Tag Archives: Yes2AV

#oneaday 44: AV – more stats

I have just been looking up the voting  percentage splits from previous elections over the last 30 years in the UK and it seeems that there is a recurring theme here:-

1979 the results of the three main parties were:

Conservatives, 43.9% of the vote, 339 seats

Labour, 36.9% of the vote, 269 seats

Liberals, 13.8% of the vote, 11 seats.

1983

Conservatives, 42.4% of the vote, 397 seats

Labour, 27.6% of the vote, 209 seats

SDP/Liberal Alliance, 25.4% of the vote, 23 seats

1987

Conservatives, 42.2% of the vote, 376 seats

Labour, 30.8% of the vote, 229 seats

Alliance (now LibDems) , 22.6% of the vote, 22 seats

1992

Conservatives, 41.9% of the vote, 336 seats

Labour, 34.4% of the vote, 271 seats

Liberal Democrats, 17.8% of the vote, 20 seats.

1997

Labour, 43.2% of the vote, 418 seats

Conservatives, 30.7% of the vote, 165 seats

Liberal Democrats, 16.8% of the vote, 46 seats

So, without any real argument, our First Past the Post (FPTP) system allows a majority (and therefore ‘strong and decisive) government with minority votes – no more than 43.9% of the voters ever voted for the government in the last 30 years!

So, imagine yourselves in a real life situation, where ten of you are in a meeting, maybe at work, at your school, in your local community. After some debate, you take a vote and under half of those in attendance, those who have taken part, those with arguments win the day. Would the other 6 really stand for that? Of course not. There would be further debate until agreement was made which allowed the majority to feel empowered and to feel that their opinions actually count. That is real life.

If there is any doubt, would we countenance any judicial system, and crucially trial by jury, that did not rely on a majority call? Of course we wouldn’t. AV is not that system, but it feels like FPTP is really not that fair, even if it may be a ‘simple’ system that is ‘easy to understand’.

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#oneaday 43: AV – An Alternative View

I came across this blog yesterday, written incidentally by a man I met many years ago when he worked in the video games industry. I actually thought this was pretty interesting given it was written not only by a Conservative, but a Conservative who actually works in public service as a Conservative, Mr Andrew Boff. I would encourage you to read the blog and also then cast your eyes down the comment section – the visceral ire is pretty unmistakeable, no surprise there though, given that internet trolls seem to be everywhere nowadays!

Anyway, if you have a moment, have a read of his blog http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2011/04/andrew-boff-our-electoral-system-is-broke-fix-it.html 

It does feel sort of mad that we have a system which sends 440 of the 650 MPs to Parliament without the majority support of their electorates. I mean that just does not seem right, or am I missing something?

Add to this some very simple statistics about the 2005 General Election, where the Labour party won by a landslide using the First Past The Post (FPTP)  system :-

Labour won 356 of the seats in Parliament – a majority of seats ie 55.2% , but won with only 35.3% of the votes cast.

Conservative won 198 seats in Parliament ie 30.7% of the seats, but actually recorded 32.3% of the votes cast – only 3% less than Labour but 24.5% less seats!

The Liberal Democrats polled 22.1% of the votes (i.e 10.2% less than Conservative and 13.2% less than Labour) but only won 62 seats, i.e 9.2% of those available.

It looks to me that our voting system, unlike our country, is broken, or certainly does not work.  The Alternative Vote (AV) is not going to fix that system however. Indeed, some will argue that it will only help more coalitions come into play and therefore it will be impossible to vote a single party (often branded ‘strong’ and ‘principled ‘) government out. That could well be the case, but it does rather suggest that the people of the UK or either Labour or Conservative voters and everyone else will not get a look in. Surely the 20th century showed that a cycle of Conservative and Labour governments was not great for our nation. Swinging left to right seems like such a waste of energy after all. Can we simply not take a straight path, dealing with issues rather than party politics? The days of empire are over and the repression of the working classes feels less today than it was perhaps in the first half of the 20th century. May be now is the time to embrace change, in a particularly British way – not too radical, not too fast and certainly not revolutionary. #Yes2AV is a small change so does this make it right?

More research and more reading needed on this issue for me. Next up I want to see what the politicians say, so off to YouTube to see what I can find.

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#oneaday 41: AV: Facts on the Fly(er)?

What a fantastic weekend we had. 4 days off and the most wonderful weather here in the UK. So fantastic that I decided to attend a wonderful Point to Point race meeting in the Cotswolds with friends. Glorious sunshine, happy faces, a few decent horses, some very game riders and plenty of advertising hoardings, flyers and even a  tent advertising No2AV with a big green X.  Mind you, there was no sign of Yes2AV which got me thinking why was there a ‘No’ and no ‘Yes’?

Maybe those who know about laser focus targetting felt that their target demographic would be at the meeting. From the literature I read, I am told that the only party campaigning for this Yes2AV are the Liberal Democrats, so I guess the crowd were deemed to be Conservative, Labour or simply ‘don’t care’. 

One of the leaflets carried a picture of the prime minister with a signed message:-

‘The ‘Alternative Vote’  is an unfair system that allows candidates who finish third to win elections. I urge you to vote ‘No’ to AV on 5 May, otherwise Britain could be stuck with an expensive and discredited voting systems for generations to come.

I wonder how many of those who finish third would really end up winning, although it is possible with AV and not possible under First Past the Post (or Furthest Past the Post as it could be called?  Also I would like to find out more about the ‘expensive’ nature of of the AV system, and just to round things off understand why the system is ‘discredited’ and more accurately by whom? Mr Cameron did not reference any of these facts, so I am on the hunt to find out more.

On the reverse of the flyer we are given ‘3 good reasons to vote NO’

1) ‘AV is unfair – some people’s votes would be counted more that others’ . Good to hear that fairness is a priority. I would simply ask both systems and their supporters is it fair to get a winner if they don’t receive 50% or more of the vote?

2) ‘AV is discredited – [aha, here we are, some evidence! ]- only three countries in the world use it: Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea‘.  I wonder if the people of these 3 countries know that they are discredited? Many other countries use Proportional Representation (PR) rather than AV or indeed FPTP.

3) ‘AV doesn’t work Under AV, the person who comes second or third can end up winning’  True this can happen in extremis, but statistical research in countries that use AV (those discreduited ones) shows that it is rare for the person coming second or third in the first round not to win overall.

I would like some ‘Yes2AV’ material to question, but sadly I have not received any printed flyers, either through my door (twice) or at the racing. Mind you I did rather like the sum up strap line on one of the ‘No2AV’ leaflets which made me smile

‘AV is a politicians fix: Vote No2AV on May 5th’ I think we can safely assume this piece is at least incontrovertible!

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