19 Apr 2011

What the AV debate tells us about the condition of UK politics

How dim is the condition of British politics right now? From my perspective ‘trust’ in politicians remains low. Interest in British politics seems not a lot higher. For the first time in history, the social network gives us a pretty accurate read-out of viewers’ responses to political interviews and debates. From my Twitter account I can read the frustration of many with the average political interview. They hate politicians who, when asked one question, answer another. They hate the personal attacks that substitute for policy discussions. ‘Why can’t politicians answer straight questions with straight answers?’, ‘Too many have been media trained to avoid an honest encounter with anyone’. These are a few random responses from both blogging and social networking.

So a profound question of the British people is being asked on the backs of local and regional elections. Let’s exclude Scotland and Wales, where devolved elections take place on 5 May. Here, at least there is a motivation that will lead to a reasonable turn out within which it will be natural to ask the referendum question. One of the less discussed aspects of reform in the UK has been the undoubted success of devolution in Scotland and Wales.

Let’s instead concentrate on the most wounded sector of British governance – English local authorities. It is not unusual for turnout in these election to register at lower than 30 per cent. It is pretty rare to top a 50 per cent turn out. Think of it, fewer than half the people you live amongst bother to engage in elections that supposedly deal with all your local issues. Except, they don’t. Successive governments of both Labour and Conservative stripes have systematically invaded and starved local authorities – reducing powers, budgets, and responsibilities. They are permitted to raise no more than 20 per cent of their revenue. The remaining 80 per cent allows Central Government to manipulate them at the stroke of a Ministerial pen. No wonder only a minority of Council Tax payers ever vote.

Into this politically bankrupt void, Central Government cynically tips a vote on voting reform for the country’s Central Government. London doesn’t even have local elections on 5 May. So you have a complex issue battling for air against the simplicity of local need. No wonder few have a clue about what it’s all about.

But last night I witnessed a breath of fresh air – a hint of how things could be. I chaired two Labour stalwarts, two former Home Secretaries in John Reid and Alan Johnson. They debated electoral reform – they were polite to each other, charming even, informed about what they believed in, passionate about espousing it. I reckoned Reid’s best ‘No’ point was the fact that the only country of any size to embrace AV was Australia. I reckoned Alan Johnson’s best ‘Yes’ point was his assertion that no emerging democracy – from South Africa to Eastern Europe has embraced ‘first past the post’. The encounter was devoid of insult. Maybe it was that they knew and trusted each other – but it was political fresh air. I haven’t enjoyed a studio one debate involving two British politicians so much in years.

Somehow, methinks, we need much more than mere voting reform to put the country’s politics and governance to rights. In any case, if we are to be asked, we should be offered a more intelligent choice than the two systems on offer.

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

149 reader comments

  1. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    JR and AJ have both been health ministers and realise what a hornets nest this has been. We are trying as an organisation to fight still more destabilising reforms and using all the collaborative skills we have..so are these gents.

    An alternative vote sounds fun, the candidates won’t have to spend as much money and fight so vigorously to get in power as the losers could take all. With only 30-50% of total population turning out for elections the losers probably take all anyway.

    Yes we are sick of unanswered questions in the media, but I bet that comment springs from your interview techniques and the answers the interviewee fails to give. Have you ever thought of a lateral style of interview where you get the answer to a question by asking a completely different one , however still related?.. of course you have.
    We have to change the basic political nature of people to get a satisfactory voting system ..is that possible?

  2. Saltaire Sam says:

    If politicians would spend a bit more time putting a positive case for what they advocate, rather than a negative case against their opponents, we might get a more interesting debate and more of the public joining in. The playground standard of debate is very off putting.

    All I’ve heard from the No campaign is what is wrong with AV. No one that I’ve heard has said why (s)he thinks it is right to return an MP when more of the constituents have voted against the candidate rather than for.

    No one has argued why it is not right for the leaders of parties to be voted for by FPTP but it is for MPs.

    If the defence of your policy is only to rubbish the alternative, doesn’t that suggest your policy is not very strong?

    And it is not just on AV. If someone criticises a Cameron policy, his fallback position is to say labour were worse, forgetting that most of us out in the real world are not hoping that our politicians will simply be the best of a bad lot.

    1. Peter Stewert says:

      Some positivity could really help Sam; imagine a deabte where both sides aiming to win the argument rather than consipiring to make their opponent look worse them.

    2. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      Peter this is the alternative concept of argument . Dialectic doesn’t necessarily mean there is a winner but rather a well reasoned point of view is put forward. If more people agree with one particular way of approaching a problem then democratically the solution is taken forward. The reasoning may be wrong and problems occur and one can then say that the argument has been swayed by either persuasion or another ulterior motive, however winning an argument involves far more than a vote. It encompasses satisfactory solutions , truth, pragmatism and factual representaions of truth. Only then is an argument won.

    3. ScottishStu says:

      AV or not AV that is the question.
      It is a ridicules question to be asked of the British public as AV is a poor example of electoral reform. As a Scotsman living in the Highlands who is an avid watcher of Questiontime, last week Alex Salmond cut to the chase rubbishing both argument and stated that as here in Scotland, PR is the way forward where every vote counts. Neither AV nor First Past the Post is representative of the wishes of the U.K. population.
      The SNP in Scotland is a marginal government but who is it that has free tuition fees for students, free prescriptions and we also have a higher spend per head of population in the NHS than England.
      Do not get me wrong I have lived in England in the past for many years, I am not a Scottish Nationalist as I love a lot of what happens in England it’s just that Westminster sucks and there is way too much party Politics. The interest of politicians should be that of the constituents that they represent and that has clearly been lost in the shuffle.
      Scotland is not out for itself, we just seem to have clearer representation of what ordinary people want.
      Say no to AV, First Past the Post and demand better political representation with PR

    4. ScottishStu says:

      Yes or No to AV it is a miserable debate as both sides of the argument hold no water. PR is the only way to go to hold each and every politician to account. It will finally put an end to Party Politics and will make each political party accountable to the public with regards to their fictitious manifestoes.
      I agree that it may lead to greater bureaucracy but it will make each politician in my mind more considerate and accountable.
      The best thing to do in my mind is not to vote, have an appalling turn out to make politicians consider in depth what an shamefull excuse for a democratic system we have here in the U.K.
      We all agree that Politicians are crooked, did we ever expect real reform after all labour did very little with regards to reforming the house of Lords which has all been undone by Cameron appointing even more Tory lords, its criminal the first chance he got.

  3. Philip says:

    You are absolutely right, Jon. I am utterly sickened by the failure of British politicians to be honest, open & truthful. Their fear of the people they are supposed to represent is only matched by their contempt. Unfortunately, too many of us put up with it. We may hate it, but how many people do anything about it? Not voting may be the result, but all it does it devalue the credibility of politicians elected on small turnouts. It doesn’t actually change anything. And the AV campaign has been as bad as any I can remember. As “fact Check” has shown, the claim by the No campaign about the cost of AV is baseless, yet they are happily using it on billboards & leaflets. The fact that they have stooped to such barefaced lies has angered me so much I shall definitely get out & vote Yes to AV. Unfortunately, the solution to the mindset of our politicians isn’t so simple. It actually requires a lot of people like me to be more active – and are we prepared to do that?

  4. Gerry says:

    I simply refuse to vote for either (any) of the major political parties, primarily because I strongly disapprove of their political games. For years (I’m now 57), I refused to vote at all. Now, I search out one of the small/protest parties that stands for something I believe in. But principally, my vote is AGAINST the behaviour of main-party politicians. If everyone in the electorate did the same, we could change their behaviour. If the majority of voters continue voting for (one or other of) them, then why should they ever change? We DO have the power! I vote NO to “refusing to answer questions”. I vote NO to those who substitute personal attacks for policy discussions. Come on everyone!!! – you can do it too.

  5. Maureen Jeffs says:

    I’m usually more wordy than this, but all I can say to what Jon Snow says on this matter is hear, hear – and when, oh when, are the British public going to stand up and demand an improved, fairer political system.

  6. Peter Stewert says:

    Not to return to my occasional drum, but I blame the journalists and new organisation in particular for much of this mess, though it was political bullying of the news agenda that went hand in hand with the near disapperance of quality debate.

    If one party is prepared to sling mud there is no reposnse beyond walking away that won’t make a mess of everything and everyone. When a debate decends it is for the moderator/host to slap-down zero-sum tatics.

    If civilian interview subjects and expert voices put in the same performances as MPs and ministers they’d not be back.Howeever, weekly and daily we allow the same guff merchants to comeback on and say nothing you want to hear, if they say anythign at all.

  7. adrian clarke says:

    Of course we are fed up with politicians.Why? They say one thing and do another.They promise something and when in power and able, do the opposoite.From Blair to Brown and Cameron.None are straight with us.We should have had a vote on Europe ,on the constitution and even on staying in or out.They take us not only into wars , but knowingly into illegal ones.It is time politicians took note of the electrates views rather than their own political idealism. How can they achieve that.Easy , in days of mass media they can just ask and vote accordingly..
    As to changing the voting system .Why bother changing a system that works?Just ask yourself that question.Is it going to be easier?No!! Is it going to be fairer?Well if the person coming second third or fourth can be elected the answer has to be no.
    In that case why is it wanted?One reason , those that are unelectable think they stand more chance of getting seats.It wants booting into the long grass for ever.

    1. Moonbeach says:

      Well said, Adrian. I’ve expanded on this below.

    2. bdbcks says:

      adrian can i ask why why would you not want the ability to represent yourself aka vote on most bills going thru the house of commons rather than having to make do with one vote every five years where by you hand your representation to someone else to do it for you? -or at the very least such ability for future generations of your family and all those to come.

  8. Meg Howarth says:

    Here’s a good enough reason for voting Yes2AV, via Twitter: (Tory MP) Michael Howard: ‘I’m against any voting system that gives my party less power’ – as AV probably would – plus Labour’s John Reid backing the ‘no’ campaign. No flippancy intended. And here’s what Bad Science columnist GP Ben Goldacre had to say on matter: ‘I’m voting Yes2AV because our current system is b….s… and AV will be an interesting new set of problems: http://bit.ly/gkghgd‘.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Meg so you believe one person one vote is not the correct way forward and that some should have 2 votes.Does it matter that first past the post might give more power to a party?Perhaps things would get done rather than the mishmash we have now .With AV there would probably be a permanent coalition .If you think that makes for good government ,God help us.

  9. Barbara Robertson says:

    If in an election one candidate has a majority, albeit not 50% or more. Then that majority has voted for the policies of one party.

    Accordingly the policies of that party should represent that constituency.

    Otherwise the opinions of a minority will predominate.As would happen with AV.

    1. sue_m says:

      But isn’t that a rather simplistic argument? Does anyone casting a vote really choose all the policies of one party and none of the policies of other parties?
      Anyway, I fail to see how less than half of votes can be called a majority. If a candidate is returned with 30% of votes then the majority of voters (70%) clearly have voted against his/her policies.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      sue-m where you are of course correct.It also means the loser who could become the winner through second preference votes has even less votes.Can you honestly say that the person coming 4th with 16% of the vote should be elected?That is exactly what happened in Australia in one seat.
      How many people would vote for the BNP in second preference votes?
      It also means no councillor aught to be elected , when only 30 % or less of the electrate votes.

    3. sue_m says:

      Your point about the 4th placed person being elected with 16% is invalid (even assuming it is true rather than just another of the No camps scare tactics). If you correctly read my post it was about how people do not make black and white choices totally for or totally against a candidate. The 16% you refer to can only be 16% of first preferences and clearly there must have been no candidate who achieved a majority (ie 50% +) of first preferences. What AV returned in this case was a candidate that more that 50% of voters had SOME preference for over the others. Depending on quantity of candidates it is possible that FPTP could return a candidate with such a low percentage but without knowing whether any of their policies are acceptable to the other 84% of voters. There is no perfect solution bar full PR but FPTP is absolutely the worst case scenario and AV does ensure whoever is elected is at least acceptable to the actual majority of voters.

    4. gina says:

      sue_m i do not understand how you work out that AV is acceptable.take a simple scenario.A gets 40% B 35% C20%D5% D is eliminated.
      D’s second preference votes give A 42% B 37%and C21% so C is eliminated and the second preference counted giving A 49% B 51%
      Firstly do you consider that democratic and if so why should 25% have two votes and 75% have only one. Does that really mean the majority prefer candidate b?
      If you can describe the logic behind that and the democracy i might be convinced,but it appears to me to be opportunistic of those no one really wants

    5. Saltaire Sam says:

      Gina, the point you are missing is that ALL the votes get counted a second and third time. It is like running a series of elections in which the last placed person is eliminated without having to keep going to the polls.

      If you were right that some people get to vote twice but others don’t, then the last person would always win on the recount!

      The basic argument comes down to do you believe it is right that an MP should be elected if less than half the voters have expressed a preference for him/her? If that doesn’t bother you then FPTP is fine but if it seems somehow undemocratic, then there has to be an alternative system.

      That usually means eliminating the least favourite and taking another vote and so on until a winner is found. That can be done by a series of elections or AV. The former is possibly fairer because people of leading candidates might want to change their vote when they see how things are working out, but as we can’t persuade many British people to vote once, getting them to turn out three or four times seems unlikely.

      So AV would appear to be the best alternative.

    6. gina says:

      Saltaire that is not my understanding of AV .Only the losers votes count in a recount of second preference.I do not see where only the last person wins on a recount.It could happen that the losers votes on second preference go to the winner, but i feel that people voting first for an outsider , their second preference will be the same.
      AV only seems to be fair to losers.I feel it is the dangerous option to electing extremists.

    7. sue_m says:

      Sam – thanks for explaining the vote counts better than I have managed.
      Gina – yes I do think it is much more democratic for 51% of voters to have a representative who is acceptable to them. Please explain how FPTP is more democratic when 60 or 70% of voters frequently have a representative who is unacceptable to them. Also, I understand some of our political parties – including the Conservatives who oppose AV – actually elect their own leaders via rounds of voting and eliminating the candidate(s) with the smallest share of the vote in order to have a leader acceptable to the largest number of party members. Why is it right for them but not for the rest of the country?

    8. Saltaire Sam says:

      Let’s take an example with say four candidates con, lab, lib-d and ukip

      Let’s say our sample voter votes their preferences 1 ukip, 2, con, 3 lib dem 4 lab but lab lead after poll without 50% and lib dem come last.

      The lib dem votes are redistributed according to second references, while our sample voter is again added to the ukip vote but sadly when the votes are added again, labour still have slight lead, cons second ukip third.

      Our sample voter’s vote would then be redistributed to the conservative candidate and hallelujah, it and others like it are enough to put the con past 50% and David Cameron has another colleague in the House of Commons even though labour had led the first two counts.

      As someone else pointed out, it’s like an athlete taking part in a heptathalon rather than an ordinary race – you don’t have to win every event to win the contest.

      And it guarantees that EVERY MP will have been the preference of at least 50% of voters

    9. gina says:

      Saltaire,i have read your blogs and do not believe you are as naive to believe you can compare AV to an athlete.
      In AV a loser can win not because he wins an event but because someone is last and that last persons votes are redistributed.
      It is not a fair redistribution , because although everyone conceivably makes a second preference,only the eliminated(last) candidates votes are redistributed.
      That is about as democratic as living in a dictatorship where the loser claims the crown.

    10. sue_m says:

      Crikey Gina, you do have some sense of irony! Why can’t Sam use the heptathlon with rounds of events to describe AV. Your colleagues in the No campaign use a horse race and running race to describe it, even though an election bears no resemblance to a straight race scenario. You couldnt make it up, ha ha.

    11. Tom Wright says:

      Saltaire: spot on, reminds me rather a lot of how we got Ed Milliband over his brother . . who had already won several votes.

      AV is a rubbish system – and as reforms go, a sticking plaster on the severed artery.

    12. emu says:

      I have just read this little selection in response to Barbara Robertson who is correct.In between there is a lot of incorrect statements by the AV camp.
      Sue-m’s claim that if a candidate is elected on 30% of the vote (not impossible though unlikely) then 70% voted against them ,though theoretically correct is not as she admits when she says most people do not support all the policies of one particular candidate.So by her own argument getting 50% with the use of the votes of the losers does not mean that candidate as the support of a majority.It would only be the case if all the second preference votes were counted,which under AV will not happen.You are also wrong on the way the conservatives elect their leader.Once a candidate is eliminated, there is a new vote.All get a second vote , then a third until there is a winner.If AV proposed that scenario then it might be acceptable, but what an expensive and long winded way to elect a candidate for the country.Again the horse race scenario is spot on,where the winner can become the loser.In the Heptathlon it is a points based system on several events where each candidate is judged each time and no elimination.

    13. sue_m says:

      emu, I think i have said in other posts the candidate who wins under AV is broadly supported by the majority. Under FPTP when someone is elected with a minority, as often happens, we have no idea whether any others support them. They may do, in which case if enough do they will still win under AV. Personally, I think its better to be sure.
      As for the party leadership rounds – are you saying that everyone who supported say David Cameron the first round, then decided to support someone else in the second even though Cameron was still in the running? How odd. I imagine most, if not all, people keep choosing the person they actually want to lead unless that person has been eliminated for coming last. So the only votes that change are from those who voted for the loser who got eliminated. Therefore to make it a practical voting system on a national level it makes perfect sense to rank votes all in one poll.
      Elections aren’t a horse race they are a popularity contest.

    14. emu says:

      Sue-m your understanding of elections and democracy is dismal.
      In the tory leadership race in each round every voter has a single vote for any candidate except for the eliminated one.If you follow such elections several exercise their right to change their first vote.There is no such choice in AV.
      Also your surmise that you can tell if any others support the winner using AV is patently wrong.You are only seeing if the losers supported him/her.That is clearly undemocratic as i have said many times and i have yet to see you explain , why should the losers have 2 votes “counted” and no one else does.
      If anyone in the AV camp can give a good reason for being so undemocratic i might change my views.
      This proposed change is the most important suggestion in British voting history since womens’s suffrage, and it is badly flawed.

  10. Ray Turner says:

    Well there’s a bit of activity where I live & work at the moment, with a lively discussion about the referendum underway, stirred-up by yours truly.

    It is documented on my blog and also on the HedgeEndPeople website. Just follow the link on my blog to get to HedgeEndPeople…


  11. bdbcks says:

    in this rapidly emerging internet age voting reform aka “av” is frankly pathetic and redolent of dinosaurs seeing a comet spiral closer and closer to the earth and carrying on as if their extinction ain’t imminent.

    heed my words… within a hundred years time everyone on this planet will have shelter, sustenance, medical care and education for the entirety of their natural life and everyone will be representing themselves via the internet.

    from politics to bolitics :wink:

  12. Mudplugger says:

    It is fascinating now to have a cross-party topic, like electoral reform, where we finally get to see some politicians debating the relative merits and demerits of a proposal, rather than just acting as each party’s accolytes regurgitating their own party’s ‘message’.

    The real shame is that we do not get this quality of debate on all subjects – only a handful of current MPs are prepared to take an independent stance, often at variants to their parties’ position, and these heroes are most often condemned to near oblivion on the back benches and ridiculed.

    I can’t see that any deckchair-shuffling change in the voting system like AV will ever change this, the party system which hands out lucrative ministerial jobs will see to that.

    If there was the slightest hope of AV bringing a significant number of genuine independents into Parliament, it would be worth the risk but, as that would become even less likely, then it has to be “NO” this time.

  13. Jim Flavin says:

    Does it really matter which voting system a country has ?/. The record says otherwise . It may provide intereting daebates – waht the politicians are good at . But the sad truth is voting / the ballot box has done little if anything . Is it coincidence – that no matter what system is used , the result is the same , ie Ruled by the Rich via their messnger boys and girls . Where is it differnce – in what country ??. I voted in last election here [ in ROI]- never again . The winners can be foretold before election ie whoever spends the most on Propaganda [ Public relations ] – and the Rich decide that . The ballot box is just another capitaist farce played on a gullible Public .

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Jim i trust you are eligible to stand and present your views?

    2. Tom Wright says:

      Really Jim, the extraordinary social achievements of the post war Labour party didn’t happen? All that massive post-war social mobility that New Labour got so busy deconstructing?

  14. Moonbeach says:

    I use the phrase ‘Westminster Paradox’to describe the condition of British politics.

    In recent years, nearly all of our politicians, regardless of Party, have supported sending our Armed Forces to risk their lives for some idealised form of democracy in other countries. Yet they ignore democracy in the UK!

    They do not ask themselves the following question:

    Is the life of a regime opponent of more value than that of a poor soldier who happens to have wanted to support his wife and family by joining their Armed Forces?

    Right now, the Coalition clowns, Cameron and Hague, claim to have seen something worth spending our taxes on in the Libyan Civil War but which seems to have escaped the ‘brains’ of the US, Russia, China, Germany and other NATO nations. I do not count tacit support of those who simply hate the lunatic Gadaffi!

    But what are our politicians doing about our majority views about the EU, Capital Punishment and Prison, the Human Rights Act, the Claims and benefits Culture, Health and Safety idiocies, where there is a clear UK view?

    Like Bliar (sic) the Coalition is talking a good game whilst achieving little.

    Will any voting system really change things?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Moonbeach i agree entirely,but i have always advocated true democracy.One person one vote for a representative of the people for the people.
      That representative to seek the majority view of his constituents and vote according to the majority view.No party politics.Our representative not to have a conscience vote,but the majority are his conscience.The matters you then describe would be the will of the majority and not of political ideology

    2. sue_m says:

      Very true that politics is dirty and self-interested rather than interested in serving the citizens that fund it. But that makes it all the more important to ensure the voting public have the balance of power tipped in their favour.
      Change may come by revolution but in the UK we are not given to such displays of passion so we have to bring about change by small steps.
      AV is a small step – it is not the ideal solution but by voting for it we have a little more influence and we send a big message to politicians that the current system which elects a 5 year dictatorship and ensures most seats are safe for life is not acceptable to us.
      If we don’t use this opportunity those involved in our current corrupt way of govt will claim it is vindication of how they act and treat us with even more contempt than they have done up until now. Yes is more than changing the voting system, it tells our ‘rulers’ we don’t find their abuse of the system acceptable.

    3. emu says:

      sue_m i find it strange that you seem to think AV is more democratic than the current system .Under AV i believe we would still elect candidates for 5 years(is that a dictatorship?)
      AV as i understand it lets people who vote for the least preferred candidate to have a second vote.Is that democratic?Why shouldn’t those that voted for the most popular candidate have a second vote? Or do you undemocratically believe that might help your preferred candidate even if he is not the most popular.

    4. sue_m says:

      emu – if you believe one section of voters get two votes and others only one then your understanding of AV is wrong. Perhaps due to the misinformation spread by the No lobby.
      Every single person who votes is capable of putting a preference against every candidate.
      So all get an equal chance to express their views.
      If voters choose not to express a preference for more than one candidate that is their free will, just as if there was a 2nd physical round of voting and they chose not to bother going to the polling station.
      I find it strange that you think it is ok to have an MP elected who has the support of only a minority of people in his/her constituency. That is certainly undemocratic. AV, whilst not perfect, is better and more democratic than FPTP because that MP will be acceptable to more than 50% of voters – ie a Majority.
      Yes, we would still elect for 5 years but as less seats would be safe the winning party in govt would be less able to ignore voters views and push through their ideologies at the expense of the public.

    5. gina says:

      sue-m i do not think emu is wrong.
      As i understand it everybody can express a second preference, but in the event of no person winning 50% of the vote , the losers second preference is then reallocated, not anyone elses. Surely you do not consider that democratic???

  15. Gary says:

    Why don’t they make voting compulsory? If there is just one other person on the ballot that is not affiliated with any of the main parties then use it to send your message! It might make a mess to start with the the message will be sent!

    Cameron got elected with less than 50% majority as the turn out was depressingly small. The coalition are running round like headless chickens. They have no fixed policy except to bankrupt the general public into the next century.

    The opposition Labour party are not much better as they do not even have a coherent set of policies. Milliband is about effective as Micheal Foot, and he didn’t even want the job!

    I get the impression that politicians are only politicins because they cannot get a job doing proper work.

  16. anniexf says:

    Given that almost half of the electorate don’t even bother to vote, wouldn’t the money this AV referendum’s costing be better spent on finding ways to facilitate/encourage/enforce a greater sense of civic responsibility? Democracy is meaningless if half the voters don’t vote. The fact that few of our MPs are worth voting for at all is beside the point; they are at present all we have (& maybe all we deserve?). We should persist with FPTP until full PR can be introduced. AV is a waste of everybody’s time; “the emperor’s new clothes” comes to mind ..

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Annie i feel that everyone should be obliged to vote,until i see in our town centres , mindless thugs barely able to converse let alone think.I would blame the teachers but i feel standards have slipped so badly that some are not capable of teaching except a political dogma.
      Human rights of juveniles protected so they can not be disciplined and teachers incapable of unstilling discipline were they able.Ridiculous political correctness across all our services. Lets just let those capable and wanting to vote,vote and abide by the FPTP as the best system available.

    2. anniexf says:

      Adrian, you are verging on the hysterical there! The point of democracy is that every person’s vote, from the best-educated, most civilised, thoughtful, just, fair, blah blah blah to the most pig-ignorant, feckless, anti-social yob IS OF EQUAL VALUE!!!
      You may well believe that some votes are, or should counted as, more equal than others – but that is to misunderstand the meanings of demos and kratia.
      I wouldn’t have the nerve to pretend that my value to society is the same as, say, Jon Snow’s, but under our democratic system my vote’s value jolly well is! So beware, Adrian, you’re becoming like the pigs (no offence) in Animal Farm if you think your vote matters more than that of a mindless thug. It doesn’t!
      Given that fact, there’s no good reason why voting shouldn’t be mandatory for all.

    3. Jim Flavin says:

      ”Given that almost half of the electorate don’t even bother to vote, wouldn’t the money this AV referendum’s costing be better spent ”- if I might add – spend it on anyting worthwhile – not this ballot box farce . One thing the Americans have got right – many do not bother voting . They know its a farce . Even a presidential campign gets only just over 50%. Mnadatory voting – a waste of time . Where that is so – peopel just spoil tha voting card . The ballot box does NOt equal Democracy ,in most caes it is the opposite of same .

    4. adrian clarke says:

      20 April 2011

      at 6:13 pm
      Adrian, you are verging on the hysterical there! The point of democracy is that every person’s vote, from the best-educated, most civilised, thoughtful, just, fair, blah blah blah to the most pig-ignorant, feckless, anti-social yob IS OF EQUAL VALUE!!!
      Annie,isnt that what i said???Where did i ever suggest one vote is better than another?
      I said if one wants to vote and is capable let them vote.Nothing about anyone being better than anyone else.Why should any of those voting have a second vote?Where is the democracy in that.
      If you had your way and people including those i stated as being uneducated and mindless thugs,that is the perfect remedy to get the BNP into power.Perhaps i underestimated your political allegiance :)

    5. Moonbeach says:

      Annie, in your reply to Adrian, I think that you have hit the nail on the head.

      It is truism that all votes have the same value.

      But it is also true that many voters have no knowledge about the economic, social and international drivers that influence our society. Some can neither read nor write and some can’t even speak English.

      I applaud universal franchise but have doubts about ‘one man one vote’ for some of the reasons above.

      We strive in all other walks of life to reward merit. Why not in the electoral system? Multiple votes could even allow prisoners a single vote; provided that non-criminals have at least two!

      So, rather than tinkering with FPTP, AV, PR and so on, let’s look for a system of rewarding merit so that Adrian’s “mindless thugs” and others have a smaller influence than those who have a social conscience.

    6. sue_m says:

      Adrian, do you seriously believe everyone voting would get the BNP into power any more than it would get the Monster Raving Loony party into power. There may be the odd constituency where the BNP are gaining enough ground to eventually get an MP elected but that’s hardly going to have them running the country! We live in a moderate country and the BNP know AV won’t help them, which is why they are in the No2AV camp. Compulsory voting won’t help them win power either.

    7. adrian clarke says:

      Sue-m i think you underestimate the feeling of many britons that political correctness, ethnicity and diversity are becoming anathema to this nation.Reluctantly i can see in the event of second preference votes many turning to the likes of UKIP and yes regrettably the BNP.I wouldn’t mind UKIP,but the proposed system of AV is so undemocratic i hope it is rejected outright.
      If i vote and my candidate is first or second i would be annoyed if his/her position was changed by those whose second preference was counted , yet mine was ignored.

    8. sue_m says:

      Welcome back Adrian, i was beginning to miss you. You may be right about how people feel about pc’ness, diversity etc but although I see some of that around where I live, I still see most people repulsed by the likes of the BNP. If they ranked them at all it would be more likely 4th or 5th place.
      Would you still be annoyed if your 1st pref candidate came in second and was then changed to first position after the second count?
      And would it annoy you if your 1st pref was last, got eliminated and there was a new vote (due to no overall majority) which only allowed those who voted for one of the remaining candidates to have another say? Wouldn’t you as an equal to those voters want a chance to choose someone acceptable to you from the remaining candidates?

    9. emu says:

      Sue-m your last post says it all , and gives the true reason you want AV despite its undemocratic nature.You ,not me want to be able to change the outcome of a legitimate democratic election where one person has one vote.A system that has sustained this country for years since universal suffrage.
      No i would not wish my candidate to win under AV,My candidate has never won in this constituency in the 30 odd years i have voted here.The last election we came closer than we ever have,but i believe in democracy and i would be disgusted if that result changed because a few 1000 voters had a second vote.
      I think you underestimate the appeal of the BNP.
      “Wouldn’t you as an equal to those voters want a chance to choose someone acceptable to you from the remaining candidates?”
      That says it all sue.I would be annoyed if some had a second vote that changed the result and i did not have that second vote counted,but that is AV for you.
      p.s Adrian thanks you for your kind remarks,but wishes you to know channel 4 has blocked him from posting , but he is here in spirit with you :)

    10. sue_m says:

      emu (adrian) – your posts are all the same, going on about a 2nd vote when in reality it is a 2nd count which is based on the perfectly reasonable view that the vast majority of people would not change their 1st pref to another candidate if the 1st pref was still available. Perhaps they do in the Tory leadership elections but that small clique are not necessarily representative of the general public. It seems it is not AV that is the problem, rather the mindset of those as vehemently against it as you appear to be. You are so fixed in your view that you would rather rubbish AV and those who support the change to it (quote “gives the true reason you want it” -you clearly have no idea why i support it despite my mentioning in other posts) than take a long hard look at FPTP and explain why you believe it works in anything other than a two candidate scenario. The truth is it doesn’t and democracy is not about sticking with the past because it worked once but about ensuring the majority of people have a voice.

    11. emu says:

      sue-m,you seem to feel that because someone votes for a losing candidate ,that person has not had a voice.Of course they have.It may have been a protest vote or even a vote for their favourite person/party.The fact that they do not win is neither illegitimate nor undemocratic.Nor in reality does it mean they do not support the policies of the winner,although that is a possibility.The winner themselves may well have been a protest vote as in Martin Bell, or the doctor whose name escapes me elected on a save a hospital vote.Even down to the Green candidate at the last election.Would you change any of those because they didn’t have 50% of the vote?How illegitimate or undemocratic is that?
      Not only illegitimate and undemocratic in theory but also by the means you would wish to do it .

  17. Saltaire Sam says:

    The sun is shining and all C4 bloggers must be topping up their tans. Tonight’s news could look like the KIlroy-Silk show :-)

  18. Barbara Robertson says:

    I think the state of British politics would suffer even more if that is possible.

    I do not think anyone would be pleased if their second or third choice was the elected candidate simply because their first choice candidate received eg 45% of the vote.

    I think a great many candidates would be completely demoralised as well as large numbers of the electorate.

    1. Gary says:

      Isn’t it the positon of the wannabe MPs and councillors to petition for our vote. If they do not listen to the public, or engage them in what we, the public, are concerned about, why should they be elected into office when the majority of voters, that is actual cast ballots, not agree with them?

      If the turn out for an election is less than say 40% of the population does that not inform the politicians that they are not engaging the people. Do they not see the issues that we, the public, are concerned about? Or better still, do they not care?

      If the vote turnout is less than two-thirds of the population then the election should be declared void and a new round of debates and electioneering should occur.

      If the politicians want our repect then they will need to earn it, not dismiss us as flim-flams.

  19. Saltaire Sam says:

    I have just receieved the No leaflet and it is one of the most blatant pieces of distortion I can rememmber reading.

    1 A picture of four athletes finishing a race with a back marker arrowed as ‘the winner under AV’ when he is last and therefore the only one who cannot win.

    2 A map of the world Australia Fiji and PNG in pink (AV) and the rest in green. That implies the rest is FPTP which it clearly isn’t

    3 Cashing in on Clegg’s unpopularity, a picture of him and ‘AV leads to broken promises’. Duh, Nick Clegg broke promises under FPTP

    Even more damning is that there is not one solid reason given in favour of FPTP except the misleading view that some people will get two votes while others only have one.

    Doesn’t stuff like this come under the misrepresentation of goods act?

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Thanks for above post, Sam, and careful analysis. Leaflet should certainly ‘come under the misrepresentation of goods act’. Who do the No campaigners think we are?

      Just heard that most Labour councillors have joined the No bandwagon – yours above shows it’s nothing more than that – despite their leader urging Yes vote. Afraid of losing their ‘safe seats”? I’m afraid I’m not surprised they’re behaving like dinosaurs.

    2. sue_m says:

      I was livid when i got mine last week. Half-truths, deliberately misleading statements and outright lies the lot of it. Sadly, having checked with the Advertising Standards Authority, there is no obligation on political campaigns to tell the truth as they are not regulated by the ASA. No wonder they get away with such tosh.
      Interestingly there was not a mention of why FPTP should be retained as a better system, just a load of rubbishing of AV. The race scenario was powerful in terms of swaying the politically unaware but says a lot about how these people think. The point in an election should be that it’s about the winner being the one who most people in the ‘crowd’ support not about which ‘horse’ crosses the imaginery line first. The horse itself is not important – the important thing is whether most people want that horse to win. How typical of politicians to think the race is about them not about how many of the supporters (ie voters) they represent. When you look at the No camp it’s so obvious that they think it’s all about them. Self first, voters last of course.

  20. Meg Howarth says:

    However important a fairer voting-system – democracy must always be a work in progress; it isn’t a solid state – the crucial issue is, as always, economic. We in the already post-industrialised west/north need to ditch slavish adherence to growth/GDP as measure of continued human and social development. Suggest Citizen’s (Basic) Income, tax on land (LVT) and an end to commercial banks’ ability to create the nation’s money-supply – and thus fundamentally to dictate the nature of our political and social system – are not only essential to avert social decline but urgent. A Citizen’s Income would free individuals for meaningful, useful work as well as unlocking human potential. What’s the point of a human life if it’s to be spent as a wage-slave, often in harmful and spirit-destroying employment.

    No wonder the alternative name for whatever government holds parliamentary power at any one time is ‘administration’ – of capitalist profiteering economics. The three main UK parties are all wedded to the old GDP model which is the road to further inequality. This buying and selling malarky of an economy which profits the few at enviro/majority expense is long past its sell-by date.

  21. anniexf says:

    @ Moonbeach (re your post above, 20 April, 10.53 pm):

    I can’t agree that “in all other walks of life we strive to reward merit” before you give me a satisfactory definition of “merit”. Your statement lacks evidence!
    How on earth could “social conscience” be impartially assessed?
    Where on the “social conscience” scale would you place individuals the nature of whose contributions vary widely – by the number of others who benefit, by the amount of resources saved, etc.?
    As older persons, and therefore so much wiser about “economic, social and international drivers that influence our society”, could Adrian and I claim maximum votes each – and thereby cancel each other out?! :)

    1. Moonbeach says:

      First, Annie my proposal would be doomed to failure because those ‘lower down’ any meritorious pyramid would probably vote against it as elitist.

      Secondly, my definition of merit is unimportant. The majority could decide as happens now in many Institutions where qualifications to membership are important. A ‘roots and ladders’ approach could compare the contributions of, say, milkmen doctors, housewives, plumbers, nurses or unemployed louts.

      Merit is rewarded in most areas by promotion, pay and/or recognition because ‘rank’ structures exist in businesses, Nursing, Civil Service, Armed Forces, The Churches, Clubs and so on.

      You must have come across this. How much more evidence do you want?

      I would, of course, support giving you and Adrian maximum votes provided your voluntary Quadrennial Performance Review merited it!!!

    2. Moonbeach says:

      Actually, Annie, I believe that our tax system could be used as the basis for a voting system based on merit.

      ‘Roots and Ladders’ would, of course need to be defined to cater for housewives, house-husbands (and their PC equivalents!)and other valuable members of our society that do not earn big salaries but are clearly altruistic.

      In this way, we could guarantee that voters were at least contributing to the system that spends their money!

      I would baulk at footballers having more votes than me but no system is perfect!!!!

      We used to say “No taxation without representation” and that was right for its time. Perhaps now we should change it slightly to “No taxation without representation based on contribution”?

  22. Pete says:

    Jon – I love the way you ignore the role of the media in political discourse. If the media ever let a politician answer a question without interrupting – or stop running a bias package ahead of an interview, or stopped giving more time to the weather forecast than political coverage – then we might get better political debate. trust in the media is pretty low too you know!

  23. Maureen Jeffs says:

    Have been thinking a bit more about this. How democratic is the UK? Not as much as I wish it were. Since coming to power eleven months ago, David Cameron has enobled 117 peers. So, more peers, more quickly than any post Second World War Prime Minister. As a result the noble lords and ladies haven’t enough room in the second chamber – sardines in tins. Consider this now – 792 peers compared to 650 elected MPs. Is that democratic? I don’t think so. When are we going to reform the House of Lords? With regard to AV -it is a scrap being thrown to those hungry for a more representative system in the hope we will be satisfied. Give us a good system of proportional representation – and soon.

    1. sue_m says:

      But sadly PR isn’t being offered at the moment so we have to take AV to ensure the worst option of FPTP is got rid of. Otherwise we will never get the chance of further reform.

  24. Yorkshire Lass says:

    I’m disappointed to say that even under AV the Tories would win where I live. That should cheer some of you up but really p*sses me off.

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      Know how you feel. Though in Shipley we had a second ‘Portillo moment’ in 97 when Marcus Fox got booted out. But it’s back to a tory now and no sign of any change in the near future.

      All you can do is torment them with emails and letters and let them know that you know they have got it wrong :-)

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Thanks, Yorkshire Lass and Sam. You’ve cheered me up!

  25. Meg Howarth says:

    This is worth watching, via Twitter: ‘Only in Westminster does a 3/10 mean you win’: http://fb.me/IM68mgni

    Here’s hoping social media may yet wake up our democratic sensibilities. The country’s professional politicians are really behind the curve on the rising tide of political engagement.

  26. Andrew Sleigh says:

    Jon is right to point out the narrowness of the AV debate. Around the time of the last election there was growing talk of the need to address the ‘democratic deficit’ by a wide ranging review of our democratic processes. Issues on the table then were use of primaries, greater use of Internet to debate issues with MPs, more citizen engagement with Whitehall activity, more opportunity for citizens to ‘de-bug’ legislation, and so on. There is no doubt that moving away from FPP should stimulate more such thinking, even though AV is not obviously the best alternative available. But can we widen the debate now to see a change in electoral scheme as just one facet of strengthening our rather weakened citizen engagement in government.

  27. gina says:

    Having read many comments with interest i find it strange that the supporters of AV want certain voters to have two votes.Presumably in the hope that their losing candidate might win .Would it not be better for every voter to have two votes in the interest of fairness?

    1. sue_m says:

      Every voter gets exactly the same opportunity to vote for as many of the candidates as they wish to vote for.

    2. gina says:

      sue-m i am sure you are not that naive to believe what you describe is either democracy or true.
      Every voter can express a second preference , but in the event of no one achieving 50% only the losers second preference counts, not those of the winner or second ,or even 3rd and 4th
      It is the voting system of losers,and there is no logical reason for it.

    3. sue_m says:

      Gina, yes it is true and yes AV is more democratic than the current system. The one that frequently returns a winner who has the support of a minority of voters.
      Judging by your continual posts about AV giving some people 2 votes and being a system for electing losers and extremists you must have you made up your mind based only on the No camp’s propaganda. Who is being naive exactly?
      If 4 candidates stood and there was a vote each week for 4 weeks or until one had over 50% of the vote would you say you had only had one vote if you went back to the polls each week? Just because you chose to cast your vote for the same person each time doesn’t mean you had less votes – every vote is counted again. AV just saves you going to the polls more than once.
      Now, rather than repeating same old propaganda, please tell me how the current system is so much more democratic when it results in a majority of our MPs being elected with a minority of votes in their constituency?

    4. gina says:

      Sue-m i take exception to your comments.I have not read or for that matter seen what you call the “no camps propoganda” I have merely read the literature explaining AV which you either appear not to have, or not to understand.I do not understand your comment
      “If 4 candidates stood etc”
      FPTP is a constituency election where every registered voter has one vote.That is perfectly democratic.In a two party state or two person election, the winner will have over 50% of the vote.In your 4 candidate election it is unlikely there will be a person with 50% of the vote but nonetheless there will be a winner albeit by as little as 1 vote.That doesn’t make the election undemocratic as everyone as the same number of votes.
      In AV that is not the same.In a 4 candidate election,i made no suggestion of going back to the polls weekly.,though it would be fair if one was eliminated and then everyone had a vote fot the 3 remaining candidates,same next round leaving 2 candidates and then a 50% result.AV does not do thatthough .It givesthe losers voters an extra vote at the expense of others.In other words the loser elects the winner.


    5. sue_m says:

      Gina, there is plenty of No propaganda right here on this blog, so i think its safe to assume you have at least read some of it.
      I can’t comment on why you dont understand my example but what i will say is that electing an MP is in my view only democratic if they are elected with the support of a majority of the voters in their constituency. FPTP simply does NOT guarantee to do that. So keeping FPTP is not the way forward.

  28. Meg Howarth says:

    Snowbloggers: forgive off-topic but highly recommend tonight’s particularly moving C4’s ‘Unreported World’ on China’s missing, often mentally disabled, males presumed kidnapped (often by women) to work in brick-making kilns. How dignified the father whose search for his son provided the basis for the film. What a beautiful sight his beaming face on welcoming back film-maker Oliver Steeds. Such generosity of spirit amidst overwhelming personal pain. Echoes of the spirit of Fukushima, and the elderly woman who asked Jon and the C4 team if they’d seen her husband or his vehicle out in the paddly-fields overrun by the tsunami.

  29. Barbara Robertson says:

    When I vote I have three main considerations in mind:

    the leader of the party
    the policies of the party
    the candidate

    not necessarily in that order

    Usually one party predominates. I think objective voting would be prevented in say a constituency where one party usually has a majority of possibly just less than the required 50%

    Perhaps some electors would put their preferred candidate in second place! I think it would be an unmitigated disaster. A total mess and a psychological disaster for all who have the majority and do not enter Parliament, as well as for those who voted for them.Politics is confusing enough .

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      Is it possible to have a majority of less than 50.1%?

      You can have more votes than any other individual but that doesn’t necessarily make it a majority.

      That’s the point of the argument taht is going on.

      You are presumably happy for your MP to carry on even though more people voted against than voted for him or her.

    2. emu says:

      Sam, surely you can not believe it to be democratic if s omeone wins but doesn’t get 50%,yet the person with the least number of votes gets a second vote that might put the second or third place candidate into the lead with 50% and the winner.Why have not all the other seconfd preference votes been counted?.This option AV is an option of the loser

    3. sue_m says:

      emu – If you think about it, AV cannot be the option of the loser since 1. If a candidate gets a clear Majority in round one, he/she wins. Simple. 2. If there is no clear Majority, the Loser is eliminated, therefore making it impossible for him/her to be elected.
      I think where you are confused is that you assume that Candidate A getting say 40% first prefs as against perhaps 35% first prefs for second placed Candidate B means that A should win even though 60% of voters do not want him/her to. If 15% of voters each put one of these down as 2nd pref then A would still win but if only say 5% chose A as an acceptable 2nd choice but 20% chose B as an acceptable 2nd choice then B would correctly win as 55% (a majority) of voters broadly support him/her whereas only 45% (a minority) broadly support A.
      Currently FPTP returns a lot of MPs that are actually the election Losers as the majority of voters have Not voted for them. FPTP is the system for electing Losers.

    4. emu says:

      Sue your suggestion is both a corruption of logic and democracy.Why should anyone in an election have a second preference?Does it mean that you really want that candidate?Could it be a protest vote for a minority party?Why is one person one vote no longer right?
      If one person one vote is not fair , why do all second preference votes not count.
      Is it fair that a minority of voters should have two votes counted yet the majority only have one?
      Why not just arrange a rebellion and a coup for the party you want to win , for that is what a vote for AV is attempting to do.

    5. sue_m says:

      A vote for AV is an attempt to arrange a rebellion and a coup for the party i want to win?
      Wow, Emu that is extreme even for you! I don’t think it is my logic that is corrupted.

  30. Ray Turner says:

    The status quo (or No) campaign has been looking increasingly desperate recently. I’d already spotted that their argument about the cost of machines to count the votes was spurious, so I was jolly pleased when Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes raised it over the weekend.

    The little boy in the school sports day video was just propaganda, using every trick in the book to make us think negatively about AV. It didn’t attempt to explain why the trophy was awarded to the third place finisher. In real life, there are actually some circumstances where that really would happen, in the Pentathalon for instance, where there are several rounds of competition…

    And surely, any campaign which runs along the lines of Vote No for AV because Cleggy wants it, is absolutely pathetic. Showing those politicians in their true colours – unfit for office…!

    I say vote Yes to AV, so we can get these self-serving people with their vested interests out of Government…

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Thanks Ray and Sam. Well-said. Will Tweet the blog again to ensure maximum coverage for valid points so simply stated. Bravo!

    2. emu says:

      Ray a nice argument that doesn’t stack up.You are wrong about the pentathlon.The third placed person or second for that matter never wins,for it is a points based system.Add to that the winner never gets anywhere near a 50% majority of points,your argument begins to fall flat.
      Under AV there are several instances were the winner will not be the elected candidate.It matters not whether he was second,third or anywhere else, it is clearly undemocratic.
      By voting for AV ,what self-serving people with their vested interests are you getting rid of???.Are you referring to one party or all politicians, for it is a very spurios argument.

  31. Saltaire Sam says:

    As amazing as it might seem there was a case of blatant tory hypocrisy on the Today programme this morning.

    A tory backbencher, with influential cheer leaders, is proposing a bill that will make it illegal for unions to call a strike unless 50% of THOSE WITH THE RIGHT TO VOTE support it.

    This from a party that is happy for MPs to be elected with as low as a third of those who actually vote, a tiny percentage of the actual electorate.

    If the same rule was applied to Westminster, there would probably be no MPs at all.

    Now there’s an idea…

  32. Meg Howarth says:

    You can check out how AV would affect voting in your area; see also which constituencies would record greatest increase in voter power:


    1. gina says:

      Meg there is no way you can check how AV would affect voting in an area,for you have no insight into the second preference votes of any of those voting and losing.
      There is only one reason anyone wants to change a tried and tested voting system and that is because under the party system they believe it might benefit their party
      The truly undemocratic view is held by those that believe one person one vote is undemocratic , but consider it is democratic for a minority who voted for losing parties to have two votes that are counted.
      I have seen no one show how that might be democratic.
      If you wish second preference votes to be democratic , every second preference votes would have to be counted on the second ballot,including for the eliminated candidate.
      What an absurd and ludicrous system
      The first candidate to reach 50% under AV is there only because some had two votes and it doesnt mean he has 50$ of all voters intentions

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      ‘There is only one reason anyone wants to change a tried and tested voting system and that is because under the party system they believe it might benefit their party’.

      You’re assuming that everyone belongs to/supports a particular party, Gina, when it’s often the swing voters that determine an election’s outcome. Seems you also think the worst of those who want change, that they’re doing it for self (political)-interest.

      Ray and Sam have put the case for AV simply and clearly above. The NEF link re changes under AV is redistributing the votes shown at previous elections. It’s a guide, not set in concrete. NB why not challenge them directly with your point? I’m not a member of any political party, nor carrying a flag for NEF, but FPTP is certainly not the paragon democratic voting system being portrayed. What’s ‘fair’ about being elected on a minority of votes?

    3. Saltaire Sam says:

      OK Gina, I accept you think AV is undemocratic but can you please explain how you think that someone who has only picked up a third of votes being elected is democratic. It’s all very well to dislike AV but you should also be able to justify FPTP with more than it’s the way it’s alwys been done.

      Also I’m not sure how your AV system would work because it really would mean some people getting two votes.

      If you counted everyone’s second preference those who voted for the leading candidates would get two votes (their original vote would stand plus their second choice) but the poor soul who voted for the eliminated candidate would only get his or her second preference counted.

      Finally, it wasn’t me who started the comparison with athletic races – the No leaflet has a picture of four people finishing a race with a caption that says that the fourth finally wins, the one thing that is impossible under AV.

    4. sue_m says:

      “Tried and tested voting system” – Gina, you missed off the final part.
      Tried and tested and failed!
      FPTP only works when there are only 2 candidates. In this century there are usually at least 3 and often 4 or 5.
      FPTP frequently returns losing candidates with minority support.
      Still awaiting an explanation of how this is democratic.

    5. emu says:

      Sue-m “Tried and tested and failed!”How can you say that sue.It has always returned the candidate with the most votes on a one man one vote principle.Totally fair.You may not like it and may not get the person/party you wanted
      No one of the AV camp has yet explained why some people ,those that choose the worst loser , should get a second counted vote where those that win or even come second and so on down the line , do not get their second votes counted
      FPRP NEVER RETURNS A LOSING CANDIDATE.Only AV will do that.It may return someone with a minority of the votes,albeit more than anyone else.It is only a minority because of the number of candidates standing.
      If you want it to be fair ,have a pre run off and the top two candidates stand against each other on a second vote,all others being eliminated.

    6. sue_m says:

      Emu – are you shouting at me?
      Do you see the irony of your statements? To claim (loudly) that FPTP never returns a loser, then admit it returns those with a minority of votes is hilarious. No matter why they get a minority, it is still a minority – ie they have not gained the support of a majority, which is exactly what a candidate should obtain to ‘win’ an election.
      Instead of talking of winners and losers, if you and Gina simply used the terms “the candidate supported by a majority” and “the candidate supported by a minority” you would see your arguments no longer stack up. The candidate with the least support never becomes the winner under AV as they are eliminated and the final ‘winner’ is always the candidate that gains the most support across all voters.
      I also love how you approve of having a run off then just keeping the top 2 candidates. In a 3 candidate constituency that is what AV will do, except voters will do all their rounds of voting on one day.
      Actually, AV will make no difference where I live, which is a rock solid seat. I would prefer full PR but am realistic enough to see if we turn down AV we will never have a choice on PR.

    7. emu says:

      Sue-m what a silly question because i emphasize a statement in capitals.Am i shouting ?You can not see beyond your blinkered beliefs though.By minority i mean less than 50%.It is still the majority in that particular election.In your own words he/she is the candidate supported by the majority,for they have the most votes even if it is only one,
      What AV supporters want is to change that result by false statements and undemocratic means.
      In a 3 horse race i will use your suggestion that someone can be elected by 30% of the vote.It would be 34% and the other two get 33%.So the person with 34 % is currently elected. Now you wish to give the supporters of the loser with 33% a second vote , but ignore the second preference of the 1st and second.I have asked several times how you can call that democratic , which you can not apparently answer , so i presume you accept it is undemocratic but want AV to change legitimate results.One can only surmise why you might want an undemocratic system!!!!!!

    8. sue_m says:

      My question was not anything like as silly as your answer emu.
      I was fully aware that you meant less than 50% as a minority – that would be most peoples definition i think. One can only surmise why you think it is ok to elect an MP to represent a constituency with a minority. It is still not the majority in that particular election – or any election – the majority are against that candidate.
      Your example of a 34% / 33%/ 33% divide is a bit silly as you then go on to talk of the loser with 33% (which one?) and the first and second placed candidates. Well both the 33%’s were joint second surely?
      AV won’t change legitimate results, only those where an MP was elected with a minority – which is about as illegitimate and undemocratic as it gets.

      PS i think you will find in text/email sentences in CAPs are considered shouting.

    9. emu says:

      Sue-m i would never shout at you:)
      my 34-33-33- argument was to get to the lowest possible difference However try 35-34-31.
      I do not think you are stupid and could not understand my point ,but unwilling or unable to combat it.
      Av certainly could change a legitimate result obtained by one person one vote , as in this illustrated reply , where 31% have two votes and could change a democratic outcome.That in your words is as undemocratic and illigitimate as it can get.
      You can not answer why certain voters should get 2 votes against everyone elses one.

    10. sue_m says:

      AV might (depending on how 2nd prefs were cast) change your result above but I would contend it has not changed a legitimate result. I fail to see how anyone can be called a legitimate winner, in what is effectively a popularity contest, if 65% of people have not chosen you. The result in AV only becomes legitimate when a true majority of voters support the candidate in preference over the others on offer.

  33. gina says:

    Meg and Sam you both raise some interesting issues..First democracy.No it is not democratic that an MP should be elected on less than 50% of the vote , though i do not recall anyone complaining when Labour were in power with a vast majority and less than 40% of the vote.
    It is even less than democratic that you believe some people should have a second vote counted whilst a majority do not.
    Sam it is certainly not impossible for the 4th placed person to be elected under AV .It depends on the number of candidates and the redistribution of the last one after each recount.
    Meg i tried your web site .Not only did it not give me any results for my constituency but there was nowhere to make any comments.
    I have only seen one democratic voting idea on here and that was by adrian clarke,who suggested having a non party representative who votes according to a majority view of his constituents

    1. sue_m says:

      Gina, so you finally agree that FPTP is undemocratic. Now please explain why we should keep an undemocratic system.
      Not sure why you still believe only some have a second vote counted under AV. In a second count every voter gets their vote counted again. Clearly, since those who put the loser as their 1st preference cannot have that vote counted again due to that candidate no longer being available to vote for, it is only fair they should have their 2nd preference counted. After all, all the other voters are having their 1st pref counted again. Plus there is a good chance that enough of the 2nd prefs will give a proper majority to the highest ranking candidate from the first count. Seems very fair and balanced to me. Or would you prefer Everyone to have their 2nd pref used on the second count even if their 1st pref is still available for their second vote? That would give everyone the 2 differing votes you feel so strongly about. It might give some odd results though! Maybe we should try it, things could get really interesting.

    2. emu says:

      Not sure why you still believe only some have a second vote counted under AV. In a second count every voter gets their vote counted again.
      Sue-m you clearly do not understand the system you are supporting.
      The only persons whose second preference vote is counted are the losers who are eliminated.
      You clearly do not believe in one person one vote.WHY? How can it be democratic for losers to have two votes counted and winners not??

    3. sue_m says:

      But emu, all the voters get a vote in round one. If it goes to a second round all the voters get a vote again. One person one vote in each round. The only difference is they are not physically returning to the polling station for each round.
      I do understand thank you. If you need to have it explained to you again i suggest you read some of the excellent posts by many supporters of AV on here, which demonstrate how it is more democratic.
      I don’t see a single post demonstrating how a candidate ‘winning’ with less than 50% of the voters supporting him/her under FPTP is democratic.

    4. emu says:

      It is pointless arguing sue when you still can not accept that losing voters get 2 votes and winners only one.I have seen no one on here explain how that can be democratic or that it is not a fact

  34. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    Thanks for your help re AV .Gina What I really can’t understand is why the eliminated D’s votes are given to A rather than shared equally between A ,B or C. When the numbers are taken away and the parties without enough country- wide candidates to be able to get a more even seat standing ( if you forgive the obtuse play on words) excluded ,then it is a similar outcome to the coalition government when the first without a majority and the last with fewer votes are all but in quantity added together to make a majority.What many consider unsatisactory now, would in the presence of AV be a continuation of this method. In fact the votes which have been and could be distributed are a kind of principle plagiarism , where voters vote for an ideal and another party takes the ideas. How unfair is it to work and work and work for an ideal for a newcomer to come along and pinch the ideas, respect and salary of those who have toiled for a principle?

  35. Meg Howarth says:

    I don’t have a website, Gina. Suggest you write to N(ew) E(conomics) F(oundation) at their email address: info@neweconomics.org

  36. Derek M says:

    Just an interesting thought to add to the cauldron of opinion.

    In 1930s Germany, an individual called Adolf Hitler came to prominance, mainly due to a PR system of voting. He then, quite legally, grabbed absolute power. He got there because people did not pay too much attention to what he actually said, they just liked the general tone. Question; would this be more likely to happen here under a FPTP or PR system. Think about it, and the consequences of it happening before replying.

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      That’s it, internet rules, discussion over as soon as omeone uses the H word :-)

    2. anniexf says:

      Hitler’s electoral success was attributable to many more factors than the voting system – electoral apathy being one! I dislike this form of over-simplification, it’s just as silly as suggesting the BNP would automatically get in under AV.(In fact, the BNP is imploding thank goodness). Can we have a more mature approach to this subject, instead of thinly veiled menace – like inadequate head teacher to intelligent outspoken child?
      Sorry Derek M but I find your comment neither interesting nor thoughtful.

    3. Meg Howarth says:

      Thanks to Annie for prompt riposte to Derek M. About to retweet link to blog.

      NB: BNP is supporting No to AV, and those who didn’t see last pm’s BBC Newsnight studio debate on AV might like to watch on catch-up service as it’s worth watching. Yes2AV came out tops in my, and others, views.

      Sam: please don’t apologise for your Meldrew morning. This nonsense needs to be aired as much as possible and Snowblog is an excellent forum.

  37. Saltaire Sam says:

    Sorry about this but it’s my Meldrew morning.

    Just received a note from the revenue spelling out the fines if I’m late filling in my return or paying what I owe.

    Filing includes: ‘One day late and you will be charged an initial penalty of £100 (even if you have no tax to pay or you have already paid all the tax you owe.’ Later than that and the bill can run into thousands plus interest.

    Late payment includes: ‘Thirty days late and you will be charged an initial penalty of 5% of the tax unpaid at that date.’

    Strangely there’s no section that says what the penalties will be if, like Philip Green and the other offshore pirates, you are avoiding paying any tax.

    Still, why go after the big fish when there are enough minnows to catch in your net?

  38. Saltaire Sam says:

    What we need is the political equivalent of Lionel Messi – a little genius who can shrug off mere mortals who only want to destroy and come up with solutions that are so exquisitely crafted you applaud the television.

    He wouldn’t need AV – he’d get 99% of the vote.

    (Apologies to bloggers who have not been watching Barca blitz Real’s negative bully boys in which Messi did things that seemed impossible)

    1. anniexf says:

      A wonderful display by Barcelona, Saltaire Sam, with Messi truly breathtaking. Sadly the general standard of political skill in England isn’t even equivalent to 3rd. Division. Now, we’re told, our involvement in Libya is ” for the long haul” – who got us into that? And are we going to see our leaders’ fingers in Syrian pie too?
      This Coalition seems to make wholly reactive decisions without thinking things through. No doubt some wag will advise me to “Calm down, dear”, but didn’t Cameron look a p**t when he hastily tried to dig himself out of that one? :)

  39. Meg Howarth says:

    ‘Surely the final clinching argument for AV?’, as Tweeted by Stephen Fry last night:

    http://t.co/ZPYOIIx #yesToAV

  40. emu says:

    What a ridiculous article!!! Though coffee would be democratic in a 5 candidate race with 10 electors :)

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      If you’re referring to link http://t.co/ZPYOIIx #yesToAV, why’s it ridiculous, Emu, and if so, is it any more so than the pentathlons/heptathlons etc etc introduced by No vote as Sam refers to above?

    2. emu says:

      Meg i am surprised at you ,normally so accurate. It is ridiculous for the choices given ,four pubs and a coffee shop.(if it had been 5 pubs ok).Nevertheless taking a stupid scenario , in a democracy the coffee drinkers win.In Av it would take at least two more losers votes to overturn that decision.I say that because one pub had one vote,so could not even though his second preference was counted.Then probably another pubs votes would need to be counted to try to get to 50%.What a way to try and overturn a democratic vote,because you do not like the outcome.
      As to pentathlon/heptathlon/dectathlon,they were raised by the desperate AV supporters to attempt to ridicule the straight race suggestion of the NO vote who stated legitimately, AV can be considered as a way of trying to change the result of a legitimate race.
      Pent/hep/dec/races were bought up by the AV supporters and are not one race but several different races for which points are amassed.The winner gets most points , but never anywhere near 50% and the loser is not eliminated or their points redistributed.

  41. Meg Howarth says:

    Here’s Jon’s cousin, Dan Snow, explaining AV: http://bit.ly/g18dGp

  42. emu says:

    Just a repeat of the twitter and no more democratic.Meg can you explain why one man one vote is no longer alright?
    Why should losers have two votes? The clip of Dan Snow was inconsequential and not realisic because it was staged.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Because there are now many more than two parties which means that the majority of voters have often voted against the FPTP winner. FPTP is outdated, and though AV isn’t full PR, it’s an advance on the protection of vested interests that FPTP protects, and crucially it means MPs will need more than 50% of the total constituency vote to be elected.

      You’ve personalised your question, Emu, so to repeat as in original post (somewhere) above, for me the economy is the crucial issue: an end to GDP/growth as measure of healthy society, ending banks’ ability to create the money supply by returning this power to government, introduction of a tax on land (LVT) and of a Citizen’s/Basic Income.

      But the chance to update the voting-system, however inadequately, so that an MP requires more than 50% of the vote is an opportunity progressive voters would be advised not to ignore.

    2. emu says:

      Meg you know i agree with you on LVT.I even agree with you on the economy,the banks and i have always argued for democracy, “rule of the people by the people for the people.I believe our representatives should consult and vote according to the majority view of their constituents on a non party basis.
      However i can not believe any fair minderd person, except for personal gain would want anything other than one person one vote.There is no democracy in saying you got the least number of votes so you are eliminated , but we will count your second preference in the hope of changing the result
      Meg AV doesnt alter anything of your crucial issues , only a democratic result by undemocratic means.
      You persuaded me to LVT but why should eliminated losers have a second vote counted?

  43. Gary says:

    When all is said and done. I still think that we should make voting compulsory.

    Then, if ‘None of the Above’ wins the public will have spoken. Politicians will then need to listen to the concerns of the general public and then act accordingly.

  44. emu says:

    Gary an excellent point , though supporters of AV would seek to change the result by undemocratic means

    1. emu says:

      Meg i am not motivated by any other view point but my own .It took years of struggle to obtain universal suffrage.Women died to get the vote.
      We all over the age of 18 have a right to vote.we can vote for anyone from the Tories to the raving looney party.From Labour to the BNP.Liberal to UKIP.In a two horse race the winner will obtain at least 50% of the vote.
      In a 3 horse race or more it is unlikely though not impossible that any will receive more than 50%.That doesn’t make it an illigitimate result for all of us who vote have one vote and can use it as we wish.If the winner wins by one vote that is democracy in action .Universal suffrage and one person one vote.We may not like the result but it is totally fair.We have exercised our right to vote.
      To certain people (especially the av lobby) they consider it not fair because in their words the winner has not received 50% of the vote.So they seek to manipulate the result,by letting the loser have a second vote counted.No one else but the loser.They consider that fair and democratic but can not say why!!! to be continued

    2. sue_m says:

      Yes women died to get the vote. So that makes it all the more shocking that so many of them (and men too) have a vote that counts for nothing at all as they live somewhere where a Minority of voters are continually able to send their favoured candidate to Westminster. This is what FPTP does to voters in the modern day multi-party age.
      Having a vote means nothing if the voting system has not progressed with the times.

    3. emu says:

      sue_you have little grasp of what the right to vote is.It was hard won in the first place and not to be usurped by parties or persons seeking to gain advantage in an undemocratic way.
      Every person , subject to age and the franchise has a right to vote .Normally several candidates put their name foreward, some with no hope of winning,be it a protest or even a fun candidate,Even serious candidates often have no hope, such as UKIP,the BNP ,the Greens,but you or i have a legitimate and democratic right to cast our vote for whoever we want,and for whatever reason we want.The fact that we back a loser does not mean our vote does not count at the election,it merely means it does not count in running the country.That neither makes it undemocratic, illegitimate or not worth voting.
      The only thing that might do that is AV

  45. Meg Howarth says:

    Emu, yours above: ‘However i can not believe any fair minded person, except for personal gain would want anything other than one person one vote’.

    Seems this is where your deep-seated opposition to Yes2AV lies? Why so cynical of human motivation? Taking only the pro-AV Snowbloggers on this post as an example: are you really suggesting we’re in it for ‘personal gain’? Couldn’t it be simply because we believe that no MP should be elected without representing more than 50% of the electorate, that FPTP is outdated in its inability to return such a result?

    Conversely, you imply that status-quo FPTP supporters aren’t motivated by personal gain – by what, I wonder? – when maybe they simply fear losing either a cosy seat (MPs) or a favoured political party (voters)? They’ve already got the desired result under FPTP, hence opposition to a system which demands more than 50% of votes in order to represent a constituency.

    A ‘fair-minded’ person might also like to consider why it’s what’s commonly known as the ‘right’ in politics that’s opposed to AV: the BNP, 1922 Committee-influenced Tory party (today’s R4 ‘Today’) & the John Reid wing of Lab. Progressives?
    NB final comment on Yes2AV!

    1. emu says:

      Cont;Meg i started this above but it is a continuation.I outlined why i believe one person one vote is fair and has stood this country in good stead since we had the vote.
      Let me discuss AV its reasons and undemocratic nature.
      Why would anyone want AV? Why would they want the losers votes to count twice against every one elses counting once?.Not as they claim for the winner to obtain 50% but to change the result.To give no hopers a chance of victory.In the sole hope that their party might benefit.How appealing to the Liberals and even UKIP (with its Tory support) and the Greens.
      If they really wanted the winner to obtain 50% and to be fair to one man one vote.After the first vote they would eliminate the losers and have a fresh ballot,then it is once again one person one vote,but that is not the proposition.
      AV supporters want the losers to decide,everyone one elses second preference to be ignored.
      No wonder only 3 countries in the world use AV and Australia wants to get rid of it.
      An undemocratic,cheating system of voting.
      My last word unless someone wants to argue with the above. :)

  46. Saltaire Sam says:

    I’m in awe of your stamina. After explaining three times that AV doesn’t mean some people getting more votes than others only to be told again that it did, I gave up and crawled under a blanket in despair :-)

    It seems that in this country you can win an argument by pumping out inaccurate and misleading propaganda and leaving the nation’s inbuilt small c conservatism to do the rest.

    1. emu says:

      Saltaire it is a pity you do not understand the proposed voting system you appear to favour

    2. sue_m says:

      Cheers Sam, i also nearly gave up too but a few days away refreshed me enough to try one last time :-)

      What a pity if this referendum is lost it will be because of the propaganda of those who are still unable to explain how having the support of less than half of voters somehow makes you a ‘winner’.

  47. Meg Howarth says:

    Was just about to congratulate Sue when my inbox informed me that you’d done it for me, Sam. Thanks to both.

    Haven’t had time yet to read piece below by Will Hutton from yesterday’s Observer but worth it, it seems, for those who still haven’t made up minds/have open mind about AV: http://bit.ly/iK7ZCj.

    1. sue_m says:

      Thanks Meg, interesting article.

      There was also a good opinion piece in the Independent on Sat which i finally got round to reading today. Jon Cruddas excellently did away with the No’s continuous bleating about 2 votes for some by using the folowing metaphor: If you go in the fish n chip shop and ask for cod but then have to choose between haddock or plaice because the cod has run out, in the end you still get only one meal and one of your choices.
      (I would put a link but i’m not as technically savvy as you i’m afraid).

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Here’s the link to the Cruddas piece, Sue:


      The least I could do after your gargantuan effort, with thanks for pointing out same.

      And from today’s Indie: http://ind.pn/keRzZQ – this link shows the 29 MPs campaigning for ‘no’ vote who would most likely not have been elected under the fairer AV system. This exposes the argument that ‘self-interest’ is what motivates the Yes2AV supporters as being one-sided. Of course there’ll be some self-interested voting, particularly by those who belong to/support particular political parties not to mention politicians themselves, but it’ll be on both sides. To try and cast supporters of AV – a system which simply requires more than 50% of the vote for a candidate to be elected MP – alone as biased is disingenuous.

      It’ll be a missed opportunity for a democratic nudge forward if the ‘no’ voters win on Thursday. We won’t get a second chance any time soon.

    3. emu says:

      Well Meg a complete Political Hatchet job on the Tories.What blatant left wing propogandarist nonsense that neither explains the reason or system of AV.
      Can you tell me what is wrong with 600 constituencies of approximately the same size?Where does that favour a party or become undemocratic.
      What desperate tactics the AV lobby is using when instead of arguing facts they use inuendo and biased reporting .
      Sue almost as bad as your fish and chips that does not have the slightest resemblance to voting.
      I still wait(probably forever) for you to explain why an eliminated voter should have their second preference counted , when no one else does.

  48. emu says:

    I could reply to each of sue-m’s comments but will have one last try at explaining the difference and why AV is totally unfair.
    FPTP,is no different to any competition where people pit themselves against others.Be it in a race,a game or an election.The winner in all cases is the first one to the line whether by their own efforts or a teams efforts or by being voted for.There is nothing wrong with that.Some people seem to think it is undemocratic if the winner does not get at least 50%of the vote.Yet they do not think it undemocratic in sport if someone wins by less than a second ,in a pentathlon by 1 point.So why is a voting system that has stood the test of time suddenly undemocratic?.There is only one reason .Some people think it will change the result of a legitimate contest.If that is not the case why bother? They say the opponents twist the truth.Yet they have no argument against only the losers second preference vote being recounted.They state something they do not know that those who were winning first preference would not change.They give results through AV for previous elections,with no knowledge as to how people would have given a second preference.

    1. emu says:

      cont. My continuation was not posted , but here is why i consider AV to be undemocratic.
      As i understand it every person has one vote then a second preference .In other words potentially 2 votes.
      After the election , take a 3 candidate race for simplicity.the loser is eliminated , but the winner does not have 50% of the vote, so the loser or eliminated candidates supporters now get there second preference votes counted.WHY? They are out of the contest.Why are not the second preference votes of the 1st and 2nd also counted?If they were ,the eliminated person might win , that is the stupidity of the system.Yet AV supporters do not want the first twos second preference votes to count.They want some to have one vote and losers to have two.
      What if the initial voting by some was tactical voting to stop a particular candidate winning? There is no account taken of that.
      Not one, particularly sue, the most vociferous in her defence of the undefensible can explain why one man one vote is not sufficient or democratic or why the losers should have their second preference counted,but no one else should.
      Not only why, but actually dispute that is the case!!!!

    2. sue_m says:

      emu, i thought you were finishing your posts yesterday? Your last post here though reveals not my inability to grasp the voting system or right to vote but your own lack of knowledge of AV. Voters rank as few or as many candidates as they like not specifically two.
      Finally, i will not bother repeating again all the explanations i and others have put forward for AV being fairer nor will i yet again explain why FPTP (which you seem to prefer to refer to as one man one vote) is neither democratic nor legitimate when there are more than 2 candidates. All the answers you claim not to have are on here. I suggest you just read very carefully the previous posts. Then read your own arguments for keeping a system that elects MPs with minorities and see the irony in them.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      I would have finished my posts unless someone wished to come back, which you obviously do.
      I wonder why when you can not answer one very simple question.Why should a voter whose choice has been eliminated and therefore with it his vote, then have their second preference counted,where no one else does.
      I wonder what your definition of democracy is?Certainly not equality.Under AV you do not want every one to have the same rights,only the losers to have unequal rights.
      I am afraid until you can answer the question as to why losers should have two votes that count against everyone elses one that counts you have lost the argument for AV.
      If you only want a candidate elected with over a 50%majority, that election has to be a two candidate poll.If you come up with a fair way of getting there,as i have if you really read and understand the blogs,then you might have an argument, but that is not what is on offer in this referendum

    4. sue_m says:

      I can only assume you deliberately choose to ignore that every single voter gets a vote counted in the second round (1 man.1 vote per round) because it does not fit with your “some get 2 votes, others get 1” argument. If you really believed it you could not countenance a run off election where there are several rounds of voting, yet you endorse this method in other posts simply because a voter can change his/her mind. Whether they change their mind or stick with their original preference (as is likely if that pref is still in the running) they all get one vote per round just as AV gives but in AV it’s all in one trip to the polling booth. That is (again) the answer to your question – however much you claim it, no-one has more votes counted than anyone else. End of.

    5. adrian clarke says:

      Sue-m how to twist the truth to seem as if something is fair.If the answer to my question is that “they all get one trip to the polling booth ” under the cheats charter.You believe it is alright,as i said earlier you have a shocking understanding of democracy,
      How can you equate the fact that the winner and second have one vote but the third or eliminated candidate have their first vote and then a totally different vote(second preference) counted.Now to me and most sensible people that adds up to two votes.If you consider that the winner and second have one vote but you will count that same vote again and call it two.That is totally indefensible and undemocratic as i have said many times.Your dismal knowledge of one man one vote should gain votes for the NO lobby
      Whilst i am at it .Your suggestion that a voter can have as many preferences as candidates is also totally immaterial as only the second preferences and only of eliminated candidates are counted.
      I just hope that the public tommorrow see the farce of going down the undemocratic road you support .

  49. Saltaire Sam says:

    My last word on the subject (honest)

    I just hope that in the end people vote for whichever system they feel will produce a government that most closely mirrors the wishes of the people.

    Too much of the debate has been about which party or individual will gain or lose.

    Many people seem to be voting No to embarrass Clegg or Yes to give one in the eye to Cameron.

    I read an interesting article that said that many of the leading opponents of AV are the very MPs who would be in most danger of losing their seats because they have such a small lead in a minority vote.

    Elections should be about the will of the people not the fate of individuals and this particular vote will have repercussions long after most of the individuals involved have departed the scene.

    1. emu says:

      Saltaire you have at last said something sensible about voting..
      Like it or not FPTP actually normally(except in Scotland) mirrors the view of the people.You could have a sensible discussion about not letting the Scots vote in an English parliament,as they have their own parliament.
      Having said that,those that espouse AV seem to assume that the British voting public have a 50% desire to have a particular party in office, but that is not the case.So why do the AV supporters want to create that position? If you look at opinion polls it is Labour 40% Tory 38% Liberals 14%,so why should a voting system be any different
      You have produced an excellent reason not to change the system Saltair :)

  50. Meg Howarth says:

    As Jon started the AV blog, thought I’d let his cousin Dan have the final say: http://bit.ly/kKqwI2

    Let’s hope commonsense prevails on Thursday!

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Meg i saw his political broadcast tonight and what a travesty of the truth.Voting is not 3 candidates for different pubs and one for a coffee shop.If there are 4 candidates there a 4 distinct different parties and agendas.
      Unlike in is totally incorrect message, every person does not get their second preference votes counted.
      The broadcast was a blatant lie and not worthy of the air time it was given

    2. sue_m says:

      Voting isn’t a running race either – its a popularity contest – but i guess it is ok for No2AV to blatantly lie.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      sue-m, where have I lied about the farcical undemocratic nature of AV ?
      As for a popularity contest, if you wish to go down that line ,do contestants in true popularitycontest have to get 50% of any votes.Tell me that is so in Eurovision or Miss World.I seem to recollect that the AV supporters on here tried to ridicule a race result but wanted to compare it with a decathlon.

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