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Vote NO2AV - An Anti-AV Argument

Friday 29 April 2011, 21:34
By Nick Colbert

[Editor: The debate on electoral reform warrants thorough discussion by both supporters and opponents of the Alternative Vote system. We look forward to reading your comments if you agree with Nick, but we also invite anyone with an alternative view to comment on this, or one of the other related articles we've published, listed below:]

- Pro-AV article by David Heath, published first in the Western Gazette
- Pro-AV article by Peter Roberts

That anti-AV logo you see all over the placeLets start with Winston Churchill, one of our most cherished politicians who started life off as a Liberal before changing his views and joining the Conservative Party. He said AV is the stupidest, least scientific and most unreal voting system, where worthless votes for the most worthless candidates are used again and again. Sir Winstons thoughts can't be overstressed, our elections would often be decided by the votes of extreme or lunatic fringe parties voters second or third preferences.

Nick Clegg himself described the proposed AV system as a "miserable little compromise" before the last general election making his real thoughts clear. He knows AV is a poor system and far worse than First Past the Post. His choice is Proportional Representation, an entirely different thing to AV. I suspect the reason Nick Clegg supports the AV system in the short term, despite it being a poor system, is because he believes it to be a stepping stone towards PR, which is his real goal. AV would give them an additional 20/25 seats making it more likely he could form a coalition with labour, and he would then demand PR as a condition of his support. PR would put the Lib/dems as the smallest party in permanent coalition power.

David Owen has said, "I support a PR system, but I will be voting 'no' in the AV referendum... I have been a long-standing supporter of proportional representation and joined the Electoral Reform Society in 1985... [AV] will replace a bad system with a worse one...". Again a supporter of PR who acknowledges AV is a bad system.

In 1998 a report into the alternative voting system was Chaired by Senior Lib Dem Roy Jenkins he concluded a move to the AV voting system would be bad for the country - his 3 main conclusions were:

  • AV is less proportional than First Past The Post
  • AV's effects are disturbingly unpredictable
  • AV is unacceptably unfair

So many people with Liberal/Lib/dem/SDP backgrounds have been honest enough to say that AV is a very poor voting system.

Several historians, writing in a recent edition of the Times say that the principle on which democracy is built will be threatened by AV. These historians include Simon Sebag Montefiore, Prof. Niall Ferguson, and David Starkey. In a joint statement from the list of prominent historians, they said:

"Men and women have fought for the right to vote. That long fight for suffrage established the principle of one man or woman, one vote. The principle is that each person's vote is equal, regardless of wealth, gender, race or creed."

AV destroys this principle by allowing the most worthless votes to be counted over and over again.

First past the post is used by half the planet (21/2 billion people) including major democracies like the USA and India.

Only 3 countries in the whole world use AV and they all have problems with it:

  • In Australia 78% voted in the last First Past The post election, only 59.4% voted under AV, then they made voting compulsory, now 60% of the Australian people want to change back. The complexity of the system meant Australia's last election took 17 days to be resolved.
  • Fiji has had a military coup after the result of an AV election and has since banned any further elections.
  • In Papua New Guinea they had one election under AV, in 2007, but voting was so complicated that even with a population of fewer than seven million, it took 23 days to determine the result.

AV has been tried in three provinces in Canada and a handful of city elections in the US. Resulting in confusion, controversy and rapid rejection of AV.

AV was simply the result of a fudged compromise between two men who had not slept for 48 hours trying to reach a coalition agreement. Nick Clegg wanted PR David Cameron wanted First Past The Post - no one wanted AV.

Certain people will vote yes putting what they perceive as their party's interest before those of the country.

For the country's sake I'm definitely voting No!


Posts: 1
Pro and Anti AV
Reply #1 on : Sat April 30, 2011, 10:15:20
Here are some thought-provoking articles. Pro AV from the Indy. Johan Hari.
Pro AV Jon Cruddas also from the Indy
Anti AV Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph
Andrew Gilligan on Australia - Neither pro nor anti, but very interesting. AV seems to be working rather well there but is no panacea.

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