Monday, April 04, 2011


On Balance I'm Voting For AV

A few weeks ago I was unsure whether to vote for AV or not. One of my commenters, Hughes Views, suggested a win for AV would postpone indefinitely any chance of PR, the real objective of voting reformers like he and I. I've been thinking about it ever since but after reading the Observer editorial yesterday I decided support even for this 'miserable little compromise' as Clegg dismissively described it, is preferable to sticking with the useless FPTP system. Andrew Rawnsley's piece was also persuasive I found.

he key element in the editorial for me was the following line:

'The fact that change is modest is no case for the status quo.'

I accept that a small change could 'close down' the issue for years and the necessary change to PR delayed indefinitely. But our system can change at a truly glacial rate- look at the House of Lords for example, still substantially unreformed despite a century old consensus that it should be.

The arguments for and against are complex but the concluding section of the editorial is convincing enough for me:

'Coalitions are here to stay even under the current system. A hung parliament was elected because neither of the two biggest parties commanded enough support to be trusted alone in government. The idea that they should seek remedy for that decline by propping up a system that helps them cheat is lazy and arrogant.

AV is not perfect. No system captures the will of the people with photographic realism. The goal is a fair approximate, and FPTP fails utterly. It distorts, obstructs, obscures and perverts voter choices. It causes tens of thousands of votes to be wasted; it forces people to endorse candidates they don't like, just to punish ones they like even less.

AV will not solve all of the problems of British democracy. It will not undo the harm of the expenses scandal, nor provoke a renaissance of civic participation. It is only a reform. It promises one thing: by taking account of multiple preferences, it would elect a parliament that more accurately describes the political complexion of the nation. That is a start.

Well if you are in favour of AV, then any rational person should oppose it.

Especially after the Yes2AV campaign has been caught red handed after axing the face of Benjie Zephaniah from its campaign material from leaflets being delivered outside of London.

Yes2AV replaced BBC's favourite black poet on literature with another leftie (big surprise,that) Tony Robinson.

Considering how the Yes campaign has been dismissing claims by the No2AV campaign that the BNP would be a winner under the alternative vote it seems an odd decision to remove Zephaniah’s face over fears (what else ?) that his dreadlocked image won’t play well in less ethnically diverse areas such as Cornwall or Sussex among others.

The Yes Campaign has denied it kept the black poet off leaflets, but its denial is hard to swallow when you look at the leaflets up on the Newstatesman blog.

Now you see him now you don’t.........

The Zephaniah story reflects very poorly on the Yes campaign and has already spawned a dozen or more stories with headlines like “The Yes to AV campaign must think the West Country is packed with racists” in the Telegraph.

Terry Paul, a spokesman for the No campaign, told the Groan: “Why are Yes2AV ashamed to have the support of Benjamin Zephaniah in places like Cornwall and Hampshire? The Yes2AV campaign’s leaflet offers a preview of politics under the alternative vote. We have warned that AV would encourage parties to pander to extremist opinions in a chase for second and third preference votes, but we never imagined the first example of such outdated views would come from the yes campaign itself.”

What it comes down to is that AV is not a truly proportional system; it is overly complicated; and it will more than anyone else benefit one party : the Liberal Democrats. If we are going to reform our electoral system let’s do it properly. AV doesn’t do that. Most small parties who are losers under first past the post will remain losers under AV. They just get their vote counted a few more times. End of.

Kind regards
David You say:
. "If we are going to reform our electoral system let’s do it properly. AV doesn’t do that. Most small parties who are losers under first past the post will remain losers under AV".
For once I do so agree with you. Lets go the whole hog and adopt STV! So glad to have you on board.
Agree however Zepaniah thing is shameful- no excuse. But if AV is going to advantage BNP how come they don't support it....?!
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