Friday, 29 April 2011

The wisest cat of them all...

AV Oddity Part 2

Let's say that we have three candidates
10,000 people turn out for the vote

A has 34% of the Vote
B has 33%+1 of the vote
C has 33-1 of the vote..

All C second preference A.

A wins with 6699 votes 3400 first and 3299 second preferences. =67%
A Majority of 1699 votes

Let's re-run that election but this time two people change their mind from B to C

A has 34% of the Vote
B has 33%-1 of the vote
C has 33+1 of the vote..

All of B second preference C

C Wins on 6600 votes 3301 first and 3299 second preferences. =66%
A Majority of 1100 votes.

So we go from a majority for A to a majority for C from just two votes...thats a 2799 vote swing!

AV is not logical, is "disturbingly unpredictable" and "unacceptably unfair"

Due to it's elimination process, it turns the competition from a 'winner takes all' to a 'loser takes all' where the will of whoever loses being the deciding factor

NB. this example is not likely to happen on this scale, but is only a magnification of the unfairness and inequality that exists in every AV election

Part two ...

A has 34% of the Vote
B has 33%-1 of the vote
C has 33+1 of the vote..

Perhaps, lets say in the second example, after the two voters have changed their mind, that only 1%of the total vote (100 votes) belonging to B transfers to C and the rest are exhausted..

We now have A on 3400 votes and C on 3401

C wins the election on 34%+1 of the total vote (or 50%+1 of final round votes)

In this example just two votes had a swing of 3299 votes..

and because of those two votes instead of getting a winner that had 66% of the total vote...who happens to be the FPTP winner (don't ever let someone tell you AV is only better than FPTP) we have an AV winner that is on 34% of the total vote...about half!

Vote No to AV on May 5th

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Two Cheers and some beers for AV

I was directed to this article "Two Cheers for AV" by @Hens4Freedom.

I will start off by saying that this article is very good in selling AV, it admits some faults of AV and makes the case that it isn't such a simple choice...but of course, he has picked AV so there are bound to be a few things we disagree on.

Claim One
Av requires a majority.

This isn't true in our version of AV, as votes are not compulsory and preferences are not compulsory the chances of a majority are middling, normally around 40% of the time according to most research, the MP elected will not feature at any preference level on the ballots of a majority of the voters.

Of course you can say this under FPTP but with 60% I believe at the last election. However the two do not compare that well, one is not preferencing a candidate at any level ..say from 1st- 8th is infact a vote against, whereas the other is simply not selecting them as a first choice, with nothing said about the other 7 possible preference levels.

Claim Two
Under AV a winner cannot be disliked by a majority

As with the first claim and for the reasons discussed, this is simply not true.

Claim Three
Fptp lets extremists in

We have not had an extremist MP at WestMinster for a very long time.

Claim Four
The Chirac claim..

Here is an odd one, firstly he criticises the system for allowing Le Pen to appear as a top two candidate..well yes, I can see how that can be annoying, but let's remember that the French know their system and they know they are likely to have a second vote before Le Pen could possibly become President..he then goes on to make a rather strange claim....

"The result was an apparent 80 per cent landslide win for Chirac. But Jospin, who was probably preferred to any other candidate by a majority of voters, and therefore would have been a democratic choice"

Well, ACTUALLY, luckily there were numerous studies on this particular election, as there are on most single winner elections.
So, we know that Chirac would still win under both approval voting AND range voting.
I am hoping the original author was unaware of these studies..but he should probably have checked if he was going to write about the subject.

Source is LSE and

Claim Five

"AV will not lead to a gain for the compromise party."
Yes, a lot of seats are Labour vs Conservative and in this case it will not change..BUT there are many seats when one of the main parties are Lib Dem.
In these seats, I am sure the author will agree, the Lib Dems will benefit hugely from transfers from the other main party. Also, one of the main claims from the Yes campaign is that many Lib Dems in Labour/Tory marginals vote tactically. Under Av this would not happen so I think it is a particularly bankrupt point to try and make.

The Author then speaks about two points that he believes make AV better than PR

1) That FPTP leads to extremist winners and AV prevents that.
2) That AV will mean no tactical votes

And lastly the author says that he hopes AV will lead to PR.

So 1) we have already dismissed, we do not have extremist MPs under FPTP..the good things about claims about FPTP is we have working examples..

2) This one is a yes and no..Yes, our first preferences will be more honest and NO more of our votes will end up with parties that we do not consider to be the best candidate.

So we are being HONEST about it, but it is doing what tactical voting does on a much wider scale than ever happened with FPTP.

His last point is an interesting one, as half of the article is based on how AV is better than other systems at keeping out extremists ...he then says he wants PR ..which is the single system that does allow these in to power. I am not making a comment on whether this is right or wrong, simply pointing out the clashing logic.

I think it is time for us , on both sides, to start being honest with each other, arguments like those above belong to people that have not researched what they are talking about...and I am not sure if this is BECAUSE the author doesn't know what he is talking about...or knows and is misleading the reader on purpose.

Vote No to Av

Is politics just a choice between A or B?

The Yes To Fairer Votes, Debate

I have just returned from the Yes to Fairer Votes event/rally/debate at Canterbury Christ Church University.

When I first turned up to the venue, I was treated to tables covered in Yes Campaign paraphernalia. I was kicking myself for not bringing any No2AV leaflets, but due to not living in Canterbury for four years I had stupidly forgotten the traffic situation and was therefore slightly out of breath, I probably wouldn't have had time to prepare anyway.

The debate kicked off with Daniel Hamilton for the 'No' side and John Ault for the 'Yes' side giving their opening bit.

The usual issues were called upon, for the Yes side John opened up by saying he wouldn't pick AV if he had a choice, but
*AV would make MPs work harder
*AV would prevent MPs from only targeting safe voters
*AV would end safe seat and jobs for life
*That the No campaign think you're stupid

He informed us that 64% of people that didn't vote in the GE10 would be voting for them and that AV would prevent MPs from only targeting marginal areas..........

At this point, I must say his buddying up to the audience was still making me smile, "Who here has a job for life?" ... but as the evening went on this general quiet amusement turned into a rather uncomfortable feeling..similar to how you feel when your parents tried to relate to you as a teenager.

It became very clear from the off that the Yes speakers argument was very much 'Aren't politicians bastards!'. He made several comments likening the 'Yes to Fairer votes' campaign to the suffragettes and the fight for universal emancipation and continued to tout the claim that AV gives power back to the people (Which the main funder for YTFV, The ERS, disagrees with).

Daniel Hamilton then stepped up to the plate. He spoke about

*FPTP producing stable government
*FPTP produced a more proportional result in 3/4 of the last elections than AV
*FPTP produces safe seats because the people vote for them
*That under AV 4/10 of all elected will get less than 50% of the total vote
*That while AV is easy to vote with ( Any one can rank 1-2-3-4 after all) that it produces some weird results, like when it can benefit your candidate more if you vote against them sometimes.
*Av would cost £250 million (I disagree on this>)
*That AV IS tactical voting in all but name built into a system
*Fringe votes would decide some of the seats

I know that looks like I have written more of the No points than I did the Yes. This is only because that is all that was said.. but in many different ways.

Then we came to the questions.

Q. Will the referendum be the only one seen in our life times if we vote no?
John - Yes
Daniel - Don't know

Well obviously 'Don't know' is the honest answer there. I wouldn't have guessed that I would have to defend FPTP against AV this year if asked a year ago. We cannot really know what will happen. The electoral system we use wasn't really spoken about until now so as long as the pressure is kept after the 'No' vote, I see no reason why we won't see STV or something similar on the manifesto of one of the main parties...though of course, I don't know.

Q. Would having Primaries be better than a change to AV?
John. Maybe, but that is up to the party to decide
Daniel. (same)

Q. Will AV see the end to short term change in policy
John. No
Daniel. No

This question seemed to be a bit of a strange one as it has nothing to do with AV or FPTP.... the only way to not have a change in policy is to not have a change in government.

At this point I must admit my note taking takes a turn for the worse so will go through the rest of the points I remember as I do.

The issue of cost came up and in a different question the 'right' cost.

Now as a No supporter I cringe when I hear the £250 million price tag..even if we use the counting machines, which I don't think we will especially not with the fuss that has been made, the largest part of the remaining money is on the referendum..with the remaining money being on education.

The cost argument only works if, like me, you would consider AV a waste even if it were free....

Both sides made the point that elections should be as cheap as they can be without limiting effectiveness.

Another question was about whether the debate had been made worse by it being made political...

The Yes campaign attacked the No campaign for using the imagine of Nick Clegg...then it was deathly silent as no-one mentioned the Dinosaur/Nick Griffin campaign from the Yes side.

The issue of Fringe groups was brought up and as a No supporter who doesn't go along with the 'AV will lead to BNP' nonsense, I was happy to find out that Daniel would match my view on this.

We then were treated to an over passionate promise from John that he "wouldn't let the BNP get a seat"...which I thought was nice of him...except of course that as he said he was an advocate of PR ...which would let the BNP get at least a few seats....
Another logical fallacy. Not due to AV but because of a rather over passionate speaker.

Then we got on to coalitions..

Coalitions are tricky. They can in some circumstances others not, but my concern is that I believe coalitions will lead to unaccountability..
Example, in the last half of the 20th century in West Germany the Free Democrats had on average 9% of the vote.
However due to the wonders of coalitions they were in Government 86% of the time...with 19% of the cabinet posts....

No... coalitions aren't for me.

John claimed that coalitions aren't more likely under AV...even though I have never seen an independent analysis that agrees with him.
He goes on to point out that in Australia they have had less hung parliaments and less coalitions.


Firstly, out of the 44 elections held since their introduction of AV, 22 of them were coalition governments! Secondly, because of the permanent coalition, Australia is effectively a two party state (which was also denied by the 'neutral' host..but not by any other commentator I have ever heard from) in order to get a hung parliament, you have to, in effect, do the equivalent of flipping a coin and have it land on neither heads nor tails....which funnily enough, they did at the last election. (72/72).

The usual nonsense was rolled out

"All the parties use AV to select their leaders"
...the survey says...EH EERR!
Only Labour (that brought us Ed Miliband instead of David Miliband) and Lib Dems (Nick Clegg) were elected by AV. Cameron was elected by a hybrid Exhaustive run off MP nomination with a FPTP member vote..(for those that want to compare it to FPTP, Cameron won 65% of the total vote at first pref..meaning he would have won under FPTP and if it was under AV, it wouldn't have gone further than first round).

"No longer will we have an MP that most people are against"

Nope, in fact I have seen elections where the winner got 37% of the TOTAL vote under AV. (NSW NEWCASTLE 2007).. that means that 63% of people not only not wanting them as a first choice..they didn't want them as a 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th,6th,7th and 8th choice (it went to 8 rounds). In fact 40% of all elections, like we have said , are likely to have a MP with less than a yes 60% at the moment have less than a majority now..but that is just from the first have everyone have to choose between you or nothing ..and a majority still don't pick you..well, that is bad.

To Sum Up...

Nothing new happened at this debate, the same arguments, the same nonsense and the same lies, mixed in with what , to me at least, a very non-independent independent host. This was reflected in the before and after poll hardly changing.

I know this will sound biased but Daniel, to me, was by far the better speaker and stuck to the issues instead of going off into utopian rants, unlike John, Daniel was respectful of his opponent and neither pulled silly faces at everything being said by the other speaker or started conversations with the host instead of listening to his opponent.

A rather disappointing night really, though it was nice that people were getting engaged with the issues.

For an alternative Yes To Fairer Votes Version of the same night, I would encourage you to read this blog

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Is AV better than FPTP ...revisited

I was recently pointed towards Gowers' Weblog by @lipscombe1 (James Lipscombe) be honest it was something I have come across in my AV saga before, read a few lines of, chuckled to myself about, and then left.

It does seem however, like the 'Voting Power index' and the 'the Jungle Animals had an election video' that the Yes campaign..or at least it's campaigners are taking it quite seriously.

So let's get in to it.

I will not be copying over all the text and then reviewing it as I believe his post is far too long and would only make it worse. I may however copy over bullet points which in combination with the link to the original post here you can see for yourself to check I haven't used anything thing out of context. It isn't my aim to do so and as always my comments box will be unmoderated (except for when I am attacked with foul language rather than my posts of course..and perhaps even then I might let it slide if it makes me laugh).

Ok, the post opens with a brief background of the referendum, past referendum's etc and informs the reader that we will be treated to a more mathematical slant of Blog, which I am always in favour of (maths is a lot easier to debate).

A Little History is where we hit our first snag.
It becomes very obvious that this is going to be a FPTP is not PR section..which is a valid point..however in the context of FPTP vs AV it isn't.

The second point is comparing NATIONAL % of votes when we do not have a national based system but a constituency based system, this is pretty misleading for two reasons. You can have two areas where a seat is hard fought and won under fptp, compared to a safe seat. This will throw the national results..secondly and most importantly, the constituencies are not all the same size.
You can have two constituencies where 90% of the population vote for someone, but because the constituencies are different sizes it would appear that a seat for A needs X votes, where a seat for B only needs Y votes.

This is a valid criticism none the less but that has nothing to do with FPTP and is just as likely to happen under AV. What is good though is that the other part of the act that brought us the referendum will also aim to fix this problem.

The usual suspects are called upon, Thatcher and Blair. I personally think this is a hook to get anti thatcherites and anti blairites into the debate in a kind of "FPTP was the reason we had X" fashion.

What he has conspicuously left out of course is the poll results from the time that could be useful when comparing both systems historically.

To save time, I'll concentrate on the last election mentioned in this section, 1997.

Labour, 43.2% of the vote, 418 seats 64% of the seats

Conservatives, 30.7% of the vote, 165 seats 25% of the seats

Liberal Democrats, 16.8% of the vote, 46 seats 7% of the seats

Now, that looks quite damning doesn't it and I can see why a Yes campaigner might like to use that.

However, let's look at the same thing again, but with AV seat % according to research.

Labour, 43.2% of the vote, 418 seats 64% of the seats Under AV 471 seats 68% of Seats

Conservatives, 30.7% of the vote, 165 seats 25% of the seats under AV 70 seats 10% of seats

Liberal Democrats, 16.8% of the vote, 46 seats 7% of the seats Under AV 115 seats 18% of seats

Source being BBC findings which Roy Jenkins also backs up

So instead of giving Labour 21% too many seats, it gives them 25% too many.
Instead of giving the Conservatives 6% less of the seats, its gives them 21% less.
Instead of Giving the Lib Dems 10% less seats it gives them 1% more.

If you add all the results together, this election is 10% less proportional under AV than under FPTP.

I feel I should make it clear here that I am not saying one system will be more or less proportional, they are not proportional systems and some of the elections he mentioned will be more proportional under AV, some less.

The point I am trying to make is that this argument belongs to those promoting STV, (even though it would still produce some disproportionate results) or national lists.

This point is also missed by him in his section
Does FPTP reflect the will of the voters?> in which he ironically says about the election we have just looked at , the 1997 election of Tony Blair "However, it is not reasonable to say that the size of Blair’s majority — he had almost two thirds of all seats — reflected the national mood."

He then makes a similarly flawed comment on the party with the most seats not getting the most votes, this statement suffers from the same problems we have discussed.

To be honest with you readers, it was at this point I chuckled and clicked the X in the corner of my page. I have seen many of these arguments in the last 8 months and I have replied to so many. I have not read the rest of the article, so I will read through it now and post some more :)
OK, he has admitted that AV is not proportional so the top bit of his blog is irrelevant..interesting tactic "..there is no obvious reason to expect AV to be proportional."

Ah, the wasted vote/tactical vote argument.
Here, is another Yes campaign line. That if you don't vote for the winner, your vote is wasted.
However I feel that a vote is NEVER wasted. If I want to vote for a party, that is my democratic right, if i lose, it's not wasted, calling it wasted is very cynical.

The phrase "It's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts" should be the motto of any democracy lover.

He then talks about monotonicity with AV, i.e that sometimes it is possible for you to benefit your candidate of choice by voting against them.
He judges that this is unlikely to catch on..well I can agree with that, but it's likely to go on as you will see here

Very importantly we have to think about what people gain from voting tactically under both FPTP and AV and the cost of doing it.

Under FPTP, people tend to vote tactically when they are beyond reasonable doubt their candidate of choice will lose. So they vote for someone else, the cost is your favoured candidate is even less likely to win. You have made a compromise.
Under AV, when you vote tactically you risk causing your candidate to lose but you only do it if you are beyond reasonable doubt your candidate of choice will lose, if it pays off, you candidate of choice will win. The cost is much more worth it. No compromise has to be made.

This is why, although less likely, I believe tactical voting to be worse under AV.

Of course, depending on what definition of 'tactical voting' we use, if it was for example "having your vote go to a party that isn't the best standing, in your opinion, in order to stop another that you dislike from winning" we could describe AV as a whole as institutionalised tactical voting.

The FPTP name is brought up. I can answer this, the winning post is when your votes are X+≥1 where X is the number of votes of the second place.
It is not a fixed post in the terms of votes needed, but nor is 50% of final round votes+1 so there is no real change or advantage with AV..

Boy, this blog is long...

I will skim through some bits "It was the FPTP system that allowed Mrs Thatcher to rule for eleven years with large majorities and well under half the votes" above, in some circumstances it would have got 'worse' under AV with Thatcher so another slightly misleading statement there.

"Under AV there is a real chance that Labour would have won the 1983 election", not according to the suggests Labour would have lost 20 more seats...

"it is unlikely that John Major would have had his shock victory in 1992, for instance" again not according to the research

"Probably in 2005 it would have left Blair a little more punished for the Iraq war" not according to the research

We then get on to the counters to No2av arguments..
1. the horse race, i know where he is coming from on this one, though i will say there are races like what he has described as silly, where you see how far you can run in a set time (or set amount of votes) and the racer that has run the more laps or distance is the winner.

2. Av being unfair.
This is a tricky one, i am not exactly sure what no2av mean by unfair..what I mean when I say unfair is this...not all ballots are treated the same, you can have some ballots where every preference is used towards the result and you can have people that only have their first preference used. Kind of like this video

3.this leads on from the 2nd nicely. Think of a system, where instead of preferences, you have X ballots, but multiple rounds...every time you vote, the least popular candidate is eliminated and everyone that voted for that candidate gets another vote to use on adding to the remaining candidates vote total
This system quite clearly gives some people more votes than others.

It is what I have referred to as DB voting, named after myself ;) ...It will produce the same results AV every time, because it is the same thing but worded differently. We have got into the realm of semantics here. Clearly though, having your second preference ignored if you first doesn't win while other people have their 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th preference influence the result is not equal or fairer.

4.This works if you don't believe people's first choice should, if we are being objective, be more valuable than a 4th preference. I do believe that, so I see an unfair advantage.

5. I agree in part with this one, Av doesn't help the BNP but where I disagree is that it will not help the extreme issues become mainstream.

Yes, I am sure many extremist people vote for mainstream parties, but there WILL be more of these votes up for grabs (SEE George Foreman Grill analogy)

6. The cost i am not going to comment on, I do not think no2av are lying, i do think they are wrong...and especially now all the fuss has been made, counting machines will not be needed...there will be a cost in education but this point only really counts if we do not consider AV better than FPTP, so is more of a reason to back up someone already voting no then to convince people who think AV is the best system.

7. Av is not simple..ranking is.

"Labour, A
Conservative, B
Lib Dems, C

where and (let us suppose)

Those lucky BNP supporters now get their second-choice votes counted. Let’s suppose that and that and are the percentages of votes transferred to Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, respectively. So after the first elimination the position is

Labour, A+E
Conservatives, B+F
Lib Dems, C+G

Suppose now that the Lib Dems are third. Now we have and and the standings are

Labour A+E+H+K
Conservatives B+F+J+L

Let us think carefully what and stand for. is the number (expressed as a percentage of the total number of voters) of Lib Dem voters who transfer to Labour, which means Lib Dems who either put Labour as their second choice or put the BNP as their second choice and Labour as their third choice. is the same thing but with “the Conservatives” replacing “Labour”. is the number of BNP supporters who put the Lib Dems second and Labour third, and is the number of BNP supporters who put the Lib Dems second and the Conservatives third."

Put your hands up if that is simple?

We may think it is simple, I think playing piano or guitar is simple...but not everyone will..i would go so far to say, most people won't like it.. hence the increase in spoiled ballots even in OPV in Australia.

8. It is fair to say that some politicians will become more extreme, others will become more safe..depending on what is needed.
He also makes a point that under FPTP you can elect someone that most people dislike, I agree..this can of course happen under Av, as long as they aren't the MOST disliked. I doubt very often the condorcet loser does win under FPTP though, not with the likes of the BNP and other such "healthy grill waste" parties.

9.This is an odd one, hung parliaments are believed to be more likely with AV, most independent sources will say this, from 4 Fact Check, BBC, etc.. they will become more likely anyway but will get more so with AV. That is not the odd bit though, the author argues my point..that in 1997 AV could have led to a bigger swing to Labour..even though he criticised FPTP for the swing being too much already.

10. Is true, but will change over time, like who benefits under AV in Oz has, but at the moment the lib dems would benefit from AV.

11. I agree with the author here, you shouldn't vote not to hurt should, in my opinion, vote no because it is fairer.

12. Not too swayed either way here, only way to dislodge a government is to take away it's MPs, only way for a MP to lose in FPTP is for someone to get more votes than them, under AV someone can get more votes than them, but because the new party is a polar opposite to the other non-elected party, they second preference the incumbent.

An example would be say a Lib Dem MP.. he is unpopular, so labour over takes him in the first round, but the tory voters, while unhappy with the lib dem are unlikely to preference Labour fact they may see another Labour Mp as a threat to a possible Tory government, so they tactically preference Lib Dems, meaning that the Lib Dem is safe even though unpopular because at least they're not tory/labour..this would be unlikely under FPTP.

13.Ahh, this is pretty much the Voter Power Index argument. The more marginal your constituency the more value your vote has as it has an increased chance of changing the result.

This is only true of course if you view your vote in isolation of everyone else's.

To say for example that in a game result that ended A 20 vs B 21 ..the last score for B was worth the most, is completely in accurate.
If you took away any of B's goals, that last goal would crash in its perceived value.

It should be plain to see that every goal is important and every goal counted as 1 goal.

The same can be said of votes.

Every vote is worth one vote for one person under FPTP. Everyone can change the result by '1'

A nice way to demonstrate this is to go to the GE2010 results page and look at you constituency and look at your chosen party's result. Everyone changed that number by '1'. That is all ..and that is every voter.

14. I also don't go for the "it's been done this way for ages so let's keep it" but i also don't go for the "it's been done this way for ages so let's get rid of it" argument.
I want to keep FPTP because it is, in my opinion better than AV.

I liked this post, I feel no need to change my mind, but at least they're arguments.

I hold many of the authors views on what is wrong, but most of the time completely disagree with the cause or remedy.

I would hate to think that we sleep walked into a Yes vote because "anything must be better".
Yes, sometimes FPTP is crap, I have many blog posts where I make this clear, but AV doesn't fix these problems and can make some worse.

I'd encourage everyone to vote NO in May, AV is not a step in the right direction, it is a step to split the reformer vote.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The reply to the reply to the No 2 AV reply

I came across a post from "Raggedy-Man" asking questions to the No2AV campaign about the leaflet. He then got a reply and decided to comment on it. I thought it fair that I reply back to flesh out some of the points No2AV made.

1) The funding part. It was mentioned probably for the reason that many times when I am campaigning I am asked how much money we are wasting...the answer in my opinion is a lot...but not on this leaflet..It's true that no tax was spent on the Yes to Av's campaign either...but anyone who gets both and assumes because it doesn't say it on the 'Yes' flier that it MUST be funded by taxes is going to be in the extreme minority.

2)They should have answered your Voting Index query better...
The short answer is that the voting index is nonsense. The only way for everyone to get "1" is to have a single part system.
Infact before they manipulated the formula to make the 'Yes' campaign look better, their results would have made interesting reading.

Let's look at the results from the old site shall we...

Where your vote is worth the most was Arfon where you get 1.308 votes each... the winning MP got 33.88% of the, let's look at the WORST place according to the Index..Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough where your vote is only worth 0.002 votes. The winning MP got 69.59% of the vote.
Now, as a Yes to AV supporter, shouldn't this prevent them from using the Voting index? I mean considering that they think that the MP should get more than 50% of the vote..but the voting index says you have less of a vote the higher the % the winning MP gets??

3)Not really much to add to their reply, with finite money, money saved will be spent on something else more worthy or to reduce how much we have to borrow so less interest to pay..

4)Again, not much to add besides the fact that AV doesn't find the most supported candidate all the time...I have blogged on this too.

5)This one is strentching it a bit, they talk about fptp and then say but under AV someone lesser can win.

6)Well he has nicely dodged the logic here. Under AV coalitions ARE more likely, in coalitions promises are less likely to be kept. This is true.
No claim was ever made that all FPTP policies are enacted..but normally they have to explain why and have credible reasons. Under coalitions they can just say, "Sorry, not our call".

7)There is obviously a huge difference in how complicated both systems one you cast a vote, you walk out of the booth knowing who you have voted for and if they get more votes then anyone else, they win.

Under AV you rank all the preferences you want, you do not know when you leave the booth who you have voted for (after all according to the YES to AV campaign, you only have one vote), then there is the counting method which goes on for a bit at the very least the same length as FPTP but sometimes much more...Also consider in amongst that, that you can actually be better sometimes voting for your opponent under AV as sometimes this ca cause your favorite candidate win whereas if you voted for the person you really wanted, they may lose. ...But pointing this out I guess shows that I must think everyone is stupid..not that AV IS complicated.

8)Under FPTP and AV we do not vote for governments..we vote for MPs.

9)You have used a run off analogy to counteract a FPTP position.
There ARE no rounds 'or heats' with AV, that is nonsense.
In heats or rounds, everyone gets to run again..if in some heats they only let the loser run again to see if they could beat the fastest persons time without letting the fastest person run more than'd think it unfair right? As these do not constitute 'heats'.

The better analogy would be a single round (as thats what both AV and FPTP is)...
..Everyone runs a race to see how far they can get in 10 minutes...but because the winner doesn't run further than all the other people put together, the loser gets to choose where he wants to donate his distance to...if someone hasn't got more than everyone else's distance put together, the next slowest person gets to decide who he wants to donate is distance too...

Does this sound like a good way to decide who is the winner? This is AV.

10)I have never got this argument, the BNP will undoubtedly get more votes but will still count for nothing to them as smaller parties have less chance of winning under AV..what WILL increase though is the need for people in the mainstream to take on these more radical elements in order to try and get second preferences..

I would rather the fringe vote be left in the fringe.

11)The point they made was that coalitions lead to broken promises and coalitions are more likely under AV..

12) You answer your own point, this isn't about PR. People vote for MPs, AV which is basically losers ganging up to take down winners, isn't going to lead to 'fairer' wins for MPs.

13) Canada is rather a different country to the UK, made up of a lot of regional politics..this is why there have been more hung parliaments.
..and see my reply for 6..

14) Nick Clegg is the leader of the party that will often decide who gets into coalition under AV. Maybe we'll have another Lib Dem leader decide in the future but the sentiment doesn't really change, the policies will still be decided in coalition deals, not manifestos

One final point, the original E-Mail was written to No2AV to help him 'make up his mind'.. is anyone thinking that really he may have made up his mind already? ;)

Friday, 1 April 2011

The George Foreman Grill analogy (AV vs FPTP in extreme views)

For those of you that do not have the pleasure of owning a healthy grill, the concept is that you cook your food on a sloping hot plate. This means that as the food is cooked, all the fat and excess liquid is drained off the food (with mine it drains into a removable bowl).

The benefit of this is that you can buy and eat food that if cooked traditionally, would normally have nasty bits in it and be unhealthy, without those drawbacks.

To bring it back to politics, this is a perfect way of thinking about FPTP, AV and PR.

By filtering out the extreme vote, FPTP is effectively draining away the 'fat and nasty bits' leaving the most supported in place.

With PR, you 'eat the food' as it comes. You get the good bits, you get the nasty bits. Nothing has been changed from how it was given to you.

...then we come to AV.
AV also 'drains away the fat and lard' however, in the worst of both systems, it then poors it back on top of the 'healthy food'.

With AV you'll have the respectable parties courting the views of the extreme parties in order to try and gain the second preferences of their voters.

Unlike PR, you will not have good bits and bad bits represented, you'll just have goods bits with a layer of lard over it all.

FPTP may mean that not everyone's views are represented, but this is because those views do not represent a large enough proportion of the voters in that area. I do not see what is wrong with that in a democracy.

Much like finding the median can sometimes be a much better way of finding the average than the mean.

Vote No to AV for healthy politics (centuries without extremists)