15 Apr 2011

Are You Stupid Enough to Vote No in the Referendum? Part 4

I'm genuinely astounded by those who are intending to actively vote against AV on the basis that they would prefer PR.

A recent conversation on Facebook;

[Person]"Obviously I was planning on either abstaining or voting no as I don't think either system on the table represents a particularly convincing democracy. I don't like the idea of voting for a least worst option!"

[Me]"I'm intrigued - you'd rather go for more of the same? Rather than a chance in a life time to change politics?"

[Person]"No, I'd rather have PR where my first choice would be genuinely represented in the constituency of parliament. Isn't this what lib dems were after too? AV looks like a pretty shabby compromise. I'd be more impressed to hear them arguing passionately for the best possible system; then they'd have my vote!"

I could lecture for some time on the benefits of AV over FPTP, but for digestable appetites, I will break this into a variety of discussions.

AV is an Opportunity of a Life Time

2. Rejecting More of the Same

3. History Shows Us Nothing

4. Simple, Clear and Decisive

Cameron also asserts that FPTP is "clear, simple and decisive". The No Camp are threatening all sorts of complexities in AV. As fellow blogger Politico Maniac puts it, "find a way to explain AV so that it’s so simple even children understand.

And I would argue that focusing the mind of the voter on the range of candidates is just what the UK needs to detract from extremism, blanket voting and tactical voting.

Once again, FPTP is only as simple as AV, and this merit is knocked into the shadows when compared with all of the many other advantages of AV;

At least 50% representation of votes
No more tactical voting
MPs do not get safe seats, or seats for life

Implicitly MPs will have to work harder. Knock on doors, meet people, convince people.

Ultimately, the press will have to change tactics in manipulating voters towards one or another party.

And if we get another opportunity, we can move to STV.

But if we do not get AV, then we will not get this opportunity again. Do the naive honestly believe if they vote "No", Labour will come into power in 2015 and say, hey, let's have STV?

When Labour promised a referendum on voting systems in 1997 and 2003 yet failed to deliver both times?

Or perhaps the Conservatives will get a majority, and select to hold a referendum on STV, because they have actively promoted it so far...!


  1. "At least 50% representation of constituencies"
    This is not true. The 50% requirement is only true when giving a preference for every candidates is compulsory (like Australia). Under AV as it would be implemented in the UK an MP can still get elected without a majority of voters choosing them.

    "MPs do not get safe seats, or seats for life"
    This is also not true. At the last general election over 200 MPs were voted in with over 50% of the vote. These would still be safe seats under AV.

  2. Hi Andrew, I've edited it to "votes" now and apologise. However, I am pro compulsory voting. Here's hoping.

    200 is less than a third. There would be a significant reduction in liklihood of safe seats under AV.

    Assuming you are on the No camp?


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