Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Would You Give Your Second Preference To?

This week the government floated the possibility of introducing the alternative vote system of PR into UK general elections. In addition to their normal vote, electors would also be given a second preference. Imagine you had to do that at the next election. Which party would you give your second preference to? Take part in my completely unscientific poll...


Anoneumouse said...

José Manuel Barroso.

Anonymous said...

Why is there no option for an independent?


EPP rules OK

Anonymous said...


Mostly Ordinary said...

Why on Earth can't they leave well enough alone?

This nonsense about 'engaging voters' and 'reconnecting' as I heard some New Labour talking head drone on a few weeks ago is as irritateing as it is pointless.

The reason people are disconnected form politics is because their vote means nothing anymore.

Fifteen years ago if I voted for a local election I knew that whichever group got into my local council they would have the power to address issues like, housing, planning, social services, education and law and order. All stuff that affects me everyday of my life.

Not know, centralised policy dictates, Quangos, the bloody London Mayor have all eroded my most powerful of votes leaving no choice but to vote for the party I think can implement central government's policies with the least impact on my life.

At a local level I'm essentially elected a manager - it's rubbish.

As for the MPs if they want to reconnect with me not being too embarrassed to tell me how much of my cash you're spending would be a good start.

Can't we just get Gordon Ramsay to run the country? At least we'd have decent nosh and he'd make MPs clear up their own crap.

Anonymous said...

Whichever party paid the most to 'take care' of my postal ballot for me.

Mike Wood said...

How would a transferable vote affect expenditure limits?

Now that the Green Party has entered into an agreement with Livingstone, if they distribute leaflets or post letters asking people to use their second vote for Ken then shouldn't that have to count towards Ken's expenses? After all, someone who votes for the Greens and then Ken as their second preference is worth exactly the same amount as someone who votes for Ken with their first vote.

Anonymous said...

Iain, AV is not a form of PR. It is simply a different way of electing single member constituencies. As you pointed out in your previous post, it can lead to less proportional results than FPTP if everyone is ganging up on one party.

Tristan said...

Please stop referring to AV as PR. It is not.
AV is not proportional, calling it PR is just plain wrong.

PR entails some degree of national proportionality in allocation of seats. AV doesn't provide that.

Anonymous said...


This is a genuinely interesting topic - but lets be clear here. This is not about re-engaging voters it is about electoral calculus by the party in power.

I had a lengthy debate about this with my wife last night who is from Newcastle and she says that in that Labour stronghold this proposed system of voting may not go the way that Labour think it will.

Her thinking was that a lot of Labour voters might actually switch their first vote to Libdem if they think there is a real chance of the party getting in to power. Up in the North East both Tory and Libdems have been gaining ground in local elections and as we know local election issues can eventually spil over to national party issues.

Our considered opinion in the end was that this new system might well end up favouring national parties in Northern Ireland, Scoland, Wales and recreating the old political system of England (Tories and Whigs) with Labour being soundly beaten in all countries with a minority position in each. The upshot of this would be that those on the right of the English Labour party would go and join an new Lib-Lab Dems party with the old Labour candidates agreeing to stand on a combined ticket where they won the seat last time and the old Lib Dem candidate standing where they won last time.

I would vote Tory as first candidate and LibDem second but as it is a staunch Tory constituency where I am that would make no difference, even if all Labour and LibDems clubbed their votes together.

Anonymous said...

If this lot are looking at it they must think it would be to their advantage. That is the ONLY reason they are interested.

Anonymous said...

You put the Ulster Unionist Party / UUP in twice.

Oscar Miller said...

Are you allowed to give a second choice that is the same as your first choice? And if not, why not?

Anonymous said...

I would probably give my second preference to my preferred mainstream party, and use the first preference as an issue-based protest vote of some sort. A whole new kind of tactical voting, but makes more sense to do it that way round!

Anonymous said...

Iain -- did you leave us off your list of parties by oversight, or out of fear of the possible result of your unscientific poll?

Patrick Vessey
Libertarian Party

Iain Dale said...

LOL. Yeah, I'm frit. You weren't included because it never occurred to me to include a party that has never stood in a General Election.

Anonymous said...

Care to add us then?

I'll be happy to take the mockery if your poll result justifies it!

Anonymous said...

Care to add us then?

I'll be happy to take the mockery if your poll result justifies it!

Iain Dale said...

Can't I'm afraid. If you add another option once a poll has started it skews the figures.

How many candidates are you intending to field at the next election?

strapworld said...

I would give it to either UKIP or the BNP just to spite this lot's face.

Scipio said...

Iain, as I understand it, you don't have to give a second preference!

You can simply indicate your first preference and leave it at that.

That way, your vote counts for the party you actually wish to win, and not a party that you dislike slightly less than the other parties whom you don't want to win - which is what PR actually is!

Anonymous said...

As many as we are financially able to. However, it wouldn't be cricket to appeal for funds on your blog, but if you are feeling flush, then you know where we are ;-)

Anonymous said...

Mebyon Kernow. Why aren't they an option when you have other minor parties? They have plenty of councillors and support in Cornwall and stand in general elections which is the excuse you gave for not including the Libertarians. You've included all the other nationalist parties, why not MK?

Scipio said...

Iain, remember in 1997 when, worried that they might not get their second term in office, the Labour party looked at PR as a way of securing the good will of the LIb Dems. They even had a commission to look into it and produce reccomendations. It was headed up by Woy Jenkins I seem to recall!

Then when they realised they didn't need the Lib Dems in bed, and that they could win on their own, the commissions findings were shelved and have sat gathering dust ever since.

However, now that it looks like Labour will lose the next election, I suspect they have dusted off Woy Jenkin's report and are now thinking about introducing PR as a way to ensure the centre left has a permanent hegemony in UK politics!

Or am I just being cyncial?

Anonymous said...

Second preference voting would give groups like the BNP a genuine opening into mainstream politics, which makes me a little nervous about it.

Scipio said...

Strapworld. Voting BNP doesn't spit in 'this lots face', it spits in all our faces!

The BNP are scum and although I wouldn't ban them, I would certainly vote just about every party under the sun before they got my vote.

In fact, they would never get my vote. They are a rancid dispicable and foul bunch of people who do true nationalists like myself no favours, as they define nation by the colour of your skin.

At times, the UKIP seem to be of a similar bent, although I cannot accuse them of being racist. Ironically, I agree with their position on the EU - but wish they would express it in less jingoistic ways.

Anonymous said...

Now that we know most MP's are crooks. Yes fiddling expenses is a Criminal offence. I have decided to join them and sell my vote to the highest bidder.

Anonymous said...

Ahem its a poll!! Libdems, like most second prefs.

I would support AV provided that it was only used, if a candidate received below 45% of the vote.

Get 45% and above your in, below and 2nd prefs are counted, good chance you'd still get in. It would prevent these three way splits where some one gets in on 34% of the vote.

Paul Burgin said...

Interesting thought, esp as I am pro AV.
I think my second choice would depend on the constituency I was in and what I thought of the other individual mainstream candidates.

Roger Thornhill said...

"Can't I'm afraid. If you add another option once a poll has started it skews the figures. "

Sounds like the whole system if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Adrian Yelland

"BNP scum etc"

Their policies or their members or both? How many BNP members have you met and engaged in dialogue with?

I am not a member but having listened to the real concerns of a number of BNP members, understand why they see merit in this political option.

One could employ the same epithet with regard to individual members of most parties including the Conservative Party.

Anonymous said...

Barroso and his chums are running our lives now anyway.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to give my second preference to the SNP but I live in the Duchy of Lancaster

Anonymous said...

"Voting BNP doesn't spit in 'this lots face', it spits in all our faces!"

It would be interesting to know who the "our" Mr Yelland is referring to. The BNP have attracted around a million votes at local & national level in recent elections so there's a sizeable proportion of the population which thinks, if its face is being spat in, the saliva isn't coming from the direction of the BNP.
What problem do you people have with democracy? Personally, I'd consider voting BNP, or Communist for that matter, if it shook the major parties out of their complacency. The presence of a few 'extremist' English MP's who actually have some convictions rather than their eye on their pensions & allowances would be a refreshing change. No one seems to have any objection to Sinn Fein do they?

Bill Quango MP said...

I vote Steven Spielberg for Schindler's List

Anonymous said...

You should have included the Libertarian party. You clearly know we exist and as a blogger you must also know that libertarianism is quite well supported online.

I find your reasoning to be very disingenuous. Most of your readership comes from England, how many candidates has the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein, DUP, UUP, SDLP or Ulster Unionists ever had in England?

Anonymous said...

Of course what should be added is "none of the above"- and if that got most votes, noone would get elected.
That might make things slightly more interesting if we go down the road of AV, mandatory voting and other ideas on raising turnout.

Scipio said...

P Johns: read the post before making stupid comments. I have no problems with democracy, which is why I said I would not ban them!

Campaign against them yes, ban them no! I leave it to the authoritarian left to ban them!

The 'our' in my post is society and country as a whole. We are all shamed by the BNP!

I abhor the BNP as they see a problem (multiculturalism) and draw a conclusion about how to solve it which is (a) simplistic, (b) unworkable (c) illogical, (c) racist and (d) dangerous as it incites violence against non-whites, and creates even more tensions between whites and non-whites. They draw the same conclusions about problems as Hitler drew - mainly that you can make mass assumptions about whole groups of people simply because of their religion, race or sexuality.

In short they are the ultimate expression of an authoritarian, racist/nationalistic party, who abhor the conept of individual freedom and liberty. As a libertarian I oppose them because they oppose freedeom, not because I am a sandal wearing beardy liberal lefty! I am an economic and social liberal who is oppossed to big state, big corporations and people who seek to control other people.

In short the BNP fail every aspect of John Stwuart Mill's test on liberty!

The BNP are a racist party in that they oppose the precence of people in this country only because they are non-white! This is from their own website which proves the pioint:

"On current demographic trends, we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years. To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question".

So, they want to stop people coming here and then send them home because they are not white!

I want to send people home and stop them coming here because they are bad people, criminals and take the mickey out of this country - not because they are non white!

Who are the 'indigenous' British people the BNP are so concerned about. The UK is a nation of immigrants! I have Spanish, Irish and God knows what else kind of blood in me. If I was black/coloured or purple, I would still be British (well, English actually)!

Crackers: I think the policies are dangerous and I wouldn't hesitate describing the few BNP members I have had the unfortunate pleasure of debating with as 'scum'. I could also use 'pond life' and 'cerebally challenged' too!

The ones I have met are simplistic, unwilling to concede that any of their doctrine is dubious, they are blatantly racist, generalist and don;t recognise thet people are individuals and shold be judged by their actions, not their skin colour!

I was once told by one BNP member that "Hilter was right, I won't be happy till the niggers and muslims are dead"!

I fully understand the concerns of the white 'working class'. I know they feel strangers in their own country'. I know they have a right to resent multiculturalism and positive discriination, and the evils which tolerates the destruction of our society in favour of a multicultural 'soup'.

But the BNP are not the answer. They BNP are thugs who seek to use the failure of multiculturalism as a justification for racist tendencies.

You can recognise the problem of mass immigration is a way that is (a) colour blind and (b) doesn't say "black = bad, white = good"

Personally, I think Enoch Powell was right about the consequences of mass immigration which was not suported by mass integration. But Enoch Powell would NOT support the BNP today and would probably be horrified that he be associated with their conduct and their view of people.

Powell was a sympathetic humanist, and his definition of racism which he defined when he was interviewed by David Frost in the 60's was something that no senseible person would disagree with.

Anonymous said...

Adrian I undertand the so-called 'nasty' side of the BNP all too well.

Yet many who are now prepared to vote BNP do so despite their reservation of the inherent racist bias of the party. They do so because their concerns that the ruling parties of the last 30 years have allowed mass and unchecked entry, legal and illegal, into this country with the consequent dislocations in housing, education and sense of national identity.

I wonder what Mr Powell would have to say. BNP are giving a message to the main parties and slowly Brown and Cameron are waking to the fact that there is structural imbalance that if not corrected will lead to BNP doubling its vote.

So easy to call then scum and dismiss them as racist. Just listen more closely to the subtler messages emanating from their vote collecting. We may usefully regard this improvement in their vote as an early warning signal. Thats all.

Guthrum said...

Oh dear no LPUK or Mebbyon Kernow, if its not at the Westminster village pump it does not count.

Baldwin said...

Perhaps the alternative vote questions should have had 'none of the above' options.

In my constituency, I would want all my limited voting power confined to the Conservatives.

Scipio said...

Crackerss: Remember when the dockers and the white working class trade unionists marched on Westminster demanding that Enoch be made PM! Had the Tories adopted his polices under Heath, there would have been a landslide victory for the Tories.

Those same fears are still there today. The white lower middle and working class see their 'culture' evaporating before their eyes. But they wrongly conclude that the answer to this is to vote racist.

It isn't!

I understamnd how the BNP are trying to play on peoples fears about schools, access to public services and crime. THese are valid concerns, but the BNP is not te answer.

the mani parties understad that whilst the appeal of the BNP is its simplistic solutions, the problems are not so simplisic to resolve.

But I also concede that whilst all the parties pander to the notion that multiculturalism is inherently good, and that whilst we allow anyone who raises so much an eyebrow over the issue to be stereotypes a racist, the BNP will prosper.

The ironiy is, i am often accussed of being a racist because I have strong views on multiculturalism. However, the truth is the opposite, I am the least racist person going as I treat people as individuals and am colour-blind.

The trouble is that multiculturalism is not building a cohesive society they naively thought it would - but driving divisions along racial and religious lines. Instead we need to acknowledge the different backgrounds, cherish and celebrate the good, whilst promoting the primacy of the best bits of British culture, law, society and history.

For the record I would much rather my daughter dated a middle class Asian/black kid than the kind of chav white trash which votes BNP!

And I am sorry - anyone who advocates murdering people because theu are black/muslim is in my book scum!

Scipio said...

Crackers: Have you ever seen Powell's interview with Frost? It was the the best put down of the claim he was racist anyone could make. He said that essentially he ragarded black people as 'equal but different'!

I would agree. Asian cultures, AFro Caribean cultures, even Polish cultures are all equaly valuable and deserving of respect - but different. This is fact, not racist propoganda.

How you use that fact determines if becomes racist!

He said that all non white cultures were equally as valid and worthy as his own (he was no cultural imperialist), and that they had an absolute right to exist and prosper (yes, he used that word). He denied that he made judgements about people simply because they were black, but judged them on their charactor.

He simply said that if we allowed the unmanaged mass immigartion of the 50s/60 to continue, it would case tensions because whites would resent the presence of immigrants - especially during economic downturns and high unemployment, and because black people would understandably wish to celebrate, live by and practice their cultural norms in an environment which was not receptive to those practices.

He felt that allowing this to happen in an unmanaged way would create problems, especially amongst second generation immigrants who felt isolated from wider 'white' Britain, yet not quite fully at one with the culture of their parents.

How right he was.

And remember, he was someone who had many black and asian friends, and was widely resepcted by his peers. He was born and lived in India, and certianly resepcted those who had a different cultural background to his own.

Was he racist - certianly not. He just spoke an unfortunate truth which even today is the 'issue which dare not speak its name'!

THe nettle needs to be grasped for all our sakes, or else the scum BNP will start to make serious in roads.

Thanksfully there are excellent role models in the black and asian communities who recoignise this too, and we should be grateful for them, rather than the idiots which surround people like Ken Livingstone.