Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Right Hon Alan B'stard speaks

This little video is getting a full thuggish astroturfing by the Yes2AV crowd - whom it clear scares witless.

( And this from someone who has yet to make up his mind how to vote on AV ).


Joseph Takagi said...

First, what's the difference between a politician making up a load of drivel under FPTP or under AV? Absolutely nothing.

Second, people do judge the parties based on the deals they make despite being in a coalition.

Thirdly, voters are more likely to vote for alternative parties, threatening parties that lie rather than just voting Conservative because they just don't want Labour/Labour just because they don't want Conservatives.

The parties backing No2AV know this. They know that it's not just the LDs, but potentially parties like UKIP, Scottish socialists and so forth - disenchanted Conservatives won't just tick Conservative because they have to vote tactically, they'll pick UKIP as their first vote.

JoolsB said...

If you want to see a permanent coalition with Nick Clegg more often than not the Kingmaker, then vote YES to AV. If you want to see decisive government where the tail isn't wagging the dog vote NO to AV. Of course if England had it's own parliament none of this would be relevant as England would now have the party it voted for, ie. a Conservative Government. I hope AV does not replace FPTP, can't see the point when the constituencies are being equalized anyway, but if for no other reason I want to see the Lib Dems obliterated at the next GE for their blatant betrayal to the students of England.

Wildgoose said...

OK, I plead guilty to the crime of psephology (the study of elections) and also voting systems.

At the Count on the very first time I stood for Parliament I gave a speech in favour of Electoral Reform.

I want Electoral Reform. I want a fairer voting system.

And for those reasons I oppose Alternative Vote because I don't want to replace a bad system with one even worse.

I was going to spoil my ballot by writing English Parliament Now on it, but I can't take the risk, I shall have to vote NO.

Consider the following. There are 4 candidates. In the first round all the votes marked "1" are added up with the following result:

A gets 33%
B gets 32%
C gets 31%
D gets 4%

Candidate B is well liked. So much so that all of A and C's second vote transfers (where they voted "2") are for B, meaning B has 96% of the first and second preferences.

But the extremist candidate D is eliminated first. Knowing this will happen and also his own weak position, C has pandered to the extremist's position and thus gained the second preferences from his voters.

These second prefernces for the weakest candidate are now added to everybody's totals.

So we know have:

Candidate A: 33%
Candidate B: 32%
Candidate C: 35%

In this second round the second preferences of A, B and C are all ignored, only the votes for the eliminated candidate are counted again. They have gone to Candidate C, meaning that B is no longer in second place and is now last - and so Candidate B is eliminated.

Note that Candidate B had more first choice (and also second choice) preferences than Candidate C and yet Candidate C goes forward.

The lesson from this is that it pays to pander to extremists because they're the first to be eliminated.

And also that the most broadly acceptable candidate loses because the second preferences of the majority of the votes cast are never counted.

Basically, it's a stupid system.

I am not arguing in favour of First-past-the-Post, I want to replace it with a fairer system. I just don't think that Alternative Vote is that system.

I don't think that AV is as bad for the Tories as a lot of left-wing commentators assume though. For example the Tory candidate will no longer worry about the threat UKIP poses because he will just assume he will automatically pick up their second preferences no matter what.

The big parties have both the money and the voting inertia which means they will automatically pick up enough votes not to be the first to be eliminated.

I don't believe Alternative Vote will help small parties at all. It will just polarise elections even further, whilst magnifying the swings between the 2 biggest parties.

A sensible change that counted everybody's preferences simultaneously would be to switch to Approval Voting whereby you vote for ALL of the candidates of whom you approve, with whoever gets the most votes winning the election. It's simple, and mathematically it has been proven that there is no fairer electoral system for returning a single candidate.

But unfortunately, that isn't what is on offer. Alternative Vote, if passed, will mean no electoral reform for at least a generation. It looks like Proportional Representation because you number your votes, but it isn't proportional. And when nothing changes it will just sour people's attitude for genuine reform.

Or at least, that's my take on it. Feel free to nitpick!

Man in a Shed said...

@Wildgoose - Interesting.

If the AV referendum gets a No vote there will be almost unstoppable pressure for STV for the house of Lords reform, to compensate the Lib Dems. ( The reverse will be true if it passes. )

So oddly the Lib Dems are really campaigning against themselves.

Gilbert Fiddler said...

"So oddly the Lib Dems are really campaigning against themselves"

So no change there then...