Lewes Forum thread

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Possible Scenario

On 26 Apr 2011 at 6:56pm Darren wrote:
Could anyone explain what would happen if all the constituents gave no alternative to there first choice,and the party with the highest number of votes failed to reach fifty percent. I am not particularly against AV but this scenario bugs me.
On 26 Apr 2011 at 7:11pm MC wrote:
You should read the thread below. It looks like the party with the highest number of votes would be returned. i.e. revert to give exactly the same result as First Past The Post.

This scenario illustrates just how little removed from FPTP AV is. For me it's disappointing how close AV is to FPTP. I'd prefer full Proportional Representation as I don't feel that FPTP works well for any country with more than two, or at the very most three parties, but that's no reason not to take the crumbs offered. At least AV will go some way to recognise that many in the UK do not want to vote for the two main parties and slightly improve the chances of their vote not being entirely wasted.
On 26 Apr 2011 at 7:44pm Paul Newman wrote:
None of that is true . AV would have produced a less proportional result in three of the last four elections . It would have accentuated the landslides of both Blair and Thatcher and it tends to stop minor Parties getting seats as major Parties vie for their second preferences ( as in the Green Party in Australia..one seat ... ). A plan that has as its end game the disastrous system of Italy is in any case something to be avoided like the plague.
It is nothing like first past the Post which has a winner not a "Least disliked" and its effect might be large depending on how the votes are cast . In the last election for example it would have increased the Liberal seats by 20 . In 97 it would have crushed Conservatives down to under 100 .In general it increases the chance of coalition government by increasing the Liberal seats at the expense of Labour and Conservative.
Liberals and lovers of coalition will no doubt think this is a good thing . Fine , for everyone else it is not . We must note with interest however that those favouring AV really want PR that those who sang AVs praises now only want to say how much like FPTP it is
Anyway thats my last foray on behalf of the lying thicko dinosaur conspiracy of capitalism bla blah (and the rest....). Nearer the time , I `ll do a bit more on the effect of the disparate turnout and the vital need for Conservatives and Labour loyalists to get out and vote this bugger down
On 26 Apr 2011 at 7:59pm canoeman wrote:
I don't want to write for or against AV but how do you know what the result would have been in previous elections. Was any serious polling of how people would have voted had AV been available done?
On 27 Apr 2011 at 7:46am huw wrote:
Paul, what's the point about the Greens only winning 1 seat in Australia? I thought they only won 1 here too.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 9:03am Paul Newman wrote:

In Australia the Green party is a big Party, they hold 9 of the 76 Upper House seats ( its elected on a PR system which incidentally we may well get here if AV loses and I totally support )
Nonetheless they have been unable to break through and despite being the size of the Liberal Party on current numbers have only one seat ,( the first won by any minor Party in the history of Australian AV.) What has happened on two occasions is that the ALP( Aussie Labour ) have stolen their policies and courted Green second preferences, which is the nature of AV
This has also, of course, cut down the Green vote. In the end you do get Green policies but the Party itself operates more like a pressure group without power of its own. It is obvious when you think about it that any new idea will have few second choice votes which are more likely to go to centrist bland MPs . Good thing / bad thing ...you decide ?
On 27 Apr 2011 at 9:04am Paul Newman wrote:
Suppose Norman Baker comes under pressure from the left. Suppose UK Un-cut gain momentum and his position supporting "Tory cuts" becomes insufferable to his Guardian Reading voters, not so implausible is it ? Suppose the Labour Party starts to seriously challenge
Lewes becomes a three way seat and lets say Conservatives are equally loathe to vote Liberal and their vote holds up pretty well catching him in a pincer with the seat possibly going to Labour ( unlikely here but there are many such seats)
What happens ? Under AV Baker merely makes himself less obnoxious to Conservatives ( which he is adept at) who now find it easy to put him down second and block what they see as the horrifying prospect of Red Ed and his spending spree .( I am not saying thats fair , just suppose). Now unless Labour can actually get over 50% of first choices Baker will retain the seat on the basis of Conservative blocking votes
That is the sort of way AV works to retain the status quo and encourages a centrist mush with anti votes and weak second choices predominating over genuine desire for change .
Baker supporters will think this is a good thing others may not , god knows why any Green voter or Labour voter would like it .
On 27 Apr 2011 at 9:11am MC wrote:
It is fruitless to ask how the result would have been in past elections if they'd be run under AV. Under AV people will vote differently. In the huge majority of constituencies under FPTP it is only worth voting for one of the two old parties as a vote for any other party is unacknowledged and entirely wasted (as FPTP is not representative in any way). As you can have any number of preferences under AV it is likely that a good number of people will put their favoured minority party first and one more likely to be returned (i.e. generally Labour or Conservative) second (or third, fourth, fifth etc).
On 27 Apr 2011 at 10:27am Paul Newman wrote:
You will see that as MC describes it under AV the minority Party gets a "Play" vote that does not matter and a real vote ( your second preference ) which may do if there is no outright winner.In reality further choices have almost never counted in Australia where they have AV, (could do of course)
Only the second vote may affect the result so the second vote becomes a factor . No mystery here we saw the process in the Mayoral elections when the major Parties pitched for Liberal votes in the second election( this was not AV but like it, in that second choices mattered)
Naturally as major Parties target minor Party voters they tend to reduce their vote and as they do not figure in the final count any progress is dissipated .
This is why AV has demonstrably excluded minor Parties . The only Party that wins is the Liberals who would have got 32 more seats at the past election according to a survey in today`s Guardian . Ten of these would have been from Labour but as Labour stand to lose 20 seats in the attached boundary change the total debit to Labour is around 30 seats .(on 2011 votes)
It is probably this realisation that has Labour in revolt against the leaders stance as reported on the front page of today`s Times .
The rats are leaving a sinking ship and all Polls now point to a resounding defeat for AV . Good
Perhaps we can have less ridiculous abuse and childish insults thrown around when next some entirely legitimate difference of opinion arises.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 11:34am Ed Can Do wrote:
Anyone campaigning either way about this on the basis of how it affects their own access to expense accounts rather than what's good for the country is on to a loser from the start in my book and it's a shame that more people don't realise this (And vote Yes).
On 27 Apr 2011 at 12:21pm Paul Newman wrote:
ECD- There is no correlation between safe seats and expense account misuse in the first place and no connection with AV one way or the other .

Tell you what there is a much better idea in Hungary they are voting on and thats to give mothers additional votes to represent their children so as to stop governments dumping debt into the future and otherwise being in thraldom to the grey demographic lump.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 12:35pm Twinky wrote:
PN is absolutely correct; I didn't believe his "no correlation" assertion so I looked up on theyworkforyou. com
Elliot Morley's seat was the 150th safest, Jim Devine's the 490th safest, and David Chaytor's the 528th, out of the 640 MP seats.
There is indeed no correlation between safety of seat and expense behaviour (on a sample of 3)
On 27 Apr 2011 at 1:49pm Taff wrote:
'Under AV people will vote differently. In the huge majority of constituencies under FPTP it is only worth voting for one of the two old parties as a vote for any other party is unacknowledged and entirely wasted (as FPTP is not representative in any way)'........yes it is, they with the most votes get elected!
Why would AV get people to vote differently? it may get more to vote but thats the object of the voting exercise irresepective of how down trodden you feel about it. if people dont want to vote thats their democratic right. However it is my belief that if you dont vote you cant rightly complain about what you end up with. Will AV cure the populations complacency? I very much doubt it.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 2:41pm MC wrote:
Here's a local illustration for you Taff.
In Lewes the choice is between Lib Dem and Tory. Many people really don't want a Tory in but might naturally vote Labour or Green. However, being intelligent people they realise that voting Labour or Green is to waste their vote and as they do not want a Tory they vote Lib Dem.
Under AV these people are likely to vote Labour or Green first and then follow that by a second vote for Lib Dem.
This will have the effect of increasing the votes shown for Labour and Green when first votes are counted but will probably mean there is no outright winner so counting will then continue until there is.

Hopefully that's clear.

The interesting thing is the cumulative effect over years of the smaller popular parties getting more votes in the first round. Hopefully this will encourage more people to vote for them over time and even things up a bit, reducing the historical dominance of the two main parties.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 4:24pm Taff wrote:
MC, we seem to be dominating these duscussions. Personally I only see AV as a negative alternative to direct personal decision making. Is political voting meant to be tactical or personal? If you cant vote for the one you really want to vote for why contribute and settle for second best? Either one has a political bias or not, if so stand by your preferences.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 6:35pm MC wrote:
It's the FPTP system that encourages tactical voting though Taff, purely because it *is* unrepresentative and in most cases if you don't vote for one of the two major parties your vote means nothing at all. What value *direct personal decision making* when you have no worthwhile choice?

I hope you read these posts back and work out which of your reasons for keeping FPTP are valid. I can't find one and suspect that you just don't like change.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 6:47pm brixtonbelle wrote:
I think the LDEMS may lose out with AV in Lewes, as those who voted for them previously because Labour or Greens could not win are more likely to go for their natural instincts.
Are the local council elections carried out by AV round here? (as the London Mayoral elections were ?)
On 27 Apr 2011 at 6:59pm Paul Newman wrote:
AV does not stop tactical voting it institutionalises it . I think Taff has got hold of a point though there is something infantilising about not having to decide on the realities as presented which will be a coherent and realistic policy for government much of which one will not like . Instead AV provides a silly game for silly extremists whose first choice is meaningless .
What I really don`t like though is that their second votes become the focus of attention whereas the non voter is now relatively unimportant . In other words AV politics is an invitation for politics to be inward looking and trivial
For Labour this is a straight choice . Do they chase Liberal second choices or do they focus on the lost working class voters who already feel alienated by the socially faddy Fabian elite. I think this is what is making many Labour supporters see that AV is a betrayal of its most serious purpose. Most of Labour`s lost votes are not Liberals or middle-class.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 7:12pm MC wrote:
"AV is an invitation to be inward looking and trivial".

What utter tripe.

You can just as easily say it offers a chance for people to think about who they want to vote for. Certainly with FPTP the choice is mindnumbingly dull, most often the choice boils down to which one of two parties you dislike the least. Not encouraging, and probably in part responsible for the horribly low voter turn out.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 7:26pm supporter wrote:
What a load of rubbish Av is a not starter and unless proper PR comes in then the voting system should be left alone.
No good quoting australia because it is compulserary to vote there.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 7:37pm MC wrote:
You excel at making sweeping negative statements but don't ever seem to justify them.
I can say that The Rooks are crap. But I can qualify this; they are about to be relegated for a second time within two seasons. Why don't you try to do the same thing about AV huh? Just saying its crap because it's not PR doesn't do you any favours and doesn't add anything of use to any debate.

If you read the posts properly you'll see that it's the pro FPTP posters that keep referring to Australian system and the AV posts that clearly state the ways in which it is different.
On 27 Apr 2011 at 9:47pm Paul Newman wrote:
I refer to -Doctors Graeme Orr and KD Ewing - Lessons from Australia and " Australia The alternative Vote system " OPV and Full Preferential systems both exist and as all data is available on all preferences the difference made by AV systems to FPP is reasonably easy to see. The point is not that Australia is the same in other respects it is very different in many ways , the point is the identifiable trends you can track with AV ceteris paribus . In those terms it is reasonable to compare with FPP and observe how cartels are reinforced for example
The Yes men were initially happy to boast that Australia had used it happily for years . it is only on discovering what a poor advert for AV Oz makes they decided it was not a useful comparator . Psephologists doing comparative studies think differently but what would they know eh.( Apart from what a psephologist is )
On 28 Apr 2011 at 8:27am Taff wrote:
AV should not be a vehicle to advertise the minority parties. If these parties were active enough, competitive even, to get noticed then surely they would attract voters and therefore become more popular. Or am I oversimplifying things here?
On 28 Apr 2011 at 9:04am Grrr wrote:
Yes you're oversimplifying things here.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 9:14am MC wrote:
You are, yes.
FPTP and vested interests makes entry into the political arena quite biased against small parties. Currently 99 times out of 100 voting for a small party is as good as not voting at all. The overridding bias in favour of the large parties is in a mopjor part due to the non-representative FPTP system and is the main reason the UK is condemned to the endless, inefficient and damaging Tory/Labour cycle
On 28 Apr 2011 at 9:55am Taff wrote:
Then isnt it time the small parties became more competitive to attract more voters. A small acorn to giant oak is not impossible is it.
Simple is easier for all, convoluted and complicated is AV.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 10:47am MC wrote:
AV really is very simple. The rest is retreading old ground and not worth the bother.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 1:24pm Matt Kent wrote:
If you believe that it is still fair that less than a majority (i.e. less than 50% plus one vote) can elect a candidate then vote 'No', otherwise if you believe in the majority rule' then vote 'Yes'.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 1:48pm Paul Newman wrote:
Remind what proportion of votes Caroline Lucas received in order to become an MP Matt ?
On 28 Apr 2011 at 2:07pm Taff wrote:
MC I have enjoyed our debate even though we agree to differ. I would just like to see the minor parties show some tenacity and compete harder with the bigger bunches. Lets be honest there is too much complacency in the bigger 3 but i dont want the little guys acheiving on voters mediochrity alone. I want them to make me stand up and listen to good things and get my attention. Currently they do not which is a shame because niether do the bigger guys.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 2:44pm MC wrote:
The little guys get enough attention to be represented already, it's just that the FPTP system does not give them the opportunity to represent their voters.

It's easy to say they must try harder but in reality they don't get much of a chance to present their views to you. The huge budgets are controlled by big business and commercial media (most often Tory and No to AV supporters) and the Unions (Labour supporters). There are no people with big budgets that will spend loads of money for a party that cares foremost about (for instance) our environment and the long-term viability of diverse life on the planet.

As, due to our FPTP system, they do not get the number of MPs into the HoP that reflects the numbers of people want to vote for them they don't get much of a chance to spread their views to you or to show you what they can do. Everything is weighted against all but the 2.1 main parties. AV will address this a little, not enough in my opinion, but still more than FPTP.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 3:47pm supporter wrote:
how will Av address the issue?
I always vote for an alternative party to the main 3 and unless we get a fair PR system my vote will never count.
Av is a poor carrot offered by that twat of a primeminster we now have to get into power.
lib dems have sold supporters out goint for this poor system instead of sticking to their guns and going for Pr as promised.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 4:19pm MC wrote:
AV might be a "poor carrot" but it might also present the best (and only?) route to PR.
On 28 Apr 2011 at 6:10pm supporter wrote:
we will have to agree to disagree MC.
I have already posted that having a postal vote means I have already voted no so your vote will cancell mine out.

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