Monday, February 08, 2010

Brown's AV Fiddle: Now We Know

Tomorrow, Parliament will vote on whether there should be a referendum to change our First Past the Post electoral system to the Alternative Vote system, where you rank the candidates.

Gordon Brown's deathbed conversion to AV has flummoxed many, as it was he who scuppered such a deal with Paddy Ashdown in 1998. But those wonderful academics at the University of Plymouth, Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher have revealed the reason why Brown now thinks AV is best. It would give Labour more seats! Bet that's surprised you, hasn't it! According to their studies, if there had been AV for the 2005 election, Labour would have won 364 seats rather than 356. The Conservatives would have won 15 fewer (183, asopposed to 198) and the LibDems would have gone up from 62 to 71.

It doesn't surprise me that Brown would seek to fiddle the electoral battleground in this way.

What does surprise me is that the LibDems will apparently vote for a new electoral system which is even less proportional than the existing one.

Actually, I take that back. It doesn't surprise me at all.


Paul Halsall said...

The AV system may be less proportional, but it is clearly fairer and more representative in individual constituencies.

Plus you cannot rule out in advance effects the system might have on voting behaviour. Many people might cast their first vote without trying to be tactical. That alone could really shake things up.

In France, where the two round system is in effect a form of AV, the system does produce a fairly effective system of proportionality.

Weygand said...

"and the Lib Dems would have gone up from 62 to 71"

And so the Lib Dems would prefer the status quo because..?

Jason O'Mahony said...

Iain, It's a bit stomach churning to listen to defenders of first past the post complain about vote rigging. The fact is, the Tories had no problem with a voting system that gave them 60% of the electorates seats with only 42% of the vote. Now they are getting all high moral ground about AV? Please!

Stream of Consciousness said...

It's a cynical move.

As I blogged yesterday, he's only doing it to gain LibDem support in the event of a hung Parliament.

Duncan Stott said...

...and what doesn't surprise me is that the Tories will vote to keep the system that will hand them power at the next election.

Glass houses, stones.

Jason O'Mahony said...

Now I come to think of it, don't the Tories use a form of AV in their own leadership elections? Good enough for the Tories, but too fancy for the riff-raff?

Anonymous said...

As a supporter of PR I would rather Labour had done this after it won big majorities in 97 or 2001, when it would have looked like the principled and decent thing.

It's still the right thing to do, but now it looks shabby. Labour's failure (and the Tories' self-interested support of FPTP, plus a gerrymandering reduction in seats) will put the cause of PR back a generation. As a result my vote (in a super-safe seat) counts for nothing. Democracy, my arse!

Anonymous said...

After 13 years of doing nothing, i'm all for a voting system that decimates this scum. So if it is 'first pass the post', then TFL Labour.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

1) This is legislation to enable a referendum, not the system itself. If the public supports this change, what is your objection.

2) The Lib Dems are tabling an amendment for the referendum to include a PR option.

3) If you oppose PR, in what way can you object to a system on the basis that it isn't proportional? Of course it isn't! Only wingnuts in the Conservatives have ever claimed it is. Are you claiming that FPTP is somehow the perfect level of disproportionality? On what basis?

4) In one respect, the Railings and Thrasher analysis does suggest that a move to AV would be more proportional: it would mean that the Lib Dem share of seats would be increased (while still only giving them half the number of seats they would be entitled to under any proportional system).

I genuinely don't understand the Tory opposition to AV. All AV is is a supercharged version of FPTP. Those of us who want PR have good reason to feel ambivalent about it but it does everything FPTP supporters have ever defended whilst increasing voter choice.

Twig said...

Brown is a genius with figures like Madoff was.

These people use smoke and mirrors to achieve their goals, and so manipulating the voting system comes naturally to Brown.
We have seen this with the postal voting scams. Even his own position was achieved through bullying rather than the ballot box.

Expect Labour to use loads of dirty tricks and false promises in order to save Brown's bacon.

They'll be chasing the sympathy vote next...

Alex said...

It is surprising how many puzzles can be solved more easily from the most likely answer.

Richard Manns said...

@ James Graham

1) Does one forfeit the right to think that something is the wrong thing to do, just because the median chap on the street who bothered to vote disagreed with you?

2) And the odds of that getting through are... nil.

3) One can object on the basis that it is CLAIMED to be more proportional.

4) That's one party becoming more proportional vs. 2 parties becoming less. That's called "cherry-picking the data".

5) There are plenty of reasons. For instance, it encourages the candidates to be the "least worst option", rather than the best. It thus discourages positions on the basis of change and radicalism, in favour of people who sit on the fence and try to have it both ways, failing in each.

richard.blogger said...

Iain, let be explain AV to you. You get a ballot sheet and you list your first preference, second preference, third preference etc. Then at the count if no one gets 50% of first preference votes the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and their second preference votes are distributed. This continues until a candidate has 50% of the vote. Simple, huh?

Now let me explain first past the post. You get a ballot paper and you mark your preference (let's call it first preference). That's it. The person with the most first preference votes gets elected.

Tell me, if at the 2005 election people only gave their first preference votes, how did the "academics" at Plymouth determine what their second preference votes would be, so that they could determine the effect of AV on that election? They can't. So the "research" is not conclusive, it is just one opinion.

Please think things through before you blog about it.

Anonymous said...

Newsnight reported this days ago.

In the same election, had the system been PR, Labour would have had 227 seats, Conservatives 209, Lib-Dems 142 and others 67.

James D said...

I am horrified to agree with Dr Brown that expressing ranked preferences within single-member constituencies is a good idea. What I disagree with is his AV method of counting them -- essentially it means that the (second preference) votes of people who vote for candidates who finish 4th count more than the votes of those who finish 3rd (and so on). This can easily be avoided by using a counting method that complies with the Condorcet criterion, for instance the Schulze method. But perhaps that would genuinely be fair, and wouldn't favour the Labour Party so much.

Frugal Dougal said...

AV would only be fairer in seats that have been gerrymandered to produce Labour victories no matter what happens - and which, through the law of unintended consequences writ large, are going to produce BNP victories.

So when are we going to get the referendum on the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty, I wonder?

Frugal Dougal said...

AV would only be fairer in seats that have been gerrymandered to produce Labour victories no matter what happens - and which, through the law of unintended consequences writ large, are going to produce BNP victories.

So when are we going to get the referendum on the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty, I wonder?

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

1) Does one forfeit the right to think that something is the wrong thing to do, just because the median chap on the street who bothered to vote disagreed with you?

No, but it does cease to be "Brown's AV fiddle" and becomes "the public's AV fiddle".

2) And the odds of that getting through are... nil.

Absolutely, but that is our position.

3) One can object on the basis that it is CLAIMED to be more proportional.

Who is doing the claiming? I hear Tory wingnuts doing the claiming but Gordon Brown explicitly stated it wasn't proportional in his speech last week.

4) That's one party becoming more proportional vs. 2 parties becoming less. That's called "cherry-picking the data".

Of course it is. But then, I'm not claiming that it is a more proportional system. Nonetheless, there is nothing dishonourable about the Lib Dems seeking to go from being disproportionately represented to slightly less disproportionately represented.

Of course, one could point out that looking at the the 2005 results in isolation and not previous elections where AV would have actually worked less in Labour's favour (in 1979 it would probably have helped Thatcher) is cherry picking the data. Not being Chris Grayling, I'm not an expert on this sort of statistic massaging.

5) There are plenty of reasons. For instance, it encourages the candidates to be the "least worst option", rather than the best.

So does FPTP

It thus discourages positions on the basis of change and radicalism, in favour of people who sit on the fence and try to have it both ways, failing in each.

So does FPTP. Only more so, because rather than merely campaigning for a second preference, under FPTP you have to be all things to all people to get the one (and only) preference.

Phil said...

And what happens under AV if someone only votes for a first preference - and that candidate fails to get enough votes? There will then be no second preference vote to be passed on. Many people could find themselves dis-enfranchised by failing to put enough preferences in.

wild said...

In the present voting system the Labour Party gains 10 seats for every 1% of the vote, and the Conservative Party 5 seats for every 1% of the vote.

Social justice dictates that the Labour Party ought to gain 20 seats for every 1% of the vote, and the Conservative Party 2 seat for every 10% of the vote.

All thinking people agree that the present Labour government has been an outstanding success. Indeed most reasonable people accept that all future candidates ought to be selected only from lists approved by the Labour Party.

I think a permanent government of the Left (drawn from a wide variety of members of Left wing parties) would (at last!) bring the United Kingdom into line with other more progressive societies.

Hertel said...

Why are you wasting your time?
That academic paper is junk.
It rests entirely on a set of assumptions about things that nobody can possibly know.

wild said...

P.S. All Tories are wing nuts.

Newmania said...

We know is is anti Conservative and low gerrymandering, because otherwise Brown would never have suggested it .
The prospect of a thousand year Reich of Lib Dems and New Labour is the goal there is no reason a strong first choice should be equated with weak second choice .
I think under such circumstances it is not acceptable for Liberal Candidates to refuse to tell us whether they would sell their votes for a New labour stitch up and five more years of Brown . Norman Baker , that fraud , is keeping very quiet
Having established their thousand year Reich ,those who feel the centre should have even more disproportionate power than it already does might like to think about how far to the left of the country our Politicians already are on the folowing issues

1 Immigration
2 Crime
3 Europe
4 Abortion ( a range of social issues )

They talk about a progressive majority there is no such thing . Some Conservatives are bought with money taken from other conservatives and they are added to the Progressive pot

Roger said...

AV works ok in selecting individual candidates but I have my doubts about its effectiveness within the existing constituency/boundary system. What seems odd to me is why Gordon is so keen on a referendum on AV only, when it has never been discussed on its own merits or by comparison to something else.

Seems to me that you either have a proper debate on different forms of PR and put that to a referendum or you keep the status quo and work towards a longer term solution to the antodemocratic bias in English politics

Newmania said...

This is legislation to enable a referendum, not the system itself. If the public supports this change, what is your objection?

Ha ha ha , coming from the lying rodents weaselled out of the promised Lisbon referendum on the basis it would be lost this is a rich tripe pudding ( and then supported Brown in the Lords in case anyone thought their ridiculous story was not a lie )
No-one asked for this referendum . There is no clamour to change the voting the system so why does it arise . Well ...Brown is a Mugabesque would be dictator who will stop at nothing and the Liberals are cock smoking stand for nothing lackeys who cannot be allowed to go to the electorate without making their position on the Brown Reich clear

How about it Norman Baker .... are you going to continue this fraud or not ?

Anonymous said...

I'm not an academic, so my quick scan of the 2005 results that suggests that LibDems would have gained between 32 and 40 seats from AV (most of them from Conservatives) is less well-researched than Messrs Ralling and Thrasher's estimate of 9, but I suspect that the LibDem research unit is nearer my standard than that of Plymouth University. Hence they think they are being offered a 50%+ rise in the number of MPs, and naturally they should jump at it.
Brown is pushing it because he reckons that it increases the chance of a Lib-Lab coalition when the Conservatives have the largest share of the vote but less than 55% since most LibDem activists and candidates are left-wing (although it appears that a majority of LibDem voters are Centre-right).

Anonymous said...

@hertel and @richard.blogger
There have been dozens of opinion polls that ask voters what their second choice would have been. The actual results when only two parties out of three contest an election tend to support the picture given by the polls.

Anonymous said...

Everybody who is commenting on AV - READ THE JENKINS COMMISSION REPORT from 1998! This explains much better and in much more detail, better than any of us can, why AV is such a grossly unfair system and its 'proportionality' is a myth - and that's coming from a Commission under a Labour government.

Gerry57 said...

Gordon Brown is suddenly a democrat who is in favour of referenda. Usually he avoids anything with the word 'vote' or 'voting' attached to it. He avoided a leadership election. He promised and then reneged on an EU Constitution referendum. When Harriet Harman won the Deputy Leadership election, he ignored the wishes of the members by scrapping the post of Deputy Prime Minister and recalled unelected Mandelson. Brown is just leading the Liberals a merry dance (as before). It's just his insurance policy to cling to power in a minority government, post election.

DespairingLiberal said...

I wonder what methodology Rallings & Thrasher used to determine the preference transfers? Did they carry out some kind of polling at the last election on a nationwide basis?

If not, their forecast is so much hocum, as others have pointed out.

Perhaps the BBC or someone did though and that's the data they are using. Do you know Iain?

DespairingLiberal said...

Newmania, in all seriousness, if you had spent even 10 minutes in Zimbabwe under the real Mugabe, you would not be comparing Gordon Brown to him. Some of you backwoodsmen Tories really do need to think about maybe getting a life.

Anonymous said...

Lib Dems are just a shameless bunch of second rate Labour politicians that work under a slightly different brand.

Labour/LD are part of the same franchise. Both are bankrupt, both are rotten to the core, both are self-serving and both are facing defeat. Indeed Lib Dems are worse than Labour for their sheer pomposity and the fact that they do not believe taking £2.4 Million in stolen money is not just wrong but they deny it and try to think they are being clever using politician speak to get out of it.

Labour/LD will do anything to keep there snouts in the trough - thus Labour/LD will try changing the voting system. Labour/LD are just a cynical pact that serves the two well. Time folk woke uptoi this fact and slung the Labour/LD parasites out!!!

Anonymous said...

One just can't say that the 2005 election would have been such and such a way had such and such a system been in force.

You just can't!

Without further information I don't understand how you can quantify or eliminate the effects of:

- Voters acting differently under a different system (evidence from ballots indicates their alternative vote would go to...?)
- Parties (assuming same number etc) resource allocation and perception
- Press coverage
- Inter-party relationships
- Protest votes, tactical voting, Iraq effect, etc under a different system

I'm not saying you're wrong that Gordon is choosing the most advantageous system - Like you, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Halsal - AV is not in the least proportional and is not representative, as the evidence from the post shows.
Indeed explain how AV can be both 'less proportional' and 'more representative' at one and the same time?

Dear Richard.blogger -- just how is it fair or proportional or anything to allow the voters for a party who came last to vote for who actually wins?
And if their votes skew a certain outcome how can you possibly know how other people might have voted if they had known what the worst loosing party's voters then switched to? And so on?

This is fair? In a dogs breakfast it is fair.
Seems James D agrees.

Baldwin said...

If I am correct AV has a weakness in that following the first count some second and subsequent choices are given the same value as first ones.

I don't see this as particularly fair. Presumably the most popular candidate could be beaten by the least unpopular.

Anyone favouring PR should examine the dog's breakfast Israeli system.

wild said...

I think they we should have whatever voting system results in the party I approve of obtaining power.

The party I approve of is ipso facto the right party for government.

We ought to have whatever election systems keeps the government I approve of permanently in power - ideally with political decisions (made by people I approve of) who it is not possible to vote out.

tapestry said...

It is always surprising to find the Lib Dems, Labour and other europhiles toying with the electoral system. Labour and Lib Dem would be wiped out by PR, if the European elections in 2009 are any guide.

EUrosceptics 45 MEPS or 62.5%

Conservative 26 MEPs out of 72
SF 1

Europhiles 27 MEPS or 37.5%

Labour 13
Lib Dem 11
PC 1

Based on 2009 EP results, a coalition between UKIP and Conservative would hold a 54% majority.

Labour and Lib Dem coalition would hold only 33.3% combined!!!!!!

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...


FPTP is even unfairer and more pernicious.

Currently, if my first preference is for a party in third or fourth place, I can either stick to my guns and vote for it - in which case my vote is worth nothing - or I can vote tactically - in which case my second preference is worth as much as it would be under AV.

AV isn't less fair than that; it just enables people to cast their vote according to their preferences more efficiently than FPTP.

AV stinks as a system but most of the criticisms here only highlight quite how dreadful FPTP really is.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...


You realise Mugabe relies on FPTP to retain his hegemony don't you? I don't realise why Tories keep raising this spectre when electoral reform is an issue you can't stick a fag paper between Mugabe and Cameron on.

Anonymous said...

Graham - how is it more proportional if it gives Labour more seats and Tories less?
Just because it coincidentally gives libdems a few more - you claim it is OK! Rowlocks.

Thank you 'Wild' for clarifying your (and Brown's) position.

Illiberal Democrat ... correct, you really should not beat about the bush though, just come straight out with it.

Just consider the likely reality under PR. Say Labour as largest party and LibDems as minority party form a govt.
The end result is a mess.
An election leaves the tories as biggest party and the libdems still as a minority but despite their former association with failure they are needed to form a majority coalition with the Tories.

In other words the minority party is the tail wagging the dog. this has regularly happened in Germany. We will not dwell on what the mess that is coalition politics has done to Italy.

Is this democratic??

There are many flavours of PR and they all have faults - look at the complex one Greece has. The silly point about PR is the convoluted ways they go about keeping the real minority loony tune parties out, yet supporters still claim them to be proportional.

Hypocrisy or what?

Anonymous said...

@ Baldwin
Your comment deserves a philosophical debate.
(i) The idea of STV (described in this blog as AV) is at the end, the winner is preferred to the loser by a majority of those expressing any preference. This strikes a lot of people as a good system for choosing their MP (hence FTPT). However STV does not guarantee that if the winner had been matched against the third-placed individual he/she would have been preferred by the majority nor does it take account of the degree of preference.
So if the 2nd, 3rd and subsequent preferences under STV were weighted - e.g if there were five candidates each 1st preference vote scored 4, each 2nd preference vote scored 3, each third preference 2 and each 4th preference 1 - some would think the candidate who got the highest score best represented the wishes of the electorate. A few would say that this is no more reliable than giving 1 to a 1st preference vote and 0 to all others, since you don't know the degree of preference between 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd choice, but most would say the error is less than that or when you give all preferences equal weight.
On the other hand, it verges on the unworkable as the more complicated a system you produce the easier it is for parties to "game" the system. The Royal Statistical Society uses STV because it expects all its members to understand it but does not weight votes - and if they do not think it is practicable & worth doing, I suspect that it won't work for the lumpenelectoriat.
(ii) STV or "AV" is not the same as the Israeli system and does permit, in single-member constituencies, the electors of Wyre Forest to elect Dr Taylor.
PS I am not in favour of PR which places too much power in the hands of the party machines

bewick said...

actually this is all flim flam.
The REAL issue is the constituency size. They should ALL be the same (ish) and they are far from that.
In very large constutencies (electorate wise) rather more votes are wasted on failed candidates than in others.
I rather think that Scottish constituencies have disproportiate weight because of their relatively small size.
FPTP frequently returns a Government with more seats but a minority of the actual vote.
The FULL PR which the LibDems favour would certainly, but imperfectly, better reflect popular opinion. It would also give us regular hung parliaments, as per Italy. Not at all good for effective Government.
When I studied constitution I was drawn to the Single Transferrable Vote. That is you choose 1 and 2. 2 only comes into play if 1 is in the bottom x%.That is it redistributes votes from the no hopers to the next preferred

It is likely to make sure that a Party will not form a Government when the majority of the population is AGAINST the actual winner. Tories and Labour have frequently won with more voters against them than for them. It may not produce an overall majority but it IS much fairer, easier to administer,and far more understandable.
That is. You want the Greens to win (God forbid) but you most certainly do not want, say, Labour. Easy. Your 2nd choice would be your preferred from the 3 main parties since the fringe parties are unlikely to succeed so a vote for another fringe party would be a simple waste.

As I said though the REAL issue is constituency size and the Boundaries Commission hasn't done a good job on that.
India has 500 Mps for 1 billion people. too few I'd say but WE have too many and they are paid the same for massively differing potential workloads.
Or am I being too naive?

wild said...

I think that anybody who disagrees with me is automatically a racist.

Simon Gardner said...

@Richard Manns said...
“That's one party becoming more proportional vs. 2 parties becoming less.”


You do know that makes absolutely no sense, don’t you?

DespairingLiberal said...

All those of you who are so against AV need to write to the Tory Party and ask them to stop using it for the election of - wait for it - Leader of the Conservative Party.

Agreed though that AV does suck but it sucks less than the current farce. Since people in the UK would probably never support real PR, I can see why the LibDems would give in and vote for AV as it's at least a small step in the right direction, even if Brown is only introducing it for game-playing reasons.

Listening to Hilary Benn defending it on Today this morning was toe-curling - his papa must be throwing up every time he hears the Son these days. Oozing insincerity and a tongue stuck up Big Gordie's arse, a politician through and through. I lump HB in with Mandleson in my mind these days.

Newmania said...

James you have missed the point. If Mugabe had thought PR would keep him in( and it makes little odds in that case) ,then PR it would be. Got it ?
The point here is the extent to which ad hoc electoral reform arguments ( and there is no special case for AV ) can be used by the Party of Government to benefit their own Party. It is the central point of the States powers being used for Party advantage l. This is important can you not see that ?

Behind the newly discovered principle is a deal between Clegg and Brown (and not the first actually ). It would be the fifth Lib Lab pact following looser alliance of the period of New Labour in which the Liberals Party were on the left advocating more spending .
OK fine , then I want my MP, Norman Baker, to either confirm this or rule out a Lib Lab pact and / or any power sharing whatsoever to shore up Brown . I want him to do it when he appears this Friday to blather on about sustainable futures and dogs mess in his usual; childish Noddy world fashion .If he cannot then I want him to fuck off as do the majority of his constituents on those terms . Fair ?

Continued lies and gerrymandering of this sort will also break the UK because if the English are going to be permanently disenfranchised by an elite determined to cling to power whatever they say then we will have to have our own Parliament an up to date boundary commission and free the English

DespairingLiberal said...

I agree with you bewick about the constituency sizes, but isn't that an argument that supports genuine PR and large multi-member constituencies?

India is an interesting example to raise because like the US Senators, it's national representatives are shamefully out of contact with average voters. It seems that Britain as a smaller country can do better.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...


I'm sure Mugabe would support PR if he thought it would help him, but back in the real world it doesn't so he doesn't.

Meanwhile, David Cameron supports FPTP because - wait for it - he perceives it benefits him. After all, AV worked fine for him in his campaign to get elected as leader of the Conservatives (which is why you don't have David Davis in charge).

As the article above shows, the Tory objection seems to be rooted in the fact that it can be less proportional than FPTP; yet they oppose proportionality in electoral systems.

The naked opportunism is astounding.

Newmania said...

Lloyd George defended FPTP from the pressure exerted by the upstart third Party "Labour “ when it seemed to suit the Liberals just fine. Funny that . There is always pressure from small and minority Parties for their power to be magnified above that of larger parties by rigging the system in return for propping them up
In the past the out-going main Party has not decided to move the goal posts so they will not lose the game and trade on these terms .As so often New Labour are a New low
We saw over Lisbon how far they are prepared to go , (What did arch Europhile Ian Paisley get eh ?). Brown clearly has no interest in electoral reform as a matter of principle ( see ten years of ignoring it ). He is using state power to sell the centre what they always want , in return for keeping his hands on the State .If the past is any guide he will never actually hand power over but Cleggy will have entirely joined the establishment which is all he wants
The Liberals are “Knickers down ready for when Brown comes home “ . I blame the John more than the whore ,whores however is what you are and cheap ones at that .There are numerous electoral arrangement s which would suit the Conservative Party far better than the current one so your supposed equivalence is nonsensical .

How can you remain a member of this Party ? I would be to ashamed to go out of the house

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...


You mean you aren't ashamed already? Wow.

Yes small parties have often called for PR but they are no more acting out of self interest than large parties in blocking it. The difference is that while a party that is currently massively under represented might want proper representation, the larger parties tend to be fixated on retaining their own disproportionate level of representation. PR is at least defensible from the position of principle whereas FPTP can only be defended out of self-interest.

Thus I win.

wild said...


The Left are instinctively totalitarian. You and I both had a pretty good idea of what to expect from a Labour government (essentially the weakening of Civil Society) but in 1997 we both (I suspect) just shrugged our shoulders and thought that it is not good for any government to stay in power for too long. This is not how the Left thinks.

A good society for the Left is a society in which all opposition is eliminated. If a way can be found that keeps them permanently in power they will grasp it, with not the slightest regard for the health of a free society.

They do this because they are not interested in a free society (or a prosperous society or a just society) they are interested in power (for themselves).

Their narcissism is such that any system that puts them into power is ipso facto the right one. Trying to connect a Leftist to any reality other than their own narcissism is pointless.

They are in this sense profoundly anti-political.

Any system that effectively closes down debate (by having the same people permanently in power - namely themselves) will be welcomed by them.

Englishman said...

Fly on the wall at the last (behind closed doors like North Korea) EUSSR Summit:

"Oh and one final thing Gordon, we want you to convert England to the AV voting system as thats the way we do it in EUrope, it will make our complete takeover of England and their conversion for Brussels rule much simpler, we knew all along we could count on you Scots, keep up the good work!".

Newmania said...

The small Party would not be under-represented if it got bigger you nit ! Its the same for everyone and a system that makes the least popular Party the most powerful in deciding who governs is not defensible by any means . The House of Commons is first past the post . So actually you want PR to decide the environment then First past the post once your in . I`m shocked , shocked !Its not a principle at all

In any case the point of this is not that the weeny number of people who care if Cameron or Clegg is drawling at us it is delivering freedom choice and a country that is want its people want .Currently the Political class is far more Liberal than the people , more international , more socially Liberal and considerably keener on at large state is surveys are to be believed .Your claims to want democracy are therefore provably ad hoc lies and amount only to a willingness to do a deal with Brown precisely to frustrate the wishes of the electorate. Further proof ? We will not be told about the deal until after the election . So where did your precious ‘democratic principles’ disappear to when it came to telling the voters what they are voting for ? Aha …up in puff of equidistance .

Conservatives have far more valid complaints as they lose out badly in the existing system on the same level of support not to mention giving Labour areas such as Scotland and Wales to England’s one. There is not a scrap of sense on what you say James but from your feeble inchoate prattling one thing is clear . Lib Lab Pact 5 will be showing at a Cinema near you soon .
Be afraid , use your vote wisely . Baker out !

Cheers brother Wild , well said

Jimmy said...

Part of the problem is that many don't seem to understand how AV works and how it differs. Let us take the following hypothetical election:

DC 56
KC 38
DD 62
LF 42

Clearly under FPTP, DD is the winner, but some would say 31% is not a good enough mandate, so under AV KC is then eliminated and his supporters rally behind their second (choice producing a result as follows:

DC 90
DD 57
LF 51

And so on and so forth until a candidate reaches 50%. This ensures that the winner is the person who is most broadly acceptable (DC) rather than the one who may have the most first preferences (DD).

This does raise the interesting question of whether something might have happened to convince conservatives that such a system was undesirable?

NB Any resemblence to actual persons is purely coincidental.