The AV referendum: state of play

With attention understandably focusing on events in the Lords, the actual progress of the campaigns for the electoral reform referendum has had less coverage in the last few weeks. So here’s a quick score-card:

  • Funding: the No campaign has taken to the media to protest about “big money” funding the Yes campaign. Even as reported by the Telegraph the attacks are pretty thin going, but revealing in one respect. Many expected the No campaign to be well-funded by the sort of large donors who have heavily funded the Tories in the past (not to mention, possibly, trade union funding). However, the No attacks suggest their own search for large donors isn’t going well.
  • The polls: where pollsters ask the question to be used in the referendum, without other introductory text, the Yes campaign is ahead. YouGov uses introductory text and finds the No campaign ahead. (More details here.)
  • MPs: there has been a steady sequence of Labour MPs which the No campaign claimed as supporters speaking up to say that, in fact, they are supporting the Yes campaign. Alun Michael is the latest.
  • The Labour Yes campaign: Ed Miliband has said he will campaign for a Yes vote, which given the likely key role of Labour supporters in the referendum result is an important step forward. Overall the Yes campaign is doing well at signing up MPs and other leading Labour figures to back the campaign, though it looks very unlikely that the party will go as far as registering as an official supporters of a Yes vote (which would have allowed more to be spent from Labour resources on promoting a Yes campaign and would have made the administration of Yes campaigning easier). Even so, it is likely that a big majority of Labour Shadow Cabinet members will be joining Ed Miliband in calling for a Yes vote, though amongst other Labour MPs the balance is likely to be much, much closer.
  • The arguments: the Yes campaign was strengthened at the start of the year by the publication of a detailed study by the IPPR showing how in British elections first past the post has lost the attributes its supporters used to praise.

If you want to help the Yes campaign, sign up at Yes to Fairer Votes.

Are you a Liberal Democrat in favour of electoral reform? Why not sign up to the Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform Facebook page?

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

50 Comments

  • On funding, I think on such an issue the funding should be state provided and be equal. I know some will say that the state should not fund such activity, but it is important that equity is achieved (and seen to be achieved). As I understand it Unions are split on the issue and I would prefer they did not get involved as I’m sure their membership is also split.

    Regarding the Labour party, I think they are reflecting the split within their ranks and should do so. They promised a referendum, they did not promise to whip support for any side of it. I think some of the statements on this site (not this one) have been pure spin. For example, one accused Labour MP’s of backtracking on their support for AV and mis represented their manifesto (which offered a referendum on AV and Lords reform. I think given the obvious slit in Labour ranks and membership as with the Unions it would be wrong to use party resources.

  • I see no Iceberg 2nd Feb '11 - 9:26am

    So if Ed Miliband is campaigning for yes then we can expect Nick Clegg to be campaigning for the yes vote too of course. Or can we ?

  • “So if Ed Miliband is campaigning for yes then we can expect Nick Clegg to be campaigning for the yes vote too of course. Or can we ?”

    I wouldn’t bet on EdM campaigning for Yes, given Labour’s abysmal track record on AV.

  • I see no Iceberg 2nd Feb '11 - 11:05am

    “given Labour’s abysmal track record on AV.”

    Did EdM call it a miserable little compomise too ?

  • AV – Yet another Labour broken promise and betrayal. They had 13 years to do something about it, yet did nothing.

  • Dominic Curran 2nd Feb '11 - 11:20am

    the linked Telegraph article states that Matthew Elliot, ex-head of the Taxpayers Alliance – which is funded by shadowly multi-millionaires in the West Midlands and is dedicated to turning the UK into a low-tax, low public servcie hollowed out state – is against ‘big money in British politics’?!!! Could someone please take Mr Eliot outside and slap him?

  • @Robert C
    I’d agree with your comment if it was about electoral reform in general. Labour failed miserably on voting reform and only half heartedly changed the Lords. But with AV they have only promised a referendum, too many of their MP’s oppose this to have made direct implementation a manifesto pledge.

    There are also those, like me, who do not see AV as an improvement. I have had enough trouble in some elections identifying one candidate I would support !

    I don’t want my least worst option I want my (first choice) vote to actually matter. The AV referendum is not about whether you want reform or not, it’s about whether you want AV nothing more.

  • Ah yes, the 109 Labour ‘No’ MPs, representing a whopping 24% of the 8m Labour voters from last May.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 2nd Feb '11 - 1:17pm

    “where pollsters ask the question to be used in the referendum, without other introductory text, the Yes campaign is ahead. YouGov uses introductory text and finds the No campaign ahead.”

    But when YouGov asked a shorter question for the British Election Study the result was a tie.

    As Peter Kellner points out, the percentage backing AV is actually very consistent between the different polls – just over a third of the electorate say they will vote “Yes.” The percentage who say they won’t vote is pretty consistent too – between 5% and 10%. What varies is how the remainder divide between “No” and “Don’t know.”

    Kellner suggests, reasonably enough, that the more information people are given about AV, the higher the “No” vote becomes. But to my mind these figures suggest that turnout will be the most crucial factor. How many of those “Don’t knows” will really be non-voters? After all, a turnout of 90%+ would be remarkable.
    http://today.yougov.co.uk/commentaries/peter-kellner/can-yes-campaign-win-AV

  • ““given Labour’s abysmal track record on AV.”
    Did EdM call it a miserable little compomise too ?”

    it is a miserable little compromise. But its the only change on offer, which is more than can be said for Labour’s utter failure over 13 years to implement its manifesto promises.

  • Some of us ex LibDem supporters will definitely vote No to AV this time just so that Clegg can’t claim victory. Maybe when Labour is back in power, we will reconsider it if it is back on the agenda.

  • @BB

    I’m sorry but that’s the least constructive attitude I’ve heard in quite some time. Anybody that is willing to choose a voting system just to “punish” a party they dislike is fooling themselves. And do you really think that if this referendum gets a “NO” vote, there will be another referendum in a few years?

  • @Rich
    AV will help the LibDems more than any other party and I am not willing to help them. I will never forgive the LibDems for their betrayal. It may not be constructive but that is how it is.

  • “AV will help the LibDems more than any other party and I am not willing to help them. I will never forgive the LibDems for their betrayal. It may not be constructive but that is how it is.”

    Rubbish on all counts.

    1) AV will not help the Lib Dems. It will allow the electorate to express preference voting.

    2) The Lib Dems have betrayed no-one.

  • Emsworthian 3rd Feb '11 - 9:10am

    Why are so many comments about Labour’s position on AV when there are dozens
    of Tories who hate it as well. The reality is that it has made little progress beyond Nick’s
    description of it as a miserable compromise. Those in favour can console themselves
    that while it will probably deliver fewer seats than under the present system to the Lib Dems at
    least everybody was elected with over 50% of the vote after several counts.

  • @Tabman
    ” The Lib Dems have betrayed no-one.”

    That is not how the electorate view it. The LibDems are down to 8% now in the polls from 28% in May 2010.

  • Leekliberal 3rd Feb '11 - 1:00pm

    BB says – “AV will help the LibDems more than any other party and I am not willing to help them. I will never forgive the LibDems for their betrayal. It may not be constructive but that is how it is.”
    If you dislike us so much feel free to stop posting!

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 3rd Feb '11 - 5:05pm

    “Just visit http://www.aveasyas123.com.”

    Hmm. “MPs will have to work harder.” “There will be less chance for them to have jobs for life.” I wish someone would explain why they think so.

    It seems to me that an MP with a majority of 5,000 (or whatever) in the final round of an AV contest has no more incentive to work hard, and no less chance of having a job for life, than an MP with the same majority under FPTP.

  • It seems to me that an MP with a majority of 5,000 (or whatever) in the final round of an AV contest has no more incentive to work hard, and no less chance of having a job for life, than an MP with the same majority under FPTP.

    Your typical setup at the moment is two parties in strong opposition in a constituency, probably neither with majority support, but one may manage to hold onto a plurality because voters have party loyalties, or, at least, inertia. Under FPTP, the strategy to unseat the comfortable despot is to run a tactical vote campaign and get supporters of the numerous other parties to vote for the runner-up candidate rather than their first choice. The despot is safer because he or she can count on the vote being split among many other parties and not threatening his or her position.

    Under AV, consensus among a majority of those without party loyalty (or inertia) is enough to remove the despot. This means supporters of minority parties don’t have such a bad taste in their mouth about voting tactically for someone who isn’t their top choice and the despot has to compete for their votes by being less of a d**k.

    It also makes it less likely that extremist candidates can get in in areas with even splits between the other main parties, since few people will choose them as a second or third candidate.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 3rd Feb '11 - 5:46pm

    Ed

    Thanks. I can see that might happen in some seats, but I can’t see why it should happen in general.

    Essentially, if the second preferences of the third-placed candidate go mostly to the incumbent, then the seat will get safer. If they go mostly to the second-placed candidate, then the seat will get more marginal. (And of course in seats where the incumbent has more than 50% of the vote it makes no difference at all.)

    I find it very difficult to believe that there would be a GENERAL anti-incumbent effect of the kind you’re describing. It seems likelier that roughly half the seats where AV makes a difference will get safer and the other half more marginal.

  • I don’t think it is a matter of punishing Mr Clegg, it is Liberal Democrats they will punish Mr Clegg is just your most prominent representative you have to understand when you make promises and pledges and then break them there will be a cost.
    It seems that quite a number of those who voted for Liberal Democrats feel let down, some feel betrayed, I know my daughter does (student), a lot of people believed in what the Liberal Democrats said they stood for… a better kind of politics, no more lies, no more broken promises, this was broadcast on TV and said in the leaders debates.

    The electorate are neither stupid or fools, they understand what will happen if the AV vote was to be installed, they know that it would bring more chance of coalition governments, and I posted at the election time that, Liberal Democrats have been given a chance to show the country and the electorate, how Liberal Democrats would use that TRUST, that they had been given by those who voted for them.
    Why should those same voters now vote for AV, why should they support a system that is likely to give more power to Liberal Democrats why should they trust Liberal Democrats again, I don’t think they will, I will vote NO for AV.

  • “Why should those same voters now vote for AV, why should they support a system that is likely to give more power to Liberal Democrats why should they trust Liberal Democrats again, I don’t think they will, I will vote NO for AV.”

    If the Lib Dems really are as unpopular as you say then AV will punish them as surely as any other system (indeed more so). There is no obligation for any party to seek a coalition with any other. I’ve long been of the opinion that the authoritarian elements of both the Tory and Labour parties have more in common with each other than with liberal members of their own parties.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 3rd Feb '11 - 7:59pm

    “If the Lib Dems really are as unpopular as you say then AV will punish them as surely as any other system (indeed more so).”

    Perhaps it would, but I don’t think that will stop many people taking the opportunity of punishing them when they get the opportunity next May, rather than having to wait another four years.

  • “Perhaps it would, but I don’t think that will stop many people taking the opportunity of punishing them when they get the opportunity next May, rather than having to wait another four years.”

    Why does rejecting AV punish the Lib Dems? It was in Labour’s manifesto after all (even if some of their Jurassic Herd are against it).

    It looks like a classic case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 3rd Feb '11 - 11:50pm

    “Why does rejecting AV punish the Lib Dems?”

    Pretending that the introduction of AV wouldn’t benefit the Lib Dems is surely one of the bigger insults to the intelligence perpetrated by the Cleggies. And that’s saying something …

  • Go on then, you explain exactly how it benefits the Lib Dems rathrr than just making an unsupported assertion.

  • And justify why its correct to have a system that massively bebefits one party (Labour) at the expense of all the other.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Feb '11 - 10:32am

    It is time the opponents of AV gave their REAL argument for it rather than “der, I’m thick, I don’t understand the maths, but I hate the LibDems, so it must be bad”.

    The real argument against AV is that the current system forces voters to vote for parties which aren’t the ones they really favour. It forces you to vote for the ones which always win the most votes, for fear that doing anything else might “split the vote” and so lessen the chance of the party you like most out of the ones that always get the most votes winning. The opponents of AV are in effect saying it is good to have people’s choices effectively limited in that way, because it means our country goes on forever rotating government between just two parties which is good as it’s “stable”.

    The other argument for the current system doesn’t apply so much here, because AV isn’t any different. However, opponents of AV use it because they fear AV will be a step to something further which breaks this feature of the current system they like. They argue that the current system is good because it distorts representation in favour of the largest party and distorts representation against third parties.

    So what the opponents of AV are saying is that firstly voters should be forced to vote for one of the two big parties even if they don’t really like that party but dislike the other one more, secondly there should be even more distortion so that even when after people have been forced to vote for one of the big parties they don’t really like there are some who still vote for smaller parties, there should be another twist just to make sure whichever of the big two parties gets the most votes (or nearly so, in close contests it might be the other one) wins absolute power.

    Therefore, what the opponents of AV are saying is that the thing most wrong with the current government is the presence of the Liberal Democrats. They are saying it would be better if it were just a purely Conservative government. Whether they are Labour or Conservative, they are cheering on Mr Cameron, and they are propping him up by giving him the false legitimacy that our current distortional representation system gives.

    A vote against AV, therefore, is a vote for the principle that government of this country should forever be by a majority Labour or a majority Conservative government. It is a vote for Mr Cameron, because it is a vote saying that Mr Cameron should have complete control because his party won the most votes in the 2010 election. It is vote to decrease any influence a third party might have, as indeed the current system did in 2010 by giving the Liberal Democrats a far smaller proportion of seats compared to the Conservatives than they had of votes. It is a vote for the principle of propping up the Conservatives now and forever more by twisting the system in their favour and twisting the system against third parties. It is a vote which says the worst thing the Liberal Democrats did was to exert any sort of influence at all on this government, because it is a vote for the idea that governments should be of one party only, twisting the representation of the biggest party upwards to make sure they have no need to make any concessions to any other.

    The Labour Party was not going to win in 2010, it had messed up, people were fed up with it. So, anyone who votes against AV votes for the principle that people should have been forced in 2010 to have a Conservative government, they vote against the idea that there should have been a more open system which gave other alternatives. A vote against AV is a vote for the twisting of representation which meant a Labour-LibDem coalition was unviable because it twisted the number of MPs for those parties down so that they did not have a majority even though they had a majority of the vote when put together. A vote against AV is a vote against a system which might have allowed a new left-wing alternative to have gained from the people’s displeasure at the rotten right-wing governments of Blair and Brown. A vote against AV is a vote for the Conservatives.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 4th Feb '11 - 11:51am

    Tabman

    AV benefits the Lib Dems in comparison with FPTP because Labour voters tend to make the Lib Dems rather than the Tories their second preference, and because Tory voters tend to make the Lib Dems rather than Labour their second preference.

    Everyone knows it. It’s absolutely obvious. As I said, it’s an insult to the intelligence to pretend otherwise.

  • As an ex Lib Dem myself, I’m as keen to punish Clegg as anyone – but that’s not a reason for voting No to AV, just as active local Lib Dem councillors don’t deserve to lose their seats in May.

    Any change in the voting system would affect the way some electors actually vote. Electors should be allowed to decide which voting system is most likely to result in representative government. Only a sensible form of PR can do this – with parties openly discussing the possibility of coalition during the election campaign.

    I’m voting No to AV because I think that electing the runner-up (on the pretence that the second preferences of an even smaller minority are of equal value to first preferences) would be even less democratic than our current system of electing MPs on a mere plurality.

    I respect the views of those who think AV would be an improvement – but let’s all make up our minds for the correct reasons, bearing in mind that whichever system is adopted we will probably be lumbered with it long after Mr Clegg is an embarassing memory.

  • DELD – “AV benefits the Lib Dems in comparison with FPTP because Labour voters tend to make the Lib Dems rather than the Tories their second preference, and because Tory voters tend to make the Lib Dems rather than Labour their second preference.

    Everyone knows it. It’s absolutely obvious. As I said, it’s an insult to the intelligence to pretend otherwise.”

    Oh dear, another assertion. I prefer to look at the evidence.

    In the past the Lib Dems have been successful at getting Labour tactical votes. Similarly, in the past, they have not been successful at getting Conservative tactical votes.

    This also ignores the traffic in the other direction; plenty of current Tory and Labour MPs, where the Lib Dems have been squeezed to third, owe their seats to Lib Dem tactical votes.

    We also don’t know how many people would put Labour as their second choice if voting Tory and vice versa. Plenty of people must do given the way Governements have changed between these two parties over the years, and in amny cases its only economics that divides supporters of the two (who agree prtty much on the social side of the agenda).

    But with FPTP the situation is hidden, so we don’t know for sure how prevalent each situation is. The only way we will ever know is by introducing a preferential voting system, where people are able to vote for their first choice party in a meaningful way. Personally I would prefer STV, but that is not on offer.

    So, you are wrong. AV does not “benefit the Lib Dems” – it benefits the voter, who is able to express their true preference without having to make some sort of arcane calculation about how best to use their vote in the most usual situation of that vote not being able to make any difference.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 4th Feb '11 - 4:28pm

    Tabman

    If you really doubted either of the statements of the obvious that I made above, then of course you could look at the opinion polls that have been done on precisely this question.

    But then again, I suppose you don’t believe in opinion polls either.

  • DELD – fine, link them here. Especially if they detail Con/Lab switching.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 4th Feb '11 - 11:22pm

    Here’s one that less than a minute’s Googling found:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8506306.stm

  • @Depressed Ex Lib Dem
    Calculations of how AV might have changed past election results are interesting but must be treated with caution.
    The page you’ve found on the BBC website contains the caveat – “This projection assumes that voters still select the same first choice candidate as they did in the FPTP system”. What it doesn’t say – but should – is that it also makes assumptions about voters’ second preferences under AV.

    At the next General Election Lib Dems will be judged – for better or worse – on their record in government. Will the Labour supporters in my area – many of whom regularly cast a tactical Lib Dem vote in the hope of unseating our Tory MP – give their second preference to the Lib Dem candidate in 2015?

    Of course, many Lib Dems believe that AV will deliver the Party more seats, especially now it’s abandoned its lefty stance and reverted back to being the centre party. Time will tell….

  • DELD – “Note: This projection assumes that voters still select the same first choice candidate as they did in the first-past-the-post system. ”

    Exactly. Which is a fairly hefty and probably very inaccurate assumption. It also assumes the “last war” position; no-one knows how the futue will pan out given where party manifestos will be in 2015.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 5th Feb '11 - 11:57pm

    Tabman

    The accuracy of the seat projections is completely beside the point.

    So long as the Lib Dems collect more Labour second preferences than the Tories do, and so long as the Lib Dems collect more Tory second preferences than Labour does, then they will benefit from AV, as compared with FPTP.

    That’s what you asked for evidence of, and that’s what these polls give evidence of – by a very substantial margin.

    But of course it’s entirely typical of Internet discussions that you should now be trying to change the subject by shifting the discussion on to the accuracy of the seat projections – which is irrelevant to the simple question of whether the Lib Dems would do better or worse under AV.

  • DELD – I agree that Conservative and Labour voters would be expected to give their second preferences to Lib Dems. This is obviously what many Lib Dems hope.

    But times they are a changing, as someone once sang. Some Labour voters may give their second preference to the Green candidate, it’s by no means impossible that some will favour UKIP (the EU is unpopular with voters of all shades) and, of course, there’s the BNP. Oh, and the Conservatives.

    As for Conservative voters, many may favour UKIP and a few may vote BNP, although some Tories in Labour-held constituencies may well give their second preference to their coalition partner. AV won’t remove tactical voting but it will alter it.

    As someone else once said (I don’t think he ever tried setting it to music) a week is a long time in politics.

    Those who agree with Tabman that “AV benefits the voter” will obviously vote yes in May. Those of us who think it fails to do this will vote no. At least that’s how it should be, regardless of party affiliation – even the most faithful party foot-soldier needs to realise that most of us are only the Poor Bloody Infantry.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 6th Feb '11 - 9:12am

    Chris

    Yes, I’m sure the Lib Dems wouldn’t pick up as many Labour second preferences in 2015 as they would previously. No doubt more would go to the Greens and other minority parties, and more importantly many Labour voters would simply not use all their preferences.

    But again that’s beside the point. For the Lib Dems to benefit from AV as compared with FPTP all they need is to pick up more Labour second (and higher) preferences THAN THE TORIES. From the link I posted, on average the split in the past has been on the order of 60% to the Lib Dems against 15% to the Tories.

    Considering that it’s the coalition with the Tories that has disillusioned left-leaning voters, it would be pretty bizarre if they redirected their second (and higher) preferences to the Tories in protest!

  • DELD
    Yes perhaps it was fanciful of me to suggest that Labour voters would give their second preference to Tories, although human beings don’t always behave logically (many years ago a seemingly intelligent man told me he was switching from Conservative to Liberal in protest at the Heath government taking us into the Common Market!). Yes I am that old.

    What I’m saying is that it’s hard to predict what will happen – especially in 2015. It’s the randomness of AV – where the second preferences of relatively few voters can determine the winner – which I believe to be undemocratic. I’m unsure how much anyone’s second preference is really worth.

    In fairness to the Lib Dems, if AV reduces the inbuilt unfairness of FPTP against them that’s arguably good for democracy. I’ve no idea how AV would affect the Greens, UKIP, SNP or Plaid Cymru.

  • DELD – you still haven’t answered the question of why we should stick with a system that inherrently benefits Labour.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 6th Feb '11 - 11:35pm

    Tabman

    That’s because I haven’t said we SHOULD stick with it. Only that it’s an insult to the intelligence to pretend that the Lib Dems wouldn’t benefit from a change to AV.

    Not that I’m inclined to accept that First Past the Post “inherrently” benefits Labour (any more than it benefits the Conservatives, for example) unless you can show me very strong evidence for your assertion.

  • Our voting system has always benefitted the two parties with a large and geographically-concentrated popular vote, though only up to a point (piling up huge majorities in some constituencies while narrowly losing in others is one way in which the “winning” party may end up in Opposition).

    The system currently benefits Labour considerably more than the Conservatives. In Scotland, Labour benefit outrageously and the Lib Dems do rather well, while the SNP suffer big time and Conservative voters might just as well have stayed in bed.

    Reducing the number of seats by 50, at the cost of creating some strangely-shaped constituencies, is intended to cancel or reduce Labour’s advantage, AV or no AV.

    Tinkering with a hopelessly non-proportional system won’t deliver a Parliament anywhere close to actual votes cast. No system where all MPs are elected in single-member constituencies is remotely democratic. AV would simply shift the discrepancy.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Feb '11 - 5:04pm

    Chris

    I’m voting No to AV because I think that electing the runner-up (on the pretence that the second preferences of an even smaller minority are of equal value to first preferences) would be even less democratic than our current system of electing MPs on a mere plurality.

    But if only the first placed and runner-up candidate had stood for election, those votes would have gone that way anyway. All AV does is give the effect of re-running the election as if the lower placed candidates had not been nominated in the first place. So it doesn’t give a result FPTP wouldn’t give if there had been fewer candidates.

    I see it the other way round – why should the decision of a minor party to run a candidate mean a seat that A would have won gets won by B, despite the people of that seat preferring A to B?

  • Peter Chivall 8th Feb '11 - 8:24pm

    Some of your anti-AV posters seem obsessed with punisihing the LibDems over the Coalition. Yes, as a LibDem activist I’m pretty sore about the way Clegg seems to be letting clowns like Pickles and Osborn use the deficit (which Labour DID Balls up) in order to destroy public services and flog off forests, NHS etc. to their corporate friends.
    But DELD, BB and others should consider how FPTP corrupted Labour, turning it from a centre-left Party with socialist principles to a Blairite centre Party whose guiding principle was ‘triangulation’; an attempt to out-Tory the Conservatives in so many areas of penal, security and foreign policy.
    this is because FPTP encourages electors to replace hope with fear; fear of letting the ‘other lot’ in, fear of change until desperation and anger force their hands to ‘vote for the old enemy’. – and that is because negative campaigning, Karl Rove/ Phil Willis style, pays dividends under FPTP.
    AV may only be baby steps on the way to more open voter choice, but it allows the voter to express a second preference ‘just in case’. It is no accident that having a form of AV for the Scottish Parliament allowed a Scottish Socialist party to challege Labour from the left (although their leaders ended up destroying their party), or the SNP to take non-Unionist votes from both Labour and Liberal Democrats to form a government. Greens were elected to the London Assembly long before Caroline Lucas broke through in Brighton, and AV would allow a small chance of UKIP (who I detest) being represented (and tested) in Parliament.
    At the moment, under FPTP, 300,000 ‘swing’ electors in 100-odd ‘marginal’ seats decide who governs Britain.
    Lord Ashcroft knew that when he ‘invested’ in Conservative success in those seats. Not all his bets paid off, but enough of them to make a difference. Even with Long Campaign/Short Campaign rules, it is possible under FPTP for a rich individual or consortium, starting now, to try to ‘buy’ those 300,000 votes by prolongued campaigning in those target marginals and ignore the rest (as now) as being ‘safe’ or ‘hopeless’.
    Remember, as New Labour showed us, under FPTP, the Tories ALWAYS win!

  • @Matthew Huntbach
    I think most people posting here would agree that neither FPTP nor AV is fit for purpose in a Parliamentary election. Neither is designed to translate votes into seats in a meaningful way as regards the political parties which – of neccessity – rule our country. They are 19th century answers to a 20th / 21st century question.

    I accept that there is a case for favouring AV over FPTP. I’ve already posted my objections to AV and I don’t see the logic in your argument that AV gives the same result as would have happened if only 2 candidates had been nominated – this is true but why pretend that only 2 candidates are standing?

    Regarding your last paragraph – yes you have a point, but you’re talking second preferences and negative voting here. It’s a conundrum I admit, and true reformers may think the arguments for these two unsuitable voting systems are finely balanced.

    @Peter Chivall
    Labour would have been forced to “reform” under AV – how many second preference votes would they have received in 1983 when they wanted to nationalise half the economy? In fact, many advocates of AV argue that it promotes consensus, which makes life hard for left and right wingers alike.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Lorenzo, Many Labour councils deliberately chose not to maintain the full Council Tax benefit as a political decision and I am not aware of any of them ever eve...
  • Gordon
    A good metaphor and an excellent point. Doing something time and again even though it always fails meets a popular definition of insanity. Does anyone expe...
  • Martin
    I know that in business there may be strategic reasons to downsize. I cannot see why a political party should choose to do so. Does Ed Davey have a plan for h...
  • Martin
    Fiona: You are making important and obvious points, but there does remain the question of the extent that the Scottish government is allowed to govern. ...
  • Peter Hayes
    In Cheltenham just had a LibDem Leaflet, the majority of the back page is a list of phone numbers covering everything from council to food banks, mental health ...