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

People may or may not prefer AV. What they care about is something else.

It’s a myth that “nobody wants AV“, says Fabian General Secretary, Sunder Katwala, today. “It’s as popular a first choice as FPTP,” he says, quoting polling evidence which supports his contention. He’s right, of course, but the truth about electoral reform is rather different.

Quite a few people want AV, or at least want it more than FTFP, and they’re very well represented in the blogosphere. The important question, however, is how interested is the public in electoral systems or electoral reform. Because “want” means quite a bit more than expressing a preference between options listed by a pollster. I preferred Tony Blair to each and every Tory leader he faced. Did I want him as my Prime Minister? No I didn’t. And it was his near-destruction of the two party system by denying the British public any real political choice, by eliminating the possibility of dissent within his party and undermining the accountability of government to parliament, that brought us to this debate. 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