“Make it 50” and the Janus-faced Yes Campaign….

The new Yes to AV slogan ‘Make it 50’ is dreadful on so many levels. It’s obscure and people who are not immediately aware of the 50% argument won’t have a cat in hells chance of knowing what it means. Nor, I suspect, will they have much inclination to find either. For Yes it rather reinforces the impression that their arguments are based on distant concerns and it adds to the elite and ‘politicswonk’ feel to their campaign. This isn’t a problem if you want to appeal to fellow wonks but as a lever to excite the masses to turn out and vote in this referendum its hardly a brilliant device. However, above everything else though it simply isn’t true. Continue reading

How AV can lead to the election of the least favoured candidate

According to Yes to Fairer Votes, Alternative Vote (AV) is “as simple as 1,2,3…. The principle behind AV is just as simple. An election winner should need the support of a majority of the people.” That sounds fair. So how is it that, under AV, you could end up with the least popular candidate? Not so fair after all. Here’s how it can happen (with thanks to John Bone of the University of York for a very similar example): Continue reading

Labour No to AV is born…

It looks like those within the Labour Party who want a No to AV vote on May 5th finally have an organisation to take-on Labour Yes. Quietly, Labour No to AV is being born. It has its own website which you can see here and, in addition, literature has been produced by three trade unions opposed to AV — the GMB, Community and Aslef. All these developments are welcome, as is the fact that in this literature there are moves to tackle the exact nature of AV as a system. For example, it directly debunks the myth that AV will end tactical voting. This is welcome and something the No campaign needs to do more — address the inequities and unfairness of the AV system. Continue reading

AV, the anti-politicians choice? The opposite is true

According to Sunder Katwala of the Fabian Society, the Yes to AV campaign is stressing a ‘people against the politicians’ theme. AV is supposed to attract people who are anti-politician. Charles Kennedy said of AV on Daily Politicsit’s a politician’s issue and we’ve got to turn it into a public issue.” Too right. It is an issue the voters neither understand nor are especially interested in. Why else would the polls be predicting such varied results depending on how the question is asked or what was said beforehand. Continue reading

We need a labour movement No to AV Campaign…

The current clutch of opinion polls do not make pleasant reading for the No to AV camp. They are showing a clear momentum shift in the direction of a Yes vote with the ComRes poll showing Yes taking a 10% being the latest example of this. Of course, a high percentage of ‘dont know’s’ still exist (ComRes shows these at 30%) but this is hardly a crumb of comfort, as Mike Smithson observes: Continue reading