Tuesday, 2 February 2010

AV is a no-brainer

I expected to see the LibDem blogosphere erupt in a fit of hand-wringing over different voting systems in response to the news that Goron Brown was now (after 13 years of dither) proposing a referendum on changing the voting system. I was pleasantly surprised to see this wasn't the case so much. Maybe it's because we've already been through a recent bout of this last year. Not wishing to repeat what I said then (although I will), I just wanted to say that I can't believe anyone can seriously suggest that we shouldn't support this.

If we are going to have a referendum, there is absolutely no way we would win with AV+ or STV as, as I've said previously, anything that is complicated to explain will be seen as a stitch up by the public. AV I can explain (and sell) to people, just about! (it's like the X factor would be if they didn't want as much of your money as possible)

Yes, we all know that STV is the best system in every way but AV does solve quite a few of the current problems.

1) It eliminates wasted votes for losing opponents
2) It requires a candidate to get "majority" support
3) It allows smaller parties/independents half a chance as a vote for them is no longer wasted (okay, same as point 1)
4) It removes tactical considerations (okay same as point 3!)

Yes it doesn't:

1) Make for a more proportional system
2) Reduce the powers of the parties in candidate selection
3) Allow you more chance of being represented by someone with similar views
4) Eliminate wasted over-votes for winning candidates

as STV would.

I would argue, however, that AV is still a major step forward in accountability and respecting the voters' wishes.

My 2-point plan for getting the perfect voting system in the UK would be:
a) Win a referendum on AV
b) A subsequent LibDem government brings in STV

Pulling back to now just for a second though, would even enough Labour MPs vote for it for it to get through (with our support)?


Anonymous said...

Gradualism, a very social democratic approach. The all or nothing approach never works when it comes to constitutional reform in Britain. By the way AMS is a much better system than STV.

Anonymous said...

Do you think people should vote tactically, or should they vote Liberal even when the Liberal candidate has no chance of winning (in essence should people go along with FPTP and waste their vote?).

LibCync said...

I would personally always vote LibDem but then maybe that's because I am close to it and see how important it is in the long-term. However, I don't think you can blame people for working within a flawed system to get what they think is the best outcome (ie. in many cases stopping the worst).