Info on AV vote



Why are we having a referendum on how we elect our government?

There has been no consultation of the populace, no discussion of the many different voting systems we could choose from, just a referendum that has come out of the blue.  Why, because Nick Clegg wanted it to show his party that he was fighting his corner at the Coalition table.  As he himself said it is a ‘miserable little compromise’.

Yet AV is more likely to lead to Coalition governments and more deals of this nature to patch up an agreement. It has been suggested that politicians will have to broaden their base of support to secure second preferences but what will that mean?  I fear that it will lead to blander politics as politicians become even less likely to promote their policies so as not to offend anyone, and therefore picking up 2nd, 3rd and 4th preference votes.  This will give us fewer political opinions to chose from. 

The bland leading the blind

When all these bland politicians are elected they will go into a huddle and make bargains for personal power and ditch the few manifesto pledges you elected them to enact.  We, the people, will be blind to their deals and powerless to shape them.  ‘Settling for AV is a pure politicians fix’ as Pam Giddy, Chair of the Yes to AV steering committee said in May 2010.

So how does AV work?

Imagine a bar with 8 glasses all part filled in decreasing volumes but with no one glass being 50% full.  Each glass represents a political party and the share of the vote they receive under the current system.  With the existing system called First Past the Post everyone has one equal vote and the fullest glass is the winner.  Under AV no one wins until more than 50% of their glass is full.  So after the first choice votes have been counted the smallest glass is shared amongst the other glasses according to how those in the smallest glass declared their second choice.  If still no one has 50%, the next smallest glass is redistributed in the same way, which has probably been topped up by the second choices of the smallest glass.  Typically this will happen at least four times before a winner is declared.

A dangerous cocktail

The result is that those in the fullest glasses, probably representing two thirds of the electorate will only have one vote but those in the smallest glass might get four or more votes.  It gets very complicated and is very opaque.  By the time the result has been declared all the different drinks will have been so mixed up as to taste unpalatable, induce a severe hangover and damage your constitution forever afterwards.

Only three countries in the world use AV; Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Australia and of those only PNG want to keep it.  In Australia they remember Tiger Hewson who was elected despite the fact that he was the first choice of only 16% of electors.  2.4 billion people use First Past the Post, 29.5 million use AV.  We have other, higher, priorities for the £250 million pounds this referendum would cost us.

Be under no illusion this is a dangerous cocktail that would irrevocably change the way we are governed because we will be ceding control of the choice of government to backroom deals after, not before, we make our choice at the ballot box.

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Vote NO on May 5th

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