In 2015, if the Lib Dems hold on to as many seats as latest polling suggests, should we thank NO2AV?

liberal democrat tory conservative logosEarlier in the week, Stephen Tall covered the latest Ashcroft poll of Lib Dem held seats, which was encouraging. Over on Political Betting, our old friend Mike Smithson offers this intriguing thought:

If the LDs hold on to as many seats as the latest polling suggests then Clegg should thank NO2AV.


Mike opines further:

In almost all of the seats the yellows look set to retain their vote share will be in the thirties. They’ve lost a lot of votes since the heady days of May 2010 but the Tories have lost nearly as many in these seats because of the huge seepage to UKIP.

The fact that there has only been a 2% LD to CON swing in these seats is down mostly to the losses that the Tories have suffered to UKIP .

The NO2AV team pushed FPTP as a way of preventing coalitions, but the UKIP effect seems to be working in the opposite direction, making coalition more likely under FPTP, as Mike observes:

Looking at the details of the switching it is not hard to extrapolate what things might have been like with AV. Many more of the UKIP voters would have made CON their second choice rather than the LDs thus boosting the blue totals in these battlegrounds.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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92 Comments

  • Yes, the Lib Dems are lucky that AV lost in 2011. They are likely to benefit from tactical voting and split votes to their right and left.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “What a delight it will be when the realisation finally hits the Tories that, had they supported AV in the referendum (and had it therefore almost certainly been passed),”

    Really? Can I remind you of the result – 32.1% voted Yes and 67.9% voted No, a difference of 35.8%.

    If an endorsement by David Cameron would have had enough electoral power to swing that result the other way, one has to wonder why the Tories didn’t win by a landslide in 2010!

  • I supported AV, but in retrospect it was a lucky miss not just for the Lib Dems. However, it is entirely possible that even with cross party support it might have been rejected by the electorate in a referendum albeit more narrowly. After all it could just be that voters were rejecting AV rather than any particular political party.

  • The simple point needs to be made that in 2010, Lib Dems gained votes but lost seats, therefore the a decreased vote cannot be automatically correlated with a loss of seats.

    A principle benefit of AV is that enables observers to know where people’s preferences lie. With FPTP this can obviously be obscured. I do not believe that Lib Dem support in Rochester is really less than 1%; I do know that had I a vote there, my objective would be for anyone other than UKIP. The Rochester vote is primarily a consequence of FPTP.

    Why the leadership were taken in by the Conservative’s specious AV referendum offer is one of the mysteries of the Party’s history. Really it was only viable as an offer from Labour. Whatever the result in 2015, the AV vote was a calamity for the Party. The only advantage should be that when electoral reform is revived on the political agenda (it needs to be prominent in the manifesto) AV should be off the table as a matter of course.

  • @Simon Shaw
    Let me remind you of that result again, as I don’t think you saw it :-

    32.1% voted Yes and 67.9% voted No, a difference of 35.8%.

    Why you should think the Tories had the power to “almost certainly” overturn that scale of defeat is baffling. The days when half the country do what Labour tell them to do and the other half do what the Tories tell them to do are long gone!

  • It was polling of some of the Lib Dems safest seats. The Con -> LD swing is the same (2.5%) as other Ashcroft polls which when aggregated have the party winning just 17 out of the 38 seats polled. All of those polled are in England & Wales

  • I thought that the Liberal Democrats’ support for a proportional system was based on impartial support for fair and equal representation, not a shallow and cynical ploy for short-term electoral advantage.
    Should I revise this opinion? Are we all for FPTP when it shows a monstrously disproportional advantage for the party?

  • David-1: You seem to be under the misapprehension that Mike Smithson of Political Betting is a voice of the Liberal Democrat Party. Mean while if the likes of Simon Show find some solace in observing the Tories shooting themselves in the foot; why should they be denied such crumbs of consolation?

  • Tony Dawson 29th Nov '14 - 2:21pm

    I am intrigued at the strange idea which some people have that UKIP votes would swing behind the Tories in an AV scenario (or vice versa).

    A good many UKIP voters prefer both Labour and Lib Dems to the Tories – especially where there are local Lib Dem MPs and councillors. That is not to say that either of therse parties are ‘closer; to UKIP across range of issues than the Tories are. But UKIP voters are not all like UKIP politicians in their ideas of what issues are most important etc.

  • Richard Dean 29th Nov '14 - 2:26pm

    AV and PR seem like ways the LibDems have of wasting time and avoiding the issues that the electorate find most important, which are probably the Economy, Immigration, the NHS, Education, Crime, and Welfare.

  • David Howell 29th Nov '14 - 4:43pm

    I remember when the LibDems supported full PR; not the watered down , pale imitation of it, called AV.

    But then again . . . I can remember when they said that they wouldn’t increase student fees.

    So how many seats do the LibDems think they will hold onto in Scotland? Or doesn’t that count.

  • Richard Church 29th Nov '14 - 4:44pm

    Yes, the ‘No’ majority was 35.8%. So it needed 18% of those who voted in the AV referendum to change their vote for ‘YES’ to win. Considerably less than half the number who voted Tory in 2010.

  • Simon Shaw

    Anyway, you are missing the key point, which is not so much whether the Tories swopping sides would have swung it, but that they vigorously supported the side which now seems very likely to be against their own interests in 2015.

    It’s the fact that they campaigned so dishonestly that largely accounts for my Schadenfreude.

    How do you feel about the lib dems campaigning for AV, something that would have severely damaged them had they won the referendum, but not PR, which is fairer, which they used to support and which would actually help them?

  • David Howell
    according to the Scotland referendum result — 55% of those voting indicated that Scotland does not count.
    They are more than happy with everything being decided for them by their more grown up English cousins in Westminster.

    Not my choice but it appears that the 55% were scared of people in Scotland making their own decisions.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem 29th Nov '14 - 5:18pm

    How many deposits are you looking to save Paul?

  • @Simon Shaw
    “I supported the campaign for AV on the basis that it is fairer than (and therefore an improvement on) FPTP. Maybe that’s why the Tories, Labour and others use it for their own internal elections.”

    That was always one of the weakest arguments put forward in favour of AV. Prior to the referendum, the ERS had a web page about AV on which they pointed out – quite rightly – that elections for multi-member organisations like Parliament are very different from elections for single posts like party leaders. They approved of AV for the latter but did not favour it for the former because it could be even less proportional than FPTP. (Strangely, this page was removed from their site as soon as the referendum was called!)

  • I have seen before the assertion that AV “could be even less proportional than FPTP” but never seen it realistically substantiated. Obviously in theory both systems could yield 100% of the seats with just over 50% support from the electorate, however on the same basis FPTP could in theory deliver 100% of the seats on 30% or less of the vote.

    I think it is just the sort of specious stuff you can expect from people who strain to defend the indefensible.

    Nonetheless it was very naïve to have been suckered by the Tories as we were. In retrospect, putting AV before the electorate only made any sense in conjunction with a party that gave broad support. It is one of those idle ‘what if’ questions: what would have happened if the Lib Dems had turned down the offer of an AV referendum? Would there have been a formal coalition? Would the Tories have agreed to a referendum on PR? Would, in the event of no coalition, there have been a collapse in the markets with Lib Dems singled out for blame?

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Nov '14 - 8:06pm

    David Howell

    I remember when the LibDems supported full PR; not the watered down , pale imitation of it, called AV.

    What a ridiculous statement.

    At no point did the LibDems drop support for full PR and instead adopted AV as a preferred option. It is perfectly possible to support AV in preference to FPTP while also supporting STV as a better option than AV. AV is not proportional representation, but it ends the way people have to make a guess as to which party is likely to be the main challenger and therefore feel forced to vote for something other than their first choice. The consequence of that is that most people stuck with the safe option, whichever of the big two parties they preferred. AV means that duopoly can be more effectively challenged. That is a good thing.It would be better still to have STV, as that also ends the way local minorities go without representation, but if all that is offered is AV or FPTP, of course we should support AV. That doesn’t mean abandoning our position that STV would be even better.

  • @Martin (after @Simon)
    “I have seen before the assertion that AV ‘could be even less proportional than FPTP’… I think it is just the sort of specious stuff you can expect from people who strain to defend the indefensible.”

    It was actually the ERS who were saying that – though they promptly deleted it from their website around the time they started taking a leading pro-AV role in the referendum! I guess they were worried it might cause them embarrassment.

    “It is one of those idle ‘what if’ questions: what would have happened if the Lib Dems had turned down the offer of an AV referendum? Would there have been a formal coalition? Would the Tories have agreed to a referendum on PR?”

    With the AV issue itself long since decided – this I think is the really interesting question.

    If memory serves, the Tories’ initial offer was for some sort of commission to look at the whole issue of the voting system for Westminster elections, the idea being that it would report back with a recommendation (that would presumably have been subject to a referendum) which the coalition partners would accept.

    Clegg rejected this and demanded an AV referendum instead – presumably because he preferred to have a guarantee of something rather than the non-guaranteed possibility of something better.

    I’ve always believed that to be a monumental blunder by Clegg, for the simple reason that FPTP is such an obviously indefensible system (unless it’s in a two-way fight with an even worse system of course!) that I don’t see how any such commission could reasonably have recommended no opportunity for change at all. It then follows that if the commission felt obliged to recommend a referendum on an alternative, then some form of PR would have had a very good chance of making it on the ballot paper, because again, it’s hard to see how anyone could defend AV when compared with PR.

    So in my view, Clegg rejected a good opportunity for a vote on PR for a guaranteed vote on AV, which wouldn’t have been much great shakes even if the referendum had been won, but as it was, the defeat was a colossal disaster for all supporters of electoral reform.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Nov '14 - 8:35pm

    Martin

    I have seen before the assertion that AV “could be even less proportional than FPTP” but never seen it realistically substantiated

    It could be, and it could be the other way round. The most likely effect of AV in previous elections was that the Liberal Democrats would get a substantial number of second preferences from Labour voters in those many places where Labour came third, hence a few more LibDem seats and a slightly more proportional Parliament.

    For it to go the other way round, it needs the vote-splitting effect of FPTP to counter the disproportionality. For example, suppose the population of the country splits 60% in favour of the left and 40% in favour of the right, and suppose there are two left-wing parties and only one right-wing party. For simplicity, suppose this 60/40 split is the same in every constituency. However, suppose which of the two left-wing parties left-wing voters prefer varies from constituency to constituency. Under FPTP, in any constituency where there is a fairly even split between the two left-wing parties, such as 35-25, the right-wing party will win. If the proportion of the constituencies where the left split was even enough to let the right-wing candidate win was 40%, then it would give a proportional result, at least if the way the left split went in the other constituencies meant the two left parties had a balance that represented their share. Now suppose that voters for each of the left-wing parties would always put the other as second preference. AV would then end that proportionality, the right-wing party would get wiped out.

    However, suppose the 35-25 split between the two left parties is the same in every constituency. Then FPTP would hand every constituency to the right-wing party.

    The argument for either system depends on the distribution of the vote. FPTP only seems to give a reasonable distribution of seats to the two main parties because their support is not distributed evenly. If the support for parties is more homogenous, FPTP is a disaster, as it leads to an almost one party state. AV doesn’t cure that problem.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Nov '14 - 8:46pm

    Paul Walter

    The NO2AV team pushed FPTP as a way of preventing coalitions,

    Yes, and they campaigned against AV as if it were proportional representation.

    The NO2AV campaign worked because innumeracy is considered a virtue in this country. Otherwise, most of what it said could have been torn to pieces.

    People voted “No” to AV on the grounds they didn’t like the LibDems “propping up the Tories”, and so voted for a line which said the best thing about the current electoral system is the way it props up the Tories by giving them far more seats than their share of the vote.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Nov '14 - 9:24pm

    Stuart

    Clegg rejected this and demanded an AV referendum instead – presumably because he preferred to have a guarantee of something rather than the non-guaranteed possibility of something better.

    In this case, I defend Clegg. To see it the other way round, consider House of Lords reform. The House of Lords kept its format for years because there was an effective alliance between opponents of any reform and those who wanted more radical reform than was on offer. The promise of bigger reform in the future always held off actual reform in the present. I can quite see the argument for going for an actual timetabled change than a commission which just pushes it all away. I think had AV got through it would have opened the door, and allowed further electoral reform to follow. That was why NO2AV opposed it as if it were PR, as they knew it would open the door to PR. And it is why everyone interpreted the victory for “No” as “that ends any chance of electoral reform” rather than “the people want more radical reform than AV, so we must push on to full STV to satisfy them”.

    Where Clegg and the Cleggies get the blame is the hash they made of running the “Yes” campaign. There were so many good arguments that could have been used to support it that weren’t used. At the heart of where the “Yes” campaign got it wrong was a snobbish perception that the plebs couldn’t possibly manage to understand a plain explanation of how AV would work, so it was sold instead with meaningless waffle. I am sure if AV had been sold with the line that it would enable independent challengers a more effective chance to compete against the established parties, and so break the establishment monopoly of politics, it would have gone down well. If the AV referendum were happening now, of course, the interesting thing would be that there would be a UKIP-LibDem alliance fighting for the “Yes” side. Imagine how that would change things.

  • @Matthew
    “Yes, and they campaigned against AV as if it were proportional representation.”

    That’s debatable. The No campaign spent a lot of time making the point that AV was not proportional. See :-

    http://stephentall.org/2012/04/23/av-house-of-lords-proportional-representation/

    “The NO2AV campaign worked because innumeracy is considered a virtue in this country. Otherwise, most of what it said could have been torn to pieces.”

    If Yes had won, you could have said exactly the same thing about them. The biggest mathematical porkie they told was their claim that AV would ensure that every winning candidate would have to win the “votes” of at least 50% of their local electorate. This was patently not the case. You could have easily had a situation where, say, 20% of the voters used only their first preference, for a candidate who was knocked out early in the process. Such votes would have been literally thrown in the bin before further counts, meaning that the remaining candidates would need only 40% to win.

  • @Simon Shaw
    Is that the reason they use AV though? If it is then they are obviously as deluded as the Yes campaign was.

    The only way the 50% claim could ever be true would be if you forced voters to use ALL their preferences, as I believe may be the case in some Australian elections. But of course when you do that, then the idea that all expressed preferences can be counted as “support” becomes ludicrous, because if everyone has to use all their preferences then basically every single voter has voted for every single candidate.

    It’s also quite obvious, when you think about it, that FPTP could be very easily modified to achieve the same “50%” threshold claimed for AV. All you’d need to do is count the votes; throw all votes except for the top two candidates in the bin; then count the remaining votes again. Et voila! A 50%+ vote is guaranteed for the winner! In effect, this is all AV’s 50% claim amounts to. (In fact if you had an AV vote where all voters chose to use only one preference, then this would be EXACTLY the outcome I just described.)

  • “Clegg rejected this and demanded an AV referendum instead”

    Is this statement a supposition or known to be true? My memory from the time does not include this narrative. Perhaps the claim is that Clegg made this known behind the scenes before the election. If so, I can see the logic if the deal was with Labour. Is it possible that there was a miscalculation that if such a compromise was possible with Labour, it could then be also accepted with the Conservatives?

    I do not wholly agree with Matthew Huntbach. The main problem was that the main advocates of AV were in opposition to the coalition. This meant that many in Labour found spurious reasons for voting NO, with a good measure of the “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” that Matthew characterises so well, thrown in.

  • Simon Shaw: an understatement.

  • Stevan Rose 30th Nov '14 - 2:11am

    The problem with methods that employ party lists is that people the electorate wouldn’t vote for as individuals still get elected. Two MPs that have represented me in the past, Robert Atkins and David Sumberg, were both turfed out by their voters only to turn up on the NW list for the European Parliament. AV works for London Mayor in the sense it doesn’t confuse voters, negating the complexity argument but the voters said no, so end of. I would advocate the top up method used in Scotland and Wales if a way could be found to stop rejects getting through via the back door.

  • Steve Comer 30th Nov '14 - 2:13am

    The big failure in the negotiation post-2010 GE was in getting the referendum on AV for Westminster elections, but doing NOTHING about Local Government. We have PR for local elections in Scotland and the GLA, and a bastardized form of AV in Mayoral elections, but there is no scope for anything other than FPTP in local elections.

    I have always felt that Westminster would be the last place we would ever get a reformed electoral system, so why not get this done for all the other tiers of Government before tackling the UK Parliament?

    I fear the problem is that the Liberal Democrat Leadership post-Kennedy has been obsessed by the House of Commons.

  • @Martin @Simon

    No, it is you two who fail to understand it – and I’ve given you a detailed explanation why instead of just stating that as an assertion. Try better. You might want to Google some of the other people and organisations who highlighted the bogusness of the No campaign’s 50% claim, such as Professor Richard Rawlings of the LSE who estimated that under AV more than 40% of MPs would still be elected on less than a 50% vote.

    All you’ve done is demonstrate yet another of the weaknesses of the Yes campaign. One of the criticisms of AV was that it was needlessly more complex than FPTP without giving any gains in terms of greater proportionality. The Yes campaign rejected this, saying that AV was incredibly simple and anyone who said otherwise was insulting British voters. But they showed time and again with their bogus statistical claims that they didn’t even understand AV fully themselves.

  • stuart moran 30th Nov '14 - 10:04am

    A lot of navel-gazing go on at the moment on the site

    I expect this is an indication of the trouble a party is in when it starts looking inwards

    The membership at the moment seems to be very split – between the ‘tribalists’ who support the party come what may and the ‘pragmatists’ who are looking at the biggers picture and the future direction

    It should be said that ‘tribal’ is not a pejorative comment, it just indicates that political party membership is a ‘tribal’ activity and loyalty is expected to the leadership as part of that

    The problem with a tribal approach is that most voters aren’t that way inclined, especially for the LD and I think that has in someway been the problem of the party since 2010. As a life-long LD voter I have always worked on the supposition that you were a liberal, centre-left party. I am led by my principles and not by the party – I would choose any party that is close to my principles and for years that has been the LD.

    One thing I say though is that I would never vote Tory. I never have done in the past and, as long as my principles stay constant, I cannot see any way I would vote for them in the future. British politics has moved to the right over the last 30 years and so I actually find myself to the left of all the parties, whereas once I may have been considered soft-right. Someone here, or elsewhere, mentioned that Ken Clarke is almost considered ‘left-wing’ now but I remember when he was in Government under Thatcher and people considered him on the reforming right of that party (although always pro EU)

    The left is now confined to fringes of the Labour Party, some in the LD and the Greens.

    The betrayal felt by people like me of the way that the LD have comported themselves in Government has been great. As I said I am not a tribal voter and I can no longer say the LD are closest to my values. Of all the parties that would norw be a Miliband-led Labour. Not at all perfect by any means but the fact that the Blairites are trying their best to undermine him and the oligarchs in the press hate him seems to give me some hope.

    The LD party as a whole has forgotten its voters in the pursuit of power. The party may be very pleased that it is in Government and some people may be very pleased with Clegg for that. For me he has precious little progressive to show for it. What has happened though is that is has hollowed out a mass of voters who will never forgive the party for supporting a right-wing shambles as led by Cameron and it is thes the party ‘tribalists’ try to pretend don’t matter. The ‘pragmatists’ seem to understand this well and are trying to mitigate the damage

    I await the results of this internal battle with interest – I may come back to vote in 2020 under a new leader and with the ‘pragmatists’ in the vanguard – no Clegg, Laws or Alexander anywhere to be seen. I am not that confident though

  • @Simon Shaw
    “I explained, at 9.53pm yesterday, why I think you are mistaken in what you say.”

    Yes, that was when you stumbled on the fact that the 50% claim only works by “discounting those who failed to exercise sufficient preferences“, which is what I was telling you from the start but you’re still pretending that I was somehow wrong.

    Of course any electoral system can guarantee a “50% vote” for the winner by simply ignoring some of the votes and counting the ones that are left. Isn’t that obvious, Simon? Keep thinking about it, I know you can do it.

  • @Simon @Martin

    I’ll make this as simple as I possibly can for you.

    Example:

    There is an AV election with three candidates – let’s call them Tom, Dick and Harry.

    40.1% of voters put Tom as first preference and Harry as second preference.
    39.9% of voters put Dick as first preference. and Harry as second preference.
    20% of voters put Harry as first preference, with no second preference.

    Harry is eliminated in the first round of counting as he has fewer first preferences than anybody else.

    In the second round of counting, Tom is declared the winner.

    Fact: Only 40.1% of voters expressed any kind of preference for Tom at all, yet he still won the election.

  • @Stuart. In your contrived example, clearly the bar has to be 50% of the available votes once you start eliminating candidates, not 50% of the turnout. Otherwise the election is void. In some countries they hold a runoff between the top two candidates where you will get a 50%+ result albeit on a lower turnout to the first round. If your example had gone to a runoff instead and voters had been consistent with the preferences expressed, Tom would win the election with slightly over 50%. All this does is combine primary and runoff elections into one.

    An interesting extreme example of instant runoff systems can be found in the Kennedy seat in the 2013 Australian Federal Election. Katter was way off in 2nd place, 10,000 short of Ikin. But won on preference votes, though still short of 50% of votes cast – informal votes are those we would deem spoilt. Bennelong in 2007 was less dramatic on numbers but more so on effect as it led to a sitting PM losing his seat despite winning the first round. You can see how this system would result in a candidate winning with less than 50% of formal (valid) votes should some voters not express a preference for all candidates. Based on results this electoral system does not seem to result in strong third party showings, Katter being a rarity, and was introduced to prevent the conservative vote being split. The Australian model of course includes a permanent Coalition element between Liberals and Nationals that is a warning for us.

  • Stevan Rose 30th Nov '14 - 1:20pm

    Just to add, as someone said earlier, in an Australian Federal Election for the House of Representatives you cannot get less than 50% of formal valid votes because a ballot missing a number is deemed Informal and is not counted at all. As a Lib Dem you would be obliged to give a preference to UKIP and the BNP. Thus you are forced to choose the lesser of two evils and the winner will claim your choice as their mandate. The Tom, Dick and Harry example would not work because all ballot papers would need to include 1, 2 and 3.

  • Stuart not only do you provide specious arguments that clearly fail to comprehend that AV gives voters the chance to give their preference in the event their first choice is not available, but you also provide links that fail to back up your assertions. Is this intentional or unintentional?

  • It’s not really good enough just to show a theoretical extreme example where the system would break down — you need to show, with real or with realistic numbers, that such breakdowns would occur sufficiently frequently to impair proportionality overall.

  • Peter Watson 30th Nov '14 - 1:42pm

    There seems to be a strange debate on this thread between people who agree that AV is rubbish but disagree over just how rubbish it is!

  • Can anyone remind us who exactly it was in the Liberal Democrat negotiating team a referendum on AV was a good idea?

    I cannot remember anyone putting up their hand and owning up to this.

    Was it Danny Alexander, Laws, Andrew Stunnell, Huhne or Jim Wallace ?
    Or was it one of those things passed up the line to Clegg for his direct discussions with Cameron?

    We had gone into the coalition negotiations with our policy being STV in multi-member constituencies.
    We came out of the coalition negotiations with a commitment to a policy which neither party had in its manifesto.
    Who thought that was a good idea?

    Who thought it was clever politics to have a referendum on a system that neither Conservative voters nor Lberal Democrat voters had voted for in the General Election?

  • @Stevan
    “@Stuart. In your contrived example, clearly the bar has to be 50% of the available votes once you start eliminating candidates, not 50% of the turnout.”

    It doesn’t matter whether my example is “contrived” or not (and in fact it isn’t – it’s perfectly realistic). My example proves that the Yes campaign’s claim was false. This is really simple electoral maths and a question of objective fact – I’m genuinely staggered (and pretty amused) at how many people here have failed to get it.

    This is the kind of thing the Yes campaign were saying :-

    “Under AV MPs of all parties would need to get at least 50% of the votes.”

    Note that they weren’t saying MPs would need 50% of the remaining votes once some of the votes were binned. ANY electoral system, including FPTP, could make that claim, and it would be meaningless. They said that any MP would need 50% of the votes. Votes do not cease to exist simply because you decide you’re going to disregard them in a particular round of counting.

    You then go in to an irrelevant discussion of the Australian system, which I’d already covered when I pointed out that the only way AV could guarantee a 50% vote for the winner would be if voters had to rank all candidates. But that wasn’t what was on offer in the UK. Besides, as I’d already pointed out before you did, such a system would only guarantee 50% “support” for the winner if you assume that all preferences can be described as “support”, which would imply that every single voter (who did not spoil their paper) supported every single candidate!

    Incidentally, if you’d prefer a real-life example to my “contrived” one, here you go :-

    http://electionsireland.org/counts.cfm?election=2007B&cons=85&ref

    The winner of the above AV election was ticked as a preference on less than 50% of the votes. Perhaps one of the geniuses on here who has claimed I’m wrong would like to explain how this supposedly impossible feat was achieved.

  • @David-1
    “It’s not really good enough just to show a theoretical extreme example where the system would break down”

    Of course it’s good enough. This is a question of mathematical objective fact. The Yes campaign claimed that any winning MP would require over 50% of voters to vote for him. I only need to give one example where that doesn’t happen to disprove it.

    If somebody claims they’ve invented a lotion that is guaranteed to make hair grow back, how many bald guys do I have to present for whom the lotion doesn’t work to prove that the claim was false? Answer: 1.

    ” — you need to show, with real or with realistic numbers, that such breakdowns would occur sufficiently frequently to impair proportionality overall.”

    Why, when that was never the question under debate?

    Though if that question interests you, I’ve already pointed you in the direction of some analysis by Professor Richard Rawlings at the London School of Economics, who reckoned over 40% of seats would be won with a vote of less than 50%.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “It’s when I said: ‘… even more strictly: ‘those who voted at that stage i.e. discounting those who failed to exercise sufficient preferences’, which is clearly rather a mouthful)”

    Yes Simon, that’s the bit that proves you don’t get it. Of course it’s possible to contrive a 50% vote for the winner if you disregard some of the other votes. So what? It certainly doesn’t prove the Yes campaign’s claim that, quote, “Under AV MPs of all parties would need to get at least 50% of the votes”.

    I trust you can see that just because you decide not to count a particular bunch of votes, those votes do not cease to exist.

    @Martin
    “you also provide links that fail to back up your assertions”

    Which links and which assertions? Are you still denying that the Tories offered a commission on electoral reform?

  • @Stuart: “It doesn’t matter whether my example is “contrived” or not (and in fact it isn’t – it’s perfectly realistic). ”

    But previously Stuart wrote:
    40.1% of voters put Tom as first preference and Harry as second preference.
    39.9% of voters put Dick as first preference. and Harry as second preference.
    20% of voters put Harry as first preference, with no second preference.

    That is not “perfectly realistic” at all; the odds of all of the pro-Harry voters giving no second preferences to either of the other candidates is vanishingly slim.

    More realistically, we might have something like this: out of a pool of 1000 voters, first preferences:
    Tom 401
    Dick 399
    Harry 200

    Second preferences:
    Harry > Tom: 75
    Harry > Dick: 100
    Harry > no preference: 25

    In this version, Dick wins (with just under 50% of the vote) because most of Harry’s supporters preferred Dick. That is how it is supposed to work. Harry doesn’t win because 80% of the voters did not want him as their first preference. First preference votes are supposed to be worth a bit more than second preferences. Harry’s voters, denied their first preference, are stuck with breaking the near-tie between Tom and Dick; they don’t get their top choice, but at least they get to choose the lesser of the two evils.

    Yes, in this version Dick doesn’t quite get 50% of the vote either; but he’s also still the consensus candidate who better represents the entire constituency than any other candidate.

  • Perhaps many who voted ‘no’ thought like me. Why would I put a second preference vote to a party I disagreed with thereby perhaps letting that party win? There is no way I would do it!

  • Stevan Rose 30th Nov '14 - 5:50pm

    @Stuart. Of course your example is absolutely unrealistic. In your real example from Ireland, O’Sullivan had more than 50% of those expressing a preference between the last two standing, and therefore wins. Those who do not express a preference are effectively falling into the did not vote camp, or in Aussie terms, informal count. Votes do cease to exist when they are not cast for any eligible candidate at that stage of the count; that is the way that particular method works And I doubt anyone with a brain cell was in any way misled. The alternative in your Irish example would have been to declare no candidate victorious as they had not reached the 50% of first preferences cast bar, then held a runoff between O’Sullivan and Donohoe, and if preferences did not change then O’Sullivan would be the winner on 50%+ of the runoff vote. It was an instant runoff system though and she got more than 50% of the votes cast for that stage of the election. Under our FPTP system if I do not cast my vote for one of the candidates on the ballot then for the purposes of determining the winner my vote does not exist. Same thing.

    As to my mention of the Aussie system, I find it fascinating in the effects it can produce. It wasn’t for your benefit and it’s a bit arrogant to assume I was interested in your views on their system. Others might be.

    I wouldn’t advocate AV systems anyway as they don’t produce the proportional result that would be fair. I favour top up seats provided you could solve the problems of voter rejects getting through on party lists, e.g. Open Primaries to determine the list order.

  • @David-1
    “Yes, in this version Dick doesn’t quite get 50% of the vote either; but he’s also still the consensus candidate who better represents the entire constituency than any other candidate.”
    Which is why AV better represents voters than FPTP, whatever potential anomalies with the 50% vote share Stuart keeps trying to highlight.
    Still, only under the present system at the last election could there have been a Caroline Lucas MP or a Simon Wright MP, whose win with less than 30% of the single vote permitted to be cast by electors would have been all but impossible under AV……which brings us back to the irony of the Conservatives remaining out of overall control because of the success of a campaign which was designed to restore the two party system.

  • @David-1

    First of all, well done on getting the electoral maths. Given the way others are struggling, this seems to be a much more impressive achievement than I’d ever imagined.

    “Yes, in this version Dick doesn’t quite get 50% of the vote either; but he’s also still the consensus candidate who better represents the entire constituency than any other candidate.”

    That’s a fair view. However, the reason I attacked the Yes campaign is that this wasn’t the view they were putting forward.

    What they should have said was: “Under AV, the winner will almost certainly have a higher level of support than under AV.” That would have been true.

    What they said instead was: “Under AV MPs of all parties would need to get at least 50% of the votes.” Which was not true.

    It was the typical political thing of refusing to settle for a modest claim that is true, in favour of a more impressive sounding claim that is not true. This laid them open to attack – which is what happened.

    They made things worse by doing the typical political sanctimonious thing of accusing the No campaign of being a bunch of liars, while all the time playing fast and loose with the facts themselves.

    There were so many other things wrong with the Yes campaign. Why did they ever think they had a chance of selling this pup to the public, when so many of the leading lights of the campaign (Clegg, the ERS) were on record as saying that AV wasn’t much cop? It was surely the most disastrous political campaign in British history – no wonder Simon and Martin still haven’t gotten over it..

  • If the AV referendum – and not even a PR vote – was a concession from the Tories in exchange for cooperation on raising tuition fees ,it was a poor bargain and one that has hurt students up and down the country… and sadly all for nothing.

  • I favour PR but voted no to AV as I really don’t like AV.

    AV is a really bad system for a general election. It could hurt small parties like the Greens and now the Lib Dems and even UKIP even more than FPTP could. It can be less proportional than FPTP too.

    While AV might not deliver a ‘worse’ result in a single constituency, nationally it can and probably would.

    FPTP is a single biggest party/winner takes all type of system. In FPTP it matters not what percentage of the vote you get, rather, what is important under FPTP is how many points ahead of the others a party came.

    AV is a majoritarian system. A system that looks to only elect candidates that are acceptable to the majority with almost no room for alternatives like the Green Party and now the Lib Dems. An even worse and less democratic system in my opinion. Under AV there would be less room for alternatives to Tories and Labour nationally than there are now.

    Why on earth Nick Clegg would choose to sell the party to the Tories for an AV vote I’ve no idea. Cameron made sure Clegg lost the vote too. The public didn’t know much about AV and electorial systems, so with the majority of the Labour Party, the PM, and the rest of the government saying the proposed system was crap and they were only having the vote to please the most disliked of party leaders (Nick Clegg) it was never likely to pass.

    Politicians should have just given us PR ages ago, when we stopped being a true two party system. But they are just incapable of putting the country about themselves and their parties and doing the right thing. Simon mentioned Karma. Karma might be what happens the Labour in Scotland, they could get 25% of the vote here and 10% of the seats at the General Election.Maybe we should have FPTP in Holyrood too, since they like the system so much…

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st Dec '14 - 4:30pm

    Stevan Rose

    Based on results this electoral system does not seem to result in strong third party showings, Katter being a rarity, and was introduced to prevent the conservative vote being split.

    It’s obvious AV would not result in a strong third party showing. That’s one of the things I mean about the “No” campaign being innumerate, as some of their attacks were on the basis that somehow 3rd and 4th placed candidates would win. The reality is that they can’t because AV works by eliminating them and transferring their votes. One thing it can’t do is end up with whoever is everyone’s second preference but no-one first winning – which was often claimed. Anyone in that position get eliminated before they get a chance to benefit from second preference votes.

    A 3rd placed (in FPTP terms candidate) can only win under AV if there’s enough votes for 4th and 5th etc placed candidates that when they are eliminated their next preference push the 3rd placed one above the 2nd place one.

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st Dec '14 - 4:40pm

    Simon Shaw

    There’s nothing to get over. I’ve made it clear that I saw it as a modest improvement on FPTP, so it not being agreed was no great problem

    Yes, it is mostly a modest improvement on FPTP. However, as I’ve already said, the problem is that its rejection was widely seem as a rejection of ALL electoral reform. If it doesn’t matter because “AV is just a modest improvement”, how come no-one commented on the victory for “No” that this indicated we need more far-reaching electoral reform? I don’t recall anyone anywhere saying “The people voted No because AV wasn’t enough of a reform”.

    To me, the main advantage of AV is that is stops people feeling FORCED to vote for X/Y in order to stop Y/X from winning (where in most places X is Conservative and Y is Labour, in some places Y was LibDem, in a few X was LibDem). Therefore it gives smaller parties more of a chance at least to show they have some support, and perhaps to be able to build on that eventually to break through. I suspect where it would turn out to be of most use is in those places where there’s an independent challenger to an unpopular incumbent in a safe-ish but not overwhelmingly safe seat. People would be more willing to back the independent with the “don’t split the vote” fear taken away.

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st Dec '14 - 4:50pm

    Mr Wallace

    Why on earth Nick Clegg would choose to sell the party to the Tories for an AV vote I’ve no idea

    Another ridiculous comment. The LibDems were not “sold” for AV. We had no realistic choice but to join the coalition because it was the only stable government that could be formed. Had we not done so, the line from the other parties would have been “Britain is ungovernable thanks to the very existence of the Liberal Democrats, so get rid of them so we can have a stable government”, and they’d have joined in pushing that line in an election that would have been May 2011 at the very latest.

    The coalition gave the LibDems only a very modest influence on what was bound to be a mostly Tory government. We should have stated that from the start, made clear that with the party balances coming from the distortional effects of FPTP we could not be equal partners to the Tories.The modest nature of our influence was shown by the fact hat the furthest we could get on electoral reform was a referendum on AV. If Labour think we could have got much more out of the Tories, how come THEY didn’t offer much more, given that the only alternative coalition would have been with them? They know in reality it was a no-goer because it wouldn’t have had a majority.

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st Dec '14 - 9:06pm

    Stevan Rose

    I wouldn’t advocate AV systems anyway as they don’t produce the proportional result that would be fair. I favour top up seats

    Yes, but here you go with a line that supports our critics. NO-ONE here has been saying that AV is better than a proportional system I have not heard anyone in the Liberal Democrats say that. Yet we keep getting this accusation which says that because we supported the “Yes” side on the AV referendum somehow we have switched our position and regard AV as the best possible electoral system.

    AV is a very minor reform of FPTP. Just because it’s nowhere near the electoral reform that would be our ideal doesn’t mean we should reject it outright as a reform that isn’t worth having. Just because we accepted it as a reform that’s worth having doesn’t mean we stopped wanting to have more electoral reform. Why is it so hard for people to understand what I’ve just written?

  • AV isn’t worth having. FPTP is better than AV because it delivers a more proportional result as the premise of this thread shows. The lib dems as the third (probably in future forth) party would be even more cheated by AV than FPTP whilst the Tories would get even more seats than they deserved. Why nick used his leverage at the start of the coalition for that really is beyond me.

  • @Mr. Wallace
    You are wrong if you think that FPTP would have produced a more proportional result than AV at any recent general election. In fact AV would have given the LIbDems enough seats to have formed a coalition with Labour in 2010 had they chosen to do so. There is simply no evidence for your claim that AV would deprive the LibDems of more seats and that ( in your words) they “would be even more cheated by AV than FTFP”, presumably in 2015.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/av-referendum/8494285/AV-referendum-What-if-a-general-election-were-held-today-under-AV.html
    If you read the research in the above link it shouldn’t be beyond you to see why Nick Clegg used his leverage to obtain the only reform to the voting system that was then on offer. The subsequent failure of the campaign for that reform is another matter.

  • Stevan Rose 2nd Dec '14 - 12:01am

    @Matthew Huntbach

    I don’t have a clue what your point to me was. I wouldn’t advocate an AV system; that’s my view. I regret voting for AV and I think in retrospect it was a mistake to have have had the referendum. We should have held out for a credible PR system and the top up seats option is established in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and London Assemblies so would have been difficult to discredit. As it is it is unlikely we’ll have another shot for a very long time. Opportunity wasted.

    You do know that using capitals in a post is shouting. Do you mind not doing that please.

  • @Stevan Rose
    Cheer up!
    If UKIP are successful percentage-wise, but unsuccessful in getting many MPs, then electoral reform will be back on the table sooner than you may think.
    Citizens in a representative democracy deserve to be represented by who they vote for. A much more proportional system, as an alternative to FPTP, would allow this to happen: the top up option, as you suggested; regional closed lists as used in European election; or even STV, a voting system which surely deserves to be looked at for Westminster MPs.

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Dec '14 - 8:21am

    “If UKIP are successful percentage-wise, but unsuccessful in getting many MPs, then electoral reform will be back on the table sooner than you may think.”

    Ah, hope springs eternal. Have we forgotten 1983? The Alliance getting 26% of the vote and 23 seats, while Labour got 28% and 209? Or, for that matter, 2005, when Labour got a thumping majority – 356 out of 646 seats – with 35% of the vote, while the Tories, just 2% behind them, got 199?

    People go out and vote. A parliament is elected and a government is formed. The weakness of the connection between the votes cast and the make-up and strength of the government that results (to say nothing of the number of MPs representing the “losing” parties) really doesn’t seem to bother them.

  • @Malcolm
    You could have cited the February, 1974 result where the Liberal party got 19% of the vote and 14 seats, just over 2% of the total, but maybe that’s common knowledge to everybody here. The injustice of the 1983 result can be gauged by the fact that those 23 seats gave the Alliance around 3.5% rather than 26% of the total, while the increase alone in their vote share was near to a massive 12%.
    I believe enough people will be bothered if a gross distortion between votes and seats for UKIP arises in 2015.
    In fact I think this scenario is the only one likely to dislodge the current voting system used for British general elections. With the Right rather than the Left being denied representation in such disproportionate numbers, those same newspapers who overwhelmingly supported the tactics of sabotage perpetrated predominantly by Osborne and the Conservative party machine to destroy AV (and would do so again over PR) might at last be forced by many of their infuriated readers to expose the electoral stitch-up that is FPTP.
    Already one newspaper group which is expected to declare for UKIP is making noises about our unfair electoral system. Think of it, a movement for electoral reform supported by many on the Right. It might just happen after the next general election.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “earlier you were saying that the Yes Campaign had claimed that ‘AV would ensure that every winning candidate would have to win the “votes” of at least 50% of their local electorate’. Clearly nobody ever said that.”

    Sigh. Caroline Pidgeon: “We can make our voting system much fairer with AV as it would ensure MPs are elected with the support of over half of the electorate.”

    http://www.carolinepidgeon.org/node/627

    “depending on what you mean by ‘of the votes'”

    I mean all the votes, including the ones you and Stevan pretend don’t exist.

    You and Stevan also make the mistake of believing that instant run-offs like AV are equivalent to a true multi-round run-off election. They are not the same thing at all.

  • @Stevan Rose
    “for the purposes of determining the winner my vote does not exist”

    Perhaps, but for the purpose of being accurate about the corporeal nature of your vote in the universe – it very much DOES exist, however much you pretend it doesn’t.

    All your argument amounts to is: “When you treat all votes as not existing except those cast for the top two candidates, then the winner is guaranteed at least 50% of the votes.”

    Can you give an example of any other voting system (except obviously corrupt ones) where exactly the same claim would not be true?

  • @Matthew
    “The modest nature of our influence was shown by the fact hat the furthest we could get on electoral reform was a referendum on AV.”

    That’s debatable – the Tories made an alternative offer, which I know you don’t see as better, but I certainly do. Frankly, given the referendum debacle, how could an all-party commission possibly have been any worse?

    Of course the Lib Dem negotiators would have had to be careful to make sure they were actually getting a cast-iron promise – unlike the massive clanger they dropped on House of Lords reform, where the Lib Dems thought they were getting a promise from the Tories, but when Tory backbenchers read the text of the coalition agreement they realised to their delight that they weren’t obliged to do anything at all.

  • Stevan Rose 2nd Dec '14 - 8:29pm

    @Stuart. You seem to be asking me to defend a system that I have made clear I don’t support. I could be wrong; your post appears a touch garbled to me. I merely make the point that for a vote to be valid it has to be for a candidate (still) in the running, or it is void and does not count. It is your choice whether to fully distribute your preferences or not. If you choose not to express a preference between 2 of the candidates that then make it to the final two then you have voluntarily opted out of that final ballot and out of the electorate that makes that final choice. That is the way AV works, it was never a secret and no pretending is involved. I’m sorry if you didn’t understand that.

  • @Stevan
    “You seem to be asking me to defend a system that I have made clear I don’t support.”

    No, I’ve only asked you to defend your own claim that AV guaranteed a 50% “vote” for the winner – which you’ve attempted to do by claiming that some votes are “not valid” or even don’t exist in some way. When that’s the best argument you can make, it’s not too surprising you keep resorting to rudeness.

  • @Simon Shaw

    “Sorry, but what does Caroline Pidgeon have to do with the AV Yes Campaign?”

    You mean apart from speaking at the Yes campaign event described in the link I gave you?

    Plenty more here Simon:

    https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=%22caroline+pidgeon%22+%22yes+to+fairer+votes%22

  • @Simon Shaw
    “I don’t think anyone believes that they are the same thing.”

    When you said that Tory internal elections used AV, which elections did you have in mind?

  • Stevan Rose 3rd Dec '14 - 12:30am

    @Stuart. You’re not reading my posts. I’ve made no claims at all that under AV the winner gets 50% of those participating in the election but does get 50%+ of the valid votes as candidates are eliminated. I even pointed out that under the Aussie system which is supposed to generate a guaranteed 50%+ if you include the informal (invalid) votes then sometimes the winner does not get 50% of the total. These informal votes include those where the voter has omitted a preference between the last two standing. The Australians do not include these votes in the count. They are ignored, do not exist for count purposes. The winner is always declared to have 50%+. You can imagine that Australia has been living a lie for 100 years, they may disagree. I know of no system whereby if Arthur ad Barbara are the two candidates remaining in an election a vote for Charlie is deemed a valid vote in the final tally.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Dec '14 - 12:55am

    With regards to claims about “50% of the vote”, the official “YES! To Fairer Votes” campaign chose its words carefully when it made claims like, “A yes vote will mean that MPs will have to aim for 50% of the vote; so they’ll have to listen to us and they’ll have to work harder for us.” or “Your next MP would have to aim to get more than 50% of the vote to be sure of winning. At present they can be handed power with just one vote in three.”. This second example which juxtaposes the “aim to get more than 50%” with a comment about MPs being elected under first past the post with less than half of the votes does seem a little disingenuous (misleading?) but the same technique was used in speeches by clever and careful speakers like Nick Clegg. There’s enough wriggle room to give the impression that AV requires more than 50% of the votes without actually making that incorrect claim.
    Inevitably most debaters were not as careful though, and Ipsos-Mori reported, “The most frequent simple argument put forward for AV is that it ensures that every MP has the support of 50% of their constituents or voters.” (https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/RM-AVarticle.PDF)

    The Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_Alternative_Vote_referendum,_2011) states,

    The Yes campaign argue that AV ensures that every MP is supported by an overall majority (more than 50% of the voters). In its Guide to AV, Mori-Ipsos states “this is not really true, but maybe it’s a defensible simplification”. AV ensures that a candidate is elected with the support of 50% of voters who have expressed a preference between the final two candidates in the contest. If some voters have indicated that they are indifferent between the final two, by not ranking either of them on the ballot paper, then the winner may be elected with the support of less than 50% of all votes cast.
    Professors Rawlings and Thrasher state that “the claims that AV will guarantee local majority support can only be validated if every voter is compelled or chooses to cast a full range of preferences. There seems little prospect of that happening in a general election conducted under AV in the UK.” Channel Four FactCheck states that it “is right that candidates will have to aim for 50% of votes, though it is true that some candidates will end up being elected on fewer than 50% of all the votes cast.”

    At the end of the day though, I think there is violent agreement here that AV is not very good and that along with FPTP it can lead to very unproportional representation. The AV referendum was a very bad tactical move by the Lib Dem leadership though perhaps there were no options, and the referendum was lost for a lot of reasons with the technical differences between FPTP and AV being the least of them.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Dec '14 - 11:58am

    Peter Watson

    The AV referendum was a very bad tactical move by the Lib Dem leadership though perhaps there were no options,

    I’m assuming there were no other options, that this is as far as the Tories were willing to go.

    What was wrong with accepting it as a useful, but minor reform, which falls far of our ideal, but at least opens the door to further reform and does have a few merits of its own? If we had put it this way, and honestly explained just how the system works and what that means in certain situations, would “Yes to AV” have lost so badly?

    The problem with the “Yes to AV” campaign was the problem with the whole Liberal Democrats in the Coalition, but in miniature. Instead of making it clear that it was a compromise, a long way from our ideal, but what we have had to accept because the Tories would not give us more, it was sold as if it was wonderful super-duper, which led to the criticisms that we had abandoned our principles and now stood for something we had previously rejected. Instead of a careful explanation of what it really meant, the ad-man’s “it’s all super-duper” language of hyper-enthusiastic waffle left people feeling they were being fooled, and left them confused, and sounded insincere, so they were then very easily taken in by our opponents.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Dec '14 - 2:32pm

    @Matthew Huntbach “What was wrong with accepting it as a useful, but minor reform, which falls far of our ideal, but at least opens the door to further reform and does have a few merits of its own?”
    I voted yes when offered the option of either AV or first-past-the-post, but I was disappointed that senior Lib Dems had led us to a point where it was the only choice and even that potential improvement was undermined by their association with it. You are spot on when you describe that situation as “the problem with the whole Liberal Democrats in the Coalition, but in miniature”.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “I was thinking of things like Party Leader, selection of PPCs etc.”

    Well I don’t know where you get your information from, but it’s completely wrong.

    The leader is elected by a two-stage process. Multiple rounds of voting by MPs produces two candidates who are then put forward to the general membership in a straightforward run-off. No AV involved whatsoever.

    Likewise PPCs are largely selected by multi-round ballots. Some recent high-profile “primaries” were conducted by FPTP.

  • @Peter Watson

    “the official “YES! To Fairer Votes” campaign chose its words carefully when it made claims like, “A yes vote will mean that MPs will have to aim for 50% of the vote”

    Correct – though if memory serves, this was more towards the end of the campaign when they realised their earlier claims did not add up. Plenty of people from the Yes campaign used the 50% claim its original bogus form – I’ve already quoted two examples.

    “Ipsos-Mori reported, ‘The most frequent simple argument put forward for AV is that it ensures that every MP has the support of 50% of their constituents or voters.'”

    Quite. Katie Ghose wrote: “[AV] ensures that all MPs will need to win at least 50% support locally in order to be elected.”

    http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/31983/1/blogs.lse.ac.uk-The_Alternative_Vote_is_a_worthwhile_reform_that_will_make_a_big_difference_in_improving_the_democrac-323676.pdf

    I’m sure Simon will come up with some reason why Katie Ghose had no standing within the Yes campaign, even though she chaired it.

  • @Stevan Rose
    “I’ve made no claims at all that under AV the winner gets 50% of those participating in the election”

    You may not have noticed, but that was the whole topic under discussion, so what exactly WERE you trying to say?

    I’m not sure why you keep going on about the Australian system, when that system was not the one on offer here.

    “The winner is always declared to have 50%+. You can imagine that Australia has been living a lie for 100 years, they may disagree.”

    Do the Australians make the same sort of claims for their system that Katie Ghose and Caroline Pidgeon made for AV? Do you?

  • cllr Nick Cotter 4th Dec '14 - 9:08pm

    Talking of pamphlets or leaflets – WHY don’t you go out and deliver some ??

    I HAVE never read such a boring, pointless thread on LDV ?? !!

    The AV campaign was lost 2:1, about the only statistic worth highlighting, in my respectful opinion.

  • @Cllr Nick Cotter
    This is the third most read thread at the moment apparently, so some people must still be interested in it.

  • It would be ironic if the Tories were to lose because they opposed AV. What bothered me about the AV debate was that the NO campaign and most of the media spread the mathematical untruth that if a 2nd or 3rd choice is an additional vote. Many people I spoke to stated this as their reason for voting against AV. In fact, whilst my 3rd, 2nd and 1st choices are counted, your 1st choice for a more popular candidate who remains in the running throughout is counted 3 times. We each have the same voting power. Unfortunately neither the YES campaign, nor the LibDems were willing to spell out the maths of the situation. I believe that many Tory and Labour MPs did understand the maths but cynically pretended they didn’t. In my mind this is as big a scandal as MPs expenses. I am glad if the failure to get AV through happens to help the liberals but I would have preferred the chance to vote more closely to what I believe in (and feel that even UKIP voters should have had that chance)!

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