Sunday, February 20, 2011

Voting systems: all things to everybody

Or no things for anybody.

According to William Hague,
AV is unfair. With First Past the Post, everybody gets one vote. But under AV, supporters of extreme parties like the BNP would get their vote counted many times, while other people's vote would only be counted once.
So lets get this straight. According to the No campaign, AV is good for the BNP (boo hiss vote NO). So what about the Yes2AV campaign?

Well according to Yes2AV partisans FPTP is good for the BNP,
4. Shutting down Extremism
Extremists can get in by the back door under FPTP. We‟ve already seen BNP candidates elected to our town halls. And in each case, they have scraped in with minority support. AV doesn't let candidates slip in with just a minority of the votes. Winners need the goodwill of the majority. For extremists AV is a brick wall.
This of course leaves me a little confused. Because what goes for the BNP must go for the Greens, UKIP and any other of the smaller parties.

If as supporters of both sides claim, their own system is the better system for our democracy, how can both sides boast how their systems will keep out the smaller parties?


WitteringsfromWitney said...

As you probably know Gawain I am against AV both as a matter of principle (choices) and because it is a 'nothing' system really.

Both the arguments quoted are flawed in their reasoning, which is to be expected when 'spin' is employed to sell an idea.

To negate the 'spin' just set out how both systems work, the bare technical details, then let the public make their choice if they even want to.

Gawain Towler said...

"if they even want to" I think is the key point there

peezedtee said...

"Because what goes for the BNP must go for the Greens, UKIP and any other of the smaller parties."

Not necessarily. I think most people perceive the BNP as extremists, but the Greens and UKIP much less so or not at all. Being a minority party is not the same thing as being extremist.

To put that into practical terms under AV, it seems likely that relatively votes will transfer from the BNP to another party (or vice versa), whereas Green and UKIP voters will mostly (if they are using the system sensible) express a second and possibly third preference.

Hague is of course completely wrong when he says that some votes get counted more than others under AV. Everybody has one vote and all of them are counted at each count. If your candidate has no chance, your vote transfers to your second preference and then all the votes are counted again.

If you ask in a restaurant for chicken curry and they have run out, so you choose pizza instead, you have still only had one meal.