Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Five lies told about AV

1. "It's too confusing."

No it isn't. It's no more confusing than going into a restaurant, asking for steak pie, being told it's off, and choosing something else from the menu. Eating out would collapse if the British people couldn't handle this level of complexity.

2. "It's ridiculous that the person who came second could win."

The sporting analogies deployed to support this argument are rather simplistic, and take no account of qualifying rounds. What essentially this argument is saying is that it is ridiculous that Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix at the weekend, because Sebastian Vettel had won pole position in the Qualifying.

In any case, it is rank hypocrisy for this argument to be deployed by a man who became leader of the Conservative Party after coming second in the intial round of the leadership election.

3. "Nobody uses AV."

Many more people use AV in some form or other than those against admit, including, as noted, the Conservative Party in its leadership elections.

4. "A vote for a mainstream party gets counted only once, but one for a minority party like the BNP could be counted two or three times."

Nonsense. All individuals' votes are counted an equal number of times, until a result is achieved. If anything, the opposite is true - a vote for the Conservative Party will be counted two or three times, whilst a vote for the BNP may be counted only once, before they are eliminated from the contest.

Minority parties like the BNP in fact have a much better chance of getting in under FPTP than under AV. Under FPTP, an MP could be elected with 20% of the vote, if no-one else polled more. But if that 20% were the only people who would vote for this party under AV, then the MP would be elected on the basis of second place votes.

5. "It breaks the link between MP and consituency."

No it doesn't. If anything, it strengthens that, as an MP has to be responsive to more of their consituency than just the 30% who voted for them as first preference, and constituencies end up with MPs who are at least acceptable to more than 50% of the electorate, as opposed to being preferred by 30% and despised by 70%, as can happen under FPTP.

What it does weaken (and why I think some in the political establishment are so hostile to it) is the link between MP and party. More and more MPs would have to put their constituency's interests ahead of their party's (q.v. Boris Johnson, who regularly puts what he perceives of as Londoners' interests ahead of what the government wants him to do). I'm all for that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agreed = AV works well here in Australia ... and has for over 70 years !

cheers Tom in Bondi