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? ;)


  1. Hi ho
    Thanks for letting me know about this blog post and hope you don’t mind if I respond in order to your points.
    1 – The “Non of your taxes have been used to print this leaflet” message on the front of the leaflet. Sorry but I can’t see how it’s not meant to imply that either the Yes campaign or their flyer isn’t being funded by the tax payer. Had they put “not endorsed by baby killers” it may still be technically true (dear god, please let that not be technically true!) but would still be dodgy. Given the amount of space on that front page the flyer could easily have had “...unlike the referendum” or some other clarifying statement to make it clear what was intended.
    2 – Thank you, some really good food for thought there. TBH I wasn’t aware that there was a ‘before and after’ version of the site and shall be looking into that with all haste.
    3 – Very agreed that we need to cut back on spending (quite how is another debate) but it did imply (to me, anyway) that the staff listed were being sacrificed directly by the referendum. Is there any proof on what was cut to pay for it (If anyone has it please post it up as I’d love to know) cause until then it’s comparisons that are, imo, designed to shock rather than inform.
    4 – My problem here was the presumption that “under AV it’s the least worst, and therefore the second or third best”. This assumes that you can’t get a straight 50% winner in the first round or that the lead person in the first round can’t get the 50% in the second or later rounds. There is this presumption that you’ll always ‘magically’ get someone that no one wants, that even in the seats which have 50%+ majorities that the lead party will be somehow forced into losing under AV. That’s simply not the case, and it’s that kind of misinformation that made me write in about the leaflet.
    5 – You’ve lost me on that one. Then again I think I worded that question badly in the first place.
    6 – This is presumption that coalitions will break their promises, it ignores that FPTP governments break promises, and it implies that the electorate are too inattentive to notice a party hiding behind the excuse of ‘the coalition made us do it’.
    7 – I don’t disagree that it is more complicated, I just didn’t think it was as complicated as presented in the flyer.
    8 – Then why did the flyer say “There is a very simple principle in politics and governments – whoever gets the most votes wins” if they didn’t want to being government into it?
    9 – Again there is this assumption that the candidate who is ahead in round 1 will never get any more votes in round 2 or 3. The “loser”/candidate with the least votes is gone after round 1, they are out of there. The fastest person gets to run again, everyone still left gets to run again, they just have to keep a consistent popularity till the finish line. There is no cap on the person ahead at round 1 getting further votes in the following rounds and if they got a good enough lead and broad enough support of their policies it is fully likely that they will get to that 50% in a couple of rounds.
    10 – TBH I see this as a wonderful chance to get more people out voting for non nutter parties and to show how fringe those loonies are. They get big shares of the vote currently by having all of their supporters turning up whilst the mainsteam average something like 40% of their voters. Bloody disgrace. Anyway my main problem here was that the response was trying to have it’s cake and eat it.

  2. 11 – see point 6
    12 – check 9. I think we may have to disagree on that one ;-)
    13 – And mine, but at least you actually have some kind of answer to the question which is nice.
    14 – Then why didn’t they make that point rather than use Nick Clegg as some kind of pantomime villain?

    As for the final point – whilst I have some strong opinions I won’t be making my final decision till the 5th and I was honestly willing to be swayed by the response that I got. However it was mostly not answering the questions, which vexed me. Still they have managed to do better than the Yes campaign in that they managed to get a flyer through my door and I still give them credit for responding to a ‘hostile’ email about their campaign (my chum who mailed the Yes campaign about theirs has given up hope on getting a response through).
    All in all my objection wasn’t so much about the merits and flaws of FPTP or AV but more about how the campaign is being run. I do think that the flyer was ‘negative politics’ with a combo of misinformation, sloppy comparisons, and villainisation that really didn’t need to be there. I’d of rather a simple ‘here is why FPTP is better than AV, please vote No’ than what I got through my door. If that didn’t come across with my email to them then my bad, I may not be the most eloquent of writers (my habit of bullet pointing possibly highlights this).
    Either way thanks for the responses, some genuine food for thought in there and some stuff I am going to have to research to find more about, and on the 5th may the better voting system win :-)

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  4. Hi, no I have no problem with anyone replying :)

    I will break away from the bullet points here as even i am finding it hard to follow the different threads.

    The general demeanour of the flyer was aimed at having simple, easy to understand arguments and..well it's propaganda..just like most campaigns, they will stretch the good bits and gloss over the bad.

    Both sides are doing this, and while I don't think they have said anything that isn't true, they haven't been impartial either.

    You can weigh this up with "Yes to Fairer Votes" to see if they are impartial ;)

    Sometimes the winner under fptp will not be what i see as the right winner, sometimes the winner under AV out of the same contest may not be the right winner. In 96% of the seats at GE10 election, the AV winner and fptp winner would be the same after all.

    The point is preferences are good..I like them, I do not agree that it should be all or nothing.
    I should be able to give a first preference...and a second or third, or fourth..but, (and this is where AV goes from the better system to the worse system) my fourth preference shouldn't cancel out your first.

    If you were with a group of friends and half of them LOVED one attraction (Bar 1) and no other and the other half had a slight liking for another (Bar 2)and no other...if you HAD to pick a bar, which would make the most people the happiest?

    Not all preferences are equal, AV lets us see what people actually think of their preferences but then dumps them all back into the same preference level.

    I am also in favour of everyone having an MP, I have always got on really well with all my MPs and have always made time for me, whether they were Tory (as I am) or Labour..or whether they had a majority or just a plurality.

    So that is why I do not agree with PR (with other reasons).

    From what I can gather, it is normally the constituents that have no time for the MP than the other way round.

    I very much doubt that changing the voting system to AV will increase turn out..looking at Australia, while i grant each country is their own, the turnout actually dropped.

    Politics is unpopular because, let's be honest, it's about picking the least worse is really going to get excited about picking between higher cuts or higher taxes.

    The only way to increase turn out is to make it mandatory..

    I am still undecided if it's a bad thing that a lot of people don't vote.. to me if they don't care about politics enough to vote, they probably don't know anything about the people they are voting for...

    anyway, rambling.

    In conclusion, there are good points and bad points on both the two campaigns as well as the two voting systems. Anyone that is 100% in favour of any of them, is an idiot or uninformed.

    Under AV: I like giving preferences, i like the idea of avoiding vote splitting.

    Under FPTP: I like the simplicity of it, it is therefore the most inclusive to everyone.
    I like the fact that people vote for who they want to be the winners, as they tend to know a little about the their ONE party.

    Under AV: I dislike that all ranges of preferences are seen as the same. i dislike that under AV people can be eliminated before all preferences are looked at.
    I dislike that under AV some people can have their firest, second, third, fourth and fifth etc preference taken into account when statistically a majority of voters won't even have their second preference looked at.
    I dislike Donkey Voting.
    I dislike that voting against your candidate can cause your candidate to win.

    Under FPTP: I dislike that two similar parties can damage each other so much that a third party wins.
    I dislike that I cannot always (sometimes and places you can) pick the candidate that stands for my party (this will most likely apply to AV too)

    Anyone that hasn't been tugged both ways even slightly is either lying or hasn't thought about it enough.