home town)

    { Link }

    Conservative

    39.5

    Labour

    33.4

    Liberal Democrat

    19.4

    All to play for.

    I live in Tottenham, a major labour stronghold (60%) but I am not sure how many of those 60% made that choice freely or tactically, which is a pretty relevant questions.

  11. 11) Ben Rose Said: (03/05/2011 20:51:16 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Schrodinger - a good example, thanks but, as only the top 2 candidates have a chance of winning, it's not exactly going to make a dramatic difference. The winner changed between those two parties between 2005 and 2010 anyway, without any need for AV.

  12. 12) Callum Morton Said: (03/05/2011 22:31:17 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    You base your money argument on #NotoAV lies. They claim that changing to AV will mean we have to fork out £250m on counting machines. We won't. It won't make any difference money-wise bar a bit more spent on ink. I'm supporting #YestoAV as i'm thinking of the bigger picture - a move towards a better electoral system. My area has been Tory for decades and, if AV puts my #NotoAV MP under a bit of pressure then i'm happy with that! I want a voice, to be listened to and to give my number 2 to the green party. You fail to take into account the fact that many people, particularly in my constituency, vote Tory or Lib Dem as anything else would be a 'wasted vote'. Under AV people can choose who they want to #1, while still using their #2 to influence the result. It may not make a difference to a constituency immediately, but over time it may well do. A PPC who norm comes a distant 2nd due to unrepresentive FPTP may come closer under AV - making them a serious contender in the next election. I love your view on this referendum, but dont base your arguments on a cruddy #NotoAV leaflet full of lies about money and their ignorance when it comes to a dramatic change in tactical voting. It's not all about stats and figures, it's about the public appeciating their votes more and expecting more from their 'representative' expenses abusers.

  13. 13) Paul Said: (04/05/2011 11:09:47 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Morning Ben,

    Just a quickie, but do you think you may be being too dismissive of the Worcester example? You say only two parties have a chance of winning, I would say this is a direct consequence of our FPTP system. Check out Duverger's law ({ Link } I am not claiming it is a fact, it's a principle, but it seems sounds to me. One of the reasons Duverger gives (gave?) for FPTP leading to 2 party systems is that under FPTP votes gradually stop voting for the smaller parties as they have no chance of winning. It seems to me that this is very likely happening in Worcester.

    AV would totally change the voting system there as suddenly all the voters who are voting Tory/Labour cos no-one else can win will have extra choices, and the 20% loyal Lib Dem voters who have been ignored for god knows how many years will suddenly be able to say 1. Lib Dem, 2. Tory/Labour and their votes will now mean something. The more I write this the clearer it seems to me that AV is just plain fairer.

    YesToAV!

  14. 14) Ben Rose Said: (04/05/2011 11:16:14 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Under AV, even in Worcester, still only one of them can win and only one set of voters will get the party they truly want to be in charge. We're not talking the same beer in a different pub, we're talking completely different.

    Only under PR will these voters have a true representation and AV is not PR, which is why I will be voting No.

    My full reasons explain in the link { Link }

  15. 15) Paul Said: (04/05/2011 12:58:43 GMT) Gravatar Image
    AV - The Truth About Cats & Dogs

    Ok Ben, I read the new post, don't agree with much of it but respect your point of view. All I would say is on Friday you cannot vote for PR, which is a shame but there it is. You can however vote yes or no to AV. Neither of these options is a Yes for PR vote, and I am sure you don't think that David Cameron will be announcing a NoToAV result with the words 'the nation has spoken, they want far greater electoral reform than we offered them'.

    I think anyone voting No on Friday who wants PR will be lining up with Tory supporters who are voting to perserve the system that has served them so well for the last 100 years, and a No vote will be seized upon by the same tired old politicians as evidence that the country doesnt see the need for change. A NoToAV vote is a NeverToPR vote.

    Adios, been fun debating with you all. Let's hope there is a good turnout at least whatever the result.

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