Saturday, 2 April 2011

Don't you worry your pretty little head about it

The Mail has decided to back the No campaign in the electoral reform referendum. This is, obviously, well within its rights and dovetails nicely with its standpoint on life that anything developed after 1957 is scary-darey and might bring you out in hives

Personally I'm quite please as I'd decided to vote Yes and so would have felt uncomfortable holding the same view as our cancer obsessed friends. I'm not convinced AV is the best system in the world, but I don't feel it's any less fair than the current system. However should No win the vote there is little-to-no chance of another referendum in my lifetime and so no chance of me ever seeing proportional representation choosing the government we've all actually voted for.

While I'd be happy to participate and learn from a cerebral debate about the merits and dangers of each system that's not likely to be available as the No campaign seems to be following the lead of oil companies poo-pooing climate change, tobacco purveyors pouring scorn on lung cancer and religious nutjobs ridiculing Darwin's work. They've got it easy, they have no need to get involved in serious debate about the issue, they just have to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

I'll try and hunt down the lies, mistruths, deliberate mis-understandings and fear-mongering published till May 5th like an overweight country solicitor chases a fox through the fields of Berkshire. By that I mean I'll be dressed oddly, ignoring chest pains and accompanied by 28 badly treated dogs.

Here we go...

"So why do we oppose the AV system?  Firstly, the reallocation of losing votes, until somebody gets 50 per cent, destroys the principle that every member of society has one equal vote, counted only once.

Votes initially given to extremist parties such as the BNP will be counted two, three or even four times — and will prove decisive in some constituencies."

The insertion of BNP into this paragraph is outright scaremongering, you could easily replace this with Monster raving loony party or Conservatives in many Northern constituencies or Labour in the Home counties. Everybody's votes get counted the same amount of times. It's like the X-factor, after your favourite has been eliminated you have to decide who else to vote for instead, or give up and watch Strictly instead. If your crooner's still being belittled by Simon Cowell you vote for them again.

"Worse, AV will dramatically reduce the likelihood of a single party winning a general election outright ever again.
Instead, hung parliaments will become the norm — with the make-up of governments decided in shabby backroom stitch-ups.
Party manifestos will be reduced to meaningless wishlists to be discarded the moment the election campaign is over."

There's nothing to show this is true at all. Australia uses AV and has a hung parliament at the minute, as do we. We had another one in 1974 and Australia had one in 1940. So far from massively increasing the odds of coalition government it'd be the same or less.

"Experience overseas should also tell Britain to avoid AV. It is used for national elections in only three countries — one of which is Australia, whose citizens are known to loathe the system."

I've had a look around for evidence of this and can find none. A lot of Aussies hate the idea that they are forced to vote whether they want to or not, but not a lot of bile directed against their Preference system (as they call AV). Perhaps they just made this but up to fill the column up with more words.

"Mr Clegg, who once called AV a ‘miserable compromise’, only wants it now because he knows more hung parliaments mean more power for the Lib Dems. 
Each time they agree to form a coalition with Labour or the Tories, the Lib Dems will demand more steps towards proportional representation. This country would soon be on the path to the type of permanent coalition government that has led to paralysis and corruption in countries like Italy."

We won't get any more hung parliaments than we do now. Clegg wants this as he know's it's baby steps towards PR, not because it means he can privatise prisons and the NHS.

"These are the arguments Mr Cameron must make with passion and vigour — even if it upsets his LibDem partners."

The reason he has to use these arguments is because they make AV seem scary and if he'd struggle to find any real reasons for first past the post other than "It's what we've always done" he'd get nowhere.
You, my friend, are too stupid to understand AV.
Whereas I got my job because of it.

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  1. deleting comments Scottie? Surely not you.

    I left ''keep it simple. AV is complicated''

  2. Apologies Tap, I promise I never deleted any comments, it must have been lost on the eThersphere.

    In answer to your point i think you do the electorate a disservice to think they can't cope with a system that allows you to say " I'd love it if Wednesday win the cup, but if they don't I hope spurs do."

    It's not unsimple ( if that's a word)