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A.v. - My Main Worry

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With the referendum around the corner, I have major concerns, non of these have really been mentioned in the press yet:

1) Proportional Representation works by vote percentage for the party being the percentage of MPs they have. The MPs are chosen by the party and not the voters, which means that MPs loyal to the party will get in, thus no more rebel MPs fighting against their party for voters rights.

We will no longer be able to vote for our local MP who will fight for local issues, and MPs won't be answerable to the electorate, they would be answerable to the party. It stinks of former Soviet eastern block socialism where the party decides. If an MP does rebel, be assured he won't get in again the following term as the party won't allow it, regardless of how popular he/she is with the electorate. Look at our last Labour Government and how the MPs looked after themselves. The new system gives them a greater ability to that and makes them less answerable to the electorate. Look what happened in constituencies where expense cheating MPs stood, most never got in again, and the ones in party strongholds, lost huge amounts of voters due to who the local MP was. We the people would not have the ability to protest with a vote about an MP.

2) The party with the most votes won't necessarily lead Parliament. Due to second and third choice, the third most popular party could end up leading the country.

3) Never in history has PR been successful. I think it was Australia that had it, then abolished it, and it seems to be less democratic as we have a limited choice. It seems it leads to a more "Dictatorship" as one party has majority control even though it didn't have majority vote.

I am a big believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Blair & Brown made huge changes to banking regulation, look what happened, they made huge changes to immigration law, again look what happened, they made huge changes to the benefit system, the list goes on. Don't get me wrong, change can be good, but only change what is broken or copy someone else if they are doing it better.

Maybe this shouldn't be posted here, but maybe this will help my tiny voice to be heard.

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With the referendum around the corner, I have major concerns, non of these have really been mentioned in the press yet:

1) Proportional Representation works by vote percentage for the party being the percentage of MPs they have. The MPs are chosen by the party and not the voters, which means that MPs loyal to the party will get in, thus no more rebel MPs fighting against their party for voters rights.

We will no longer be able to vote for our local MP who will fight for local issues, and MPs won't be answerable to the electorate, they would be answerable to the party. It stinks of former Soviet eastern block socialism where the party decides. If an MP does rebel, be assured he won't get in again the following term as the party won't allow it, regardless of how popular he/she is with the electorate. Look at our last Labour Government and how the MPs looked after themselves. The new system gives them a greater ability to that and makes them less answerable to the electorate. Look what happened in constituencies where expense cheating MPs stood, most never got in again, and the ones in party strongholds, lost huge amounts of voters due to who the local MP was. We the people would not have the ability to protest with a vote about an MP.

2) The party with the most votes won't necessarily lead Parliament. Due to second and third choice, the third most popular party could end up leading the country.

3) Never in history has PR been successful. I think it was Australia that had it, then abolished it, and it seems to be less democratic as we have a limited choice. It seems it leads to a more "Dictatorship" as one party has majority control even though it didn't have majority vote.

I am a big believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Blair & Brown made huge changes to banking regulation, look what happened, they made huge changes to immigration law, again look what happened, they made huge changes to the benefit system, the list goes on. Don't get me wrong, change can be good, but only change what is broken or copy someone else if they are doing it better.

Maybe this shouldn't be posted here, but maybe this will help my tiny voice to be heard.

Um, do your research first about AV. You mightn't ask questions like this if you did.

1) AV doesn't work by % votes at all. You just go 1 2 3 on candidates and exclude the least popular candidate and redistribute their votes to their number 2 preference and so on until one candidate wins. No party lists, no break in local link

2) Er, see (1) - the most popular MPs win in each constituency, can't say what the overall picture in parliament will be.

3) Are you thick or just trolling? Isn't the terrible legacy of Blair and Brown a result of the FPTP voting tendency to give a dictatorship majority to a party who got fewer than half the votes?

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With the referendum around the corner, I have major concerns, non of these have really been mentioned in the press yet:

1) Proportional Representation works by vote percentage for the party being the percentage of MPs they have. The MPs are chosen by the party and not the voters, which means that MPs loyal to the party will get in, thus no more rebel MPs fighting against their party for voters rights.

True of proportional representation. Totally irrelevant to AV, which is not any such thing. Your whole post fails, because you're attacking something totally different to what's on offer.

We will no longer be able to vote for our local MP who will fight for local issues,

We will vote for a constituency MP, just as we do under the current system.

The detachment between an MP and his/her constituency won't be affected (unless perhaps the arithmetic affects the pressure on some MPs to pay more attention to their electorate).

and MPs won't be answerable to the electorate, they would be answerable to the party.

Totally wrong (if you're purporting to talk of AV).

It stinks of former Soviet eastern block socialism where the party decides. If an MP does rebel, be assured he won't get in again the following term as the party won't allow it, regardless of how popular he/she is with the electorate.

Wrong again. An MP will be elected by a constituency just as before. And will have the same opportunities as before to rebel, or even stand as an independent (like that welsh labour MP who stood as an independent after Harfwit excluded any male candidate from the party in his constituency).

Look at our last Labour Government and how the MPs looked after themselves. The new system gives them a greater ability to that and makes them less answerable to the electorate. Look what happened in constituencies where expense cheating MPs stood, most never got in again, and the ones in party strongholds, lost huge amounts of voters due to who the local MP was. We the people would not have the ability to protest with a vote about an MP.

I doubt it'll have much effect one way or the other.

2) The party with the most votes won't necessarily lead Parliament. Due to second and third choice, the third most popular party could end up leading the country.

That's not unusual. See for example Wilson in 1974.

More to the point, your argument is based on a fallacy. Namely, that we all want exactly one candidate from those on offer, and none other. A binary choice (and we're even denied "none of the above"). For many of us that's a bogus choice: we might for example want "anyone but NuLab". AV allows us to express that.

3) Never in history has PR been successful. I think it was Australia that had it, then abolished it, and it seems to be less democratic as we have a limited choice. It seems it leads to a more "Dictatorship" as one party has majority control even though it didn't have majority vote.

The Germans, Scandinavians, etc will be pleased to hear they're political failures.

But since PR isn't on offer, that's irrelevant.

I am a big believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

MeToo. But it is badly broke.

Blair & Brown made huge changes to banking regulation, look what happened, they made huge changes to immigration law, again look what happened, they made huge changes to the benefit system, the list goes on. Don't get me wrong, change can be good, but only change what is broken or copy someone else if they are doing it better.

Yes, a system that gives one man elected by twentysomethingthousand voters in a small area of NorthEast England such sweeping presidential powers is undoubtedly broken. PR would prevent that, AV won't.

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AV isn't proportional representation. At all.

It's basically a f**ked up FPTP which would allow the Lib Dems a few more seats in the Commons. Maybe. If they weren't so unpopular.

Indeed in the 1987 and 1997 elections the government majorities would have been even larger under AV. Bit of an epic fail of a system, used by only 3 countries in the world. One of which is a dictatorship. And another is thinking of exiting the system.

Either have FPTP (as now) or have a proper reform. AV is utter nonsense. Typical Nick Clegg/Ed Millipede stuff.

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AV isn't proportional representation. At all.

It's basically a f**ked up FPTP which would allow the Lib Dems a few more seats in the Commons. Maybe. If they weren't so unpopular.

Indeed in the 1987 and 1997 elections the government majorities would have been even larger under AV. Bit of an epic fail of a system, used by only 3 countries in the world. One of which is a dictatorship. And another is thinking of exiting the system.

Either have FPTP (as now) or have a proper reform. AV is utter nonsense. Typical Nick Clegg/Ed Millipede stuff.

http://today.yougov.co.uk/commentaries/guest/how-would-election-tomorrow-look-under-alternative-vote

AV seat projection (on current boundaries)

CON 309 (down 11 from FPTP)

LAB 273 (down 7 from FPTP)

LD 43 (up 19 from FPTP)

That's translating last year's election to AV...you could argue that if AV came in, people would vote differently (more representative of the vote?) but if these figures did realistically translate the vote, then you'd see the Lib Dems controlling the balance of power if most if not in every election...Is this a bad thing? Well, we're only in a year of the ConDems, so its early days, and again, you could also argue that it may make a coalition more "centre", supposedly adding checks and balances... although they are MPs and are generally after looking after themselves, so it doesn't really matter who really gets in... ;)

Edited by Dave Beans

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I've few issues around AV:

The main people it seems to benefit are the Lib Dems - but the LDs don't know what to do with power when they get it (under FPTP), so why bother including them? They're only the third party at the mo', and yet the tail is wagging the dog as it is. (OK, Nick Clegg is going for it, but his party hate him.) No one gets what they thought they were voting for as it is.

With AV people do get more than one vote; OK, it's only a pseudo-vote, but it quickly becomes a "anyone but x" situation. This will create some weird situations where 3rd place candidates win, and votes get decided by people who originally voted BNP/Green/MRLP. Do winners of such an election they really have the mandate to represent their constituency? I'm not so sure about that.

If it's a step towards PR - which the LDs say it is - then all of the OPs comments then apply, with more besides. With that system, we'd likely end up with a string of coalitions, which so far many people don't appreciate anyway. I don't want to be alternating between Con-LD and Lab-LD coalitions, why should the 3rd party end up as the natural party of government?

i know I am effectively advocating a two-party system, but labour or tories could dip behind the lib dems, the top two parties are not set in stone. Why change the rules to fit losers like the LDs?

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They used AV when I was university to rename the Mandela Bar. He'd just become President of South Africa got released from prison, so he was no longer the socialist demigod he had been until 5 minutes previously.

Anyway there were about 30 suggestions, all approved by the Students' Union, including some worthy people who had been to the university, lived in the town etc. As well as some really silly ones.

With AV you nominate your, first, 2nd, 3rd,....29th, 30th choices.

The bar's new official name was the Fluffy Grey Squirrel bar. It was never called this, and was called the Main Bar, as it had been before it was called the Mandela Bar. I tried to insist it use the name that democracy had foisted upon it but no-one was really bothered enough. Most people were happy it was no longer named after a terrorist / head of state of a foreign country.

Back to the point. If there are 30 people standing for a seat and there are no real front runners, AV will be a failure - we'll get the fluffy grey squirrel. However, if I can vote 1 for UKIP and 2 for Conservative and not give any more numbers to anyone then I think I have the best system I'm going to get.

Edited by Grimbert

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With the referendum around the corner, I have major concerns, non of these have really been mentioned in the press yet:

The reason your concerns haven't been mentioned in the press is because Alternative Vote is not a Proportional Representation system. As you say, a PR system takes (some) power away from the voter and puts it in the hands of political parties. AV is a (small) step in the opposite direction - it gives the voter a (little) more power. With AV voters can express their preference honestly without any need to consider tactical voting where there are more than two candidates.

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The reason your concerns haven't been mentioned in the press is because Alternative Vote is not a Proportional Representation system. As you say, a PR system takes (some) power away from the voter and puts it in the hands of political parties.

Not if the form adopted is STV with multi-member constituencies (which is the preferred LibDem version), that means the voters choose which candidates from a party, or parties, get elected - you don't get a limited choice of one, chosen by the party.

So if you're a right wing tory you vote for the most right wing of the tory candidates on offer in your area - ditto if you're a wet tory, a radical liberal, a centrist social democrat, or a socialist etc etc you can vote for the candidate you prefer.

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Five key advantages of Alternative Vote:

  1. Voters can make a sincere vote for their preferred candidate without any risk of allowing a candidate they really dislike to win because they didn't vote tactically for the candidate who was best placed to keep them out. AV enables all voters to make honest and sincere votes.
  2. While minority candidates are likely to get more first preference votes under AV, in order to win a candidate needs wide support. This prevents extremist candidates 'slipping through' a split vote as can happen with First Past The Post.
  3. It's fully backwards compatible with the current FPTP system. If voters wish to carry on voting as they always have, they can -- a single cross can be counted as a first preference vote.
  4. Although counting is more involved than FPTP, it's still easy to explain. The process is transparent and open to scrutiny throughout, unlike some other systems which require calculations to be made before votes are redistributed amongst candidates.
  5. Last, but not least, it should in time encourage more positive campaigning. In closely fought elections the winner will not only need first preference votes, but also second and perhaps third preferences too. You don't go around insulting voter's first choices if you want to pick up their second or third preference vote.

Any more?

Edited by CrashConnoisseur

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I've few issues around AV:

The main people it seems to benefit are the Lib Dems - but the LDs don't know what to do with power when they get it (under FPTP), so why bother including them? They're only the third party at the mo', and yet the tail is wagging the dog as it is. (OK, Nick Clegg is going for it, but his party hate him.) No one gets what they thought they were voting for as it is.

You need to separate the general (voting systems) from the particular (parties as they currently stand).

Parties will change over time. Guaranteed. Both individual parties, and the list of parties in parliament. We currently have greens and BUKNIP on the periphery, and - in the short term - we almost certainly still will with AV. But who knows what else might change? The experience of government is changing the libdems - painfully! By the time of the next election I expect they'll look different (and Vince is old enough to pension off).

With AV people do get more than one vote; OK, it's only a pseudo-vote, but it quickly becomes a "anyone but x" situation.

If I want "anyone but x", why shouldn't I be allowed to vote for that?

If my position is, I'm equally happy with A or B but don't want C and absolutely can't stand D, then it's a fiction to say I vote for A and my transfer to B is somehow inferior. And it's doubly a fiction if I have to vote tactically for C to keep D out under the present system.

This will create some weird situations where 3rd place candidates win,

I went to see our five candidates in a townhall meeting before the 2005 election. I thought three of the five were acceptable, two were beyond the pale (one was a total liar, and one was too dumb and confused to be accused of truth or lies). What's wrong with that?

If it's a step towards PR - which the LDs say it is - then all of the OPs comments then apply, with more besides.

It isn't. The LDs want to spin this as something better (for them) than it is.

If we get PR at some future date, that'll be an entirely separate debate. I might well vote for it in preference to the current broken system (depending on exactly what's on offer), but I would NOT vote to switch from AV to anything that gives greater importance to the party system.

With that system, we'd likely end up with a string of coalitions, which so far many people don't appreciate anyway. I don't want to be alternating between Con-LD and Lab-LD coalitions, why should the 3rd party end up as the natural party of government?

If we had PR, the big parties would split and there'd be a much bigger realignment (not least the libdems, between those who support the coalition and those who won't forgive Clegg, and there'd be scope for anti-coalition "real tories" too). I expect UKIP and Greens would pick up a few members from the main parties. Labour could split into socialist and nulab/fascist factions, perhaps more.

The reason they hang together now is electoral arithmetic.

The tail of "middle england, marginal seat, swing voters", as identified by focus groups, currently wags the dogs of both big parties. What's good about that?

i know I am effectively advocating a two-party system, but labour or tories could dip behind the lib dems, the top two parties are not set in stone. Why change the rules to fit losers like the LDs?

You said it yourself. The parties aren't set in stone. So why vote for a system based on the parties it's given us?

Edited by porca misèria

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I for one will not be troubling myself to vote on May 5th. I'm a busy man and dont have time for such trivial nonsense as alternative voting.

When I ask my Wife to buy me a Fillet Steak from Sainsbury's, I dont expect her to turn around and say, if you cant get Fillet Steak what else would you prefer.

She knows my answer will be, if I cant get fillet steak, dont bother buying anything.

Same in voting, when I vote UKIP, I dont expect to be told, who else wouldnt you mind in power, if enough people dont agree with you where you live.

Also in the same vein, I dont think the first past the post represents all of views of the voter either. If a MP is elected having secured 51% of the vote, then surely 49% of his constituency wanted someone else.

My conclusion is, I will let others decide my Government for me, they always have anyway,

Edited by dukat

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I for one will not be troubling myself to vote on May 5th. I'm a busy man and dont have time for such trivial nonsense as alternative voting.

Fair enough so how does one register one's disdain for the choices available?

Not voting means not caring about the result. Should we all vote with big black V's all over the paper? Would anyone find out about it?

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Guest The Relaxation Suite

Fair enough so how does one register one's disdain for the choices available?

Not voting means not caring about the result. Should we all vote with big black V's all over the paper? Would anyone find out about it?

One thing that bothers me about UK voting was that the ballot paper is not anonymous. When you go to vote you give your name and then they find the piece paper - your piece of paper - that you vote with, and this paper is numbered and can be cross-referenced back to your name.

Whatever voting system is used this practice has to stop. After all, what possible reason could anyone have for wanting to know how one votes in a secret ballot? Very wrong.

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AV isn't proportional representation. At all.

It's basically a f**ked up FPTP which would allow the Lib Dems a few more seats in the Commons. Maybe. If they weren't so unpopular.

Indeed in the 1987 and 1997 elections the government majorities would have been even larger under AV. Bit of an epic fail of a system, used by only 3 countries in the world. One of which is a dictatorship. And another is thinking of exiting the system.

Either have FPTP (as now) or have a proper reform. AV is utter nonsense. Typical Nick Clegg/Ed Millipede stuff.

And there's the irony. The LibDems want AV to get more seats.

But to get AV they have had to get (and win) a referendum, which required them getting into bed with the Tories, which meant they had to compromise on their policies... which has made them more unpopular with their own voters.

Edited by happy_renting

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if I can vote 1 for UKIP and 2 for Conservative and not give any more numbers to anyone then I think I have the best system I'm going to get.

This is precisely why I see AV as a good thing. In the example above, the conservatives will likely end up with votes that they were going to get under FPTP, but they know where those votes have come from.

I hope that seeing where these second choice votes are coming from will stop the ridiculous attempts of all three main parties to occupy the middle ground. To quote Mr Clegg, "if we carry on like this we won't have anything to bloody disagree about".

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And there's the irony. The LibDems want AV to get more seats.

But to get AV they have had to get (and win) a referendum, which required them getting into bed with the Tories, which meant they had to compromise on their policies... which has made them more unpopular with their own voters.

Yes but the public have a short memory and I reckon they would do ANYTHING to get a AV type system or they will probably never get into gov't for decades under the current system. So they take a massive hit in the short term.

I am voting for AV, try it out for a while. We can always change it back or modify to something new if 'we' don't like the results.

Seems like a dirty great distraction play to me.

Agreed, to avoid tackling the real problem with the system, the painfully obvious lack of democratic power we have in this Global Corporate Oligarchy. :( Come on SLAVES!

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This is precisely why I see AV as a good thing. In the example above, the conservatives will likely end up with votes that they were going to get under FPTP, but they know where those votes have come from.

I agree. I think the possibly of registering your "protest vote" without actually losing your real vote is the strongest reason for saying yes.

tim

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Isn't it the case that they can tell whether your ballot has been cast (to avoid electoral fraud)

Maybe not always!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/4446610/SNP-demands-inquiry-into-missing-Glenrothes-by-election-records.html

they can't actually trace the bit with your voting preference on it that you place in the 'black box'?

Or am I being naive? Of course you might be a bit stuffed if everyone in your constituency votes the same way.

I can't see anything on the front at least that could identify you.http://www.demotix.com/photo/313010/ballot-papers-uk-2010-general-local-elections

I'm pretty sure that the polling staff record against voter's entries on the roll, the serial number of the ballot paper issued. Can anyone confirm if this serial number is also on the rear of the actual ballot paper?

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Most parties and politicians enjoy very little popular support, but instead of doing the decent thing and offering us policies that we actually want they'd prefer to manufacture majorities by fixing the voting system.

Surprisingly most people seem to be falling for this!

Edited by Authoritarian

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