I thought I’d post this again as I watch the No campaign run the most disingenuous angle I’ve seen since some of the crazy stuff run by some of the No campaign during the Lisbon referendum. What I find extraordinary is that the No side seem to have completely abandoned defending First Past the Post (which does have some good features) in favour of this crap. Anyway, the following are the main five points being made against the Alternative Vote by the No to AV campaign. My comments are in italics (you know, all slanty, like).
1. AV is UNFAIR. Supporters of fringe parties can end up casting more votes than those who voted for mainstream parties. THE MOST LUDICROUSLY MISLEADING POINT BEING MADE BY THE NO SIDE. IF YOU APPLIED THIS DEFINITION TO THE X FACTOR, IT WOULD MEAN THAT ANYONE WHO VOTED FOR A CONTESTANT WHO WAS VOTED OFF SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED VOTE AGAIN NEXT WEEK. UNDER AV, EVERY VOTER IS TREATED THE SAME, AND THEIR VOTE IS WORTH THE SAME.
2. AV is OBSCURE. It is only used currently in Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea; Fiji are about to scrap it and 6 out of 10 Australians want to scrap it. AV IS OBSCURE? SO IS MARMITE TO THE PEOPLE OF FINLAND. SO WHAT? AV IS USED IN IRELAND TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT IN BYELECTIONS, THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT, AND A VERSION OF IT WAS USED TO ELECT DAVID CAMERON LEADER OF THE TORY PARTY, BECAUSE THE TORIES THOUGHT FIRST PAST THE POST WOULD BE TOO UNFAIR! AND IT IS NOT AN ELITE THING EITHER: IN TWO REFERENDA, THE IRISH PEOPLE VOTED TO KEEP THE CURRENT SYSTEM RATHER THAN ADOPT FIRST PAST THE POST.
3. AV is COMPLICATED, which can lead to extra expense. Counting can take longer and taxpayers will foot the bill for extra costs. IT DOES INVOLVE PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO COUNT TO TEN, AND RETURNING OFFICERS BEING ABLE TO TELL WHETHER SOMEONE HAS OVER HALF THE VOTES OR NOT. IS THAT COMPLICATED? THE NO CAMPAIGN ARE SAYING THAT MILLIONS MUST BE SPENT ON MACHINES TO COUNT THE VOTES. IN THE IRISH ELECTION TWO WEEKS AGO, WHICH USES A FORM OF AV, ALL THE VOTES WERE COUNTED BY HAND.
4. AV is NOT PROPORTIONAL. In fact, the Jenkins study showed that it was less proportional than the current system. Supporters of PR should not support AV. THIS POINT IS TRUE: THE CONCLUSION DRAWN FROM IT IS A CON. ASK YOURSELF THIS, WILL A NO VOTE IN THE REFERENDUM BE SEEN AS A VOTE FOR PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION, OR A VOTE FOR FIRST PAST THE POST? WILL THOSE SAME NO CAMPAIGNERS VOTE FOR A REFERENDUM ON PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION? OF COURSE NOT.
5. AV isn’t even supported by the ‘YES’ CAMPAIGNERS. Before the general election, Nick Clegg called it a “miserable little compromise” and Chris Huhne said “it does not give voters real power”. IT’S TRUE, NICK CLEGG AND CHRIS HUHNE WOULD MUCH PREFER A REFERENDUM ON PR. BUT THE SAME PEOPLE MAKING THIS POINT ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO BLOCKED ASKING THE BRITISH PEOPLE DO THEY WANT PR IN THE FIRST PLACE! AV GIVES VOTERS MORE POWER THAN FIRST PAST THE POST, SIMPLE AS THAT. THAT’S WHY THE PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS DON’T WANT IT.
AV is not perfect, but it is better than First Past the Post and professional politicians don’t like it being used by voters (they insist upon using it in their own internal elections) because it gives voters too much power. For that reason alone, vote Yes on May 5.