Posts Tagged ‘elections’

The biggest argument so far for AV is the opposition

February 20, 2011 Leave a comment

This week I happened to blearily catch Tory and No to AV Finance Director Charlotte Vere on BBC ‘news’ (it’s not a patch on the Today Programme) arguing against the AV voting system.

Now, I’m not really a fan of AV; I think that it’s too small a step from our current system (First Past The Post) to really make a difference.  I also think that the other elements in the bill, such as redrawing the boundaries (like that won’t lead to gerrymandering) and  fewer MPs (further centralising power) makes the bill pretty unpalatable on it’s own.

But there is one thing that makes me vote yes; the ‘No To AV’ campaign.

Which brings me back to Charlotte Vere; 2010’s unsuccessful Conservative candidate for…the Green’s only success, Brighton Pavillion.

One of the things Vere argued was that AV was bad because it allowed fringe parties in.  I’ll bet.

But she started with a rant about how confusing and complicated AV is.

Because ranking your choice in order is really complicated.

Well, yes, I suppose it could be, but mostly in the sense of ‘which one of these do I actually want to vote for?!’ I’ve said it before, but what we really need is something that allows for ‘none of the above’ or even ranking against so you can say ‘whichever one gets in, for the sake of [insert personal deity here] don’t let this git near power!’

It’s insulting, basically.  Most organisations use some form of ranking method in their voting systems – the student union, national unions and even political parties for feck’s sake.

Political parties use some form of AV for leadership votes.  David Cameron was elected on an eliminationist ballot.  Labour used a straight-up AV method to pick Milliband.

At this point the No campaign (and let’s remember people in both major parties are involved there) isn’t just saying ‘you’re dumb’, it’s saying ‘you’re dumb because you’re not one of us’.


And even Students’ Unions use an AV method for voting.  Students, a group constantly ragged on for being constantly drunk, not being able to write and without ‘life skills’ (whatever they are – usually ‘making money’ and not ‘learning to clean up after yourself’).

Of course, if you really want a laugh, compare the No to AV and Yes to AV ‘mythbusting’ pages.

Now, like I said, AV is a pissy method for our elections.  I know because I researched a project about it last year for my governance module.

You see, Labour promised electoral reform and quickly got on with an investigation into what worked.  The result wasn’t AV – it was more PR based.  But what it was didn’t matter, because Labour didn’t like the idea any more now they’d sussed how to work FPTP and kicked it into the long grass with another investigation.

Which said broadly the same thing.  As did a third report.  At that point they  put Jack Straw, a man who despised the idea of electoral reform onto the case, just to make sure it died.

So, yeah.  I don’t like the bill that’s been passed, but my influence on that is pretty low.

But I can vote for a new voting sytem and, which I think it’s far too little, far too late, I’ll go for it.  Because if you can judge a man by his enemies, you can do the same with ideas.  And on that count, AV starts to look pretty good.

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