“Under AV, the winner will emerge from a smoke-filled room after hours of mathematical shenanigans, and probably his policies and beliefs will be completely unknown to most voters”
“how can one differentiate between a Lib Dem, Labour, BNP, Green and Monster Raving Looney. They are all unworthy. I couldn’t possibly grade them in a sensible way”
The Alternative Vote system is complicated, opaque, distorts our traditional democracy and offers no advantages in return. The only thing it accomplishes is to make it easier for mediocre, hand-wringers clever at being all things to all men (yes I’m talking about you, Liberal Democrats) to get elected.
You must vote “No” on May 5.
If politicians really wanted to design a system that improved our democracy, they would institute primary elections along the American model. This would restore power to local people because Tory and Labour leaders wouldn’t be able to impose identikit candidates on local associations. Local party members could stand for election without waiting for an official endorsement from on high.
Given that this would indeed restore power to the people, don’t expect any mainstream party to suggest it.
Whichever way you look at it, AV fails. It is supposed to allow for the winner to receive at least 50 per cent of the vote. But even if that was an intelligent thing to do, AV is the wrong way to go about it.
Monster Raving Looney
Remember that if there are say, six candidates, you are expected to vote for them in order of preference. This is an impossible task to complete with any intelligence. How can one rationally differentiate between say a Lib Dem, Labour, BNP, Green and Monster Raving Looney. To me, they are all unworthy. I couldn’t possibly grade them in a sensible way, except to make them all last.
What’s wrong with the candidate with the most votes winning? But if you really, seriously wanted to make sure the winner had at least 50%, then why not try the French way. In France, if the winner doesn’t have more than 50%, the top two run off a week later. That might take a bit of time and effort, but at least the two remaining candidates can tell the voters what they believe in. The voters can than make an informed decision. Under AV, the winner will emerge from a smoke-filled room after hours of mathematical shenanigans, and probably his policies and beliefs will be completely unknown to most voters. That is a negation of democracy.
The AV system “works” this way. If nobody wins more than 50 per cent, the bottom candidate drops out and his votes are redistributed. This carries on until a candidate emerges with more than 50 per cent. Clearly, it is possible to imagine someone who only came third the first time around to end up winning. How stupid is that? Remember that Ed Miliband was trailing his brother on the initial ballot and he only won when the Alternative Votes were allocated. If you are impressed with fratricidal maniac Ed Miliband, you will love AV. Remember there were two stand-out candidates – Ed Balls and David Miliband. Bland and inoffensive, third placed, third-rate goofball Ed Miliband got the win.
Disenfranchise senior citizens
AV’s clunkiness will disenfranchise many senior citizens. Older people will take this task of rating candidates seriously, but they are unlikely to take up all their options if they feel they can’t take a sensible decision. They are most likely to just want to vote once. This begs the question – if you mark your choice in the traditional manner with an “X”, will your vote be disqualified because it isn’t a “1”?
I tried to explain AV to my 93-year old stepmother Marjorie, and the more you try and justify it, the more esoteric and juvenile it becomes. AV is simply a silly system, obviously cooked up by some academic divorced from the real world.
I’ve got no time for Tory leader David Cameron, but his description of AV was spot on, it seems to me.
“Let’s imagine it’s August 2012. The Olympics is in London and Usain Bolt powers home first in the 100 metres. But when he gets to the podium, he’s given the bronze medal and the athlete who came second gets the gold. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it – giving the top prize to someone who didn’t win? But that’s exactly what could happen in our democracy if the country chooses the Alternative Vote system in the referendum on May 5,” said Cameron.
Cameron toast if AV wins?
He spotlights the lunacy of the system, but unfortunately, if the referendum passes it will be his fault. Don’t forget that one of the prizes the LibDems extracted from the Tories before agreeing to this ludicrous and undemocratic coalition was a referendum on the voting system. Cameron could have taken steps to make sure the referendum failed by insisting that an important constitutional change like this needed a turnout of at least 40 per cent. He didn’t, and his career may well be toast if AV wins.
AV is a way to reward losers. It will disenfranchise many voters and distort our democracy. If politicians want our vote, let them simply argue their cases, and take it on the chin if they can’t convince a simple majority of us that they are right. Don’t mess with our precious democracy.