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Taking a broader perspective…

AV Myth-Busting….

By

Darrell Goodliffe who is calling for a ‘No’ vote in the upcoming AV referendum.

and

Jane Watkinson who takes a position of apathy when it comes to the AV referendum – instead, Jane favours a PR campaign in rejection of absolutist politics – for more, see here.

AV eliminates tactical voting…

A variation on this myth is that it creates a new ‘positive’ kind of tactical voting – something which we will deal with in a moment. However, this is one of the most irritating myths because it can only conceivably be argued by people who have never taken part in an election under AV. If tactical voting is ‘eliminated’ why, in the recent general election campaign, did Australian Greens dedicate a whole section of their website to how to vote tactically to achieve different outcomes?

Let’s look at an actual AV election and see if this is true.

The current battle for the Labour leadership is one such election and the first point is that the tactical battle may change territory but it does not vanish. If you’re a candidate or party in an AV election and you know you cannot win on first preferences then the immediate battle shifts to the second preferences, not of the front-runner (as they are unlikely to be eliminated), but of those likely to be eliminated. Thus, both the leading campaigns in the leadership election have focused, especially in the latter stages, on those who are voting for Diane Abbott, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham as their first choice.

While it is right to say that ‘crushing extremist parties’ must never be the focus of how we design our electoral system we can see quite clearly what happens if we have an AV system in a marginal seat. None of the contenders in a marginal is likely to win the required 50% in the first round so the voters who have put a smaller party first become the new ‘swing vote’ in that seat. Supporters of AV say that it would demand a focus on a broader spectrum of the electorate but as we can see this is simply not true given that the total number of voters for smaller parties is hardly likely to be greater than the ‘swing vote’ . Rather than focus on a broader spectrum of the voting population it simply shifts the focus to the voters for UKIP, the Greens, the BNP etc, etc as the likely kingmakers in marginal seats.

While progressives may have little problem with Green voters having more influence, while not wanting to deny UKIP and BNP voters their voice, they may have problems with racism and anti-immigration becoming even more necessary political currency for the mainstream parties. So, we see the notion that tactical voting under AV is more ‘positive’ is complete and utter rubbish. If anything, it is actually more negative than under First Past the Post because some voices become magnified beyond their actual social weight – what is fair and democratic about that and how is giving BNP voters through their second preferences more power a more ‘positive’ development than chasing after ‘swing voters’ who normally oscillate between the major parties?

The AV Referendum is a separate issue to boundary reform…

This argument stands-up….until you stumble over the tricky fact they are part of the same Bill in Parliament. If the Liberal Democrats had been a decent and principled party, they may well have separated the two concerns, but since they are not we are left with this stark fact; they are not a separate issue. If the AV referendum falls then it would be quite legitimate and proper for the opposition to then insist that the government’s mandate to carry out the boundary review simply doesn’t exist and insist the whole Bill be reconsidered by Parliament.

Of course, this might not be what happens but the fact that the failure of the AV part of the Bill at least opens the door to challenge the legitimacy of the boundary review is not something that can be ignored.

Wasted Votes

Let’s just start with the basic premise that there is no such thing as a wasted vote, in principle. Everyone has the right to vote and for it to reflect their values. But for this to matter, there is clearly the need for a PR system. However, the pro AV campaign has indoctrinated the argument that somehow AV will eliminate the wasted vote problem. For example, in the Green Party motion passed at conference, it stated:

Furthermore AV has the additional benefits of removing the ‘wasted vote’ argument

With a system that is little better than the existing system, it is rather irritating to see pro-electoral reformers using these factually incorrect arguments.

It would do us well to remind ourselves of what Roy Jenkins said about AV:

AV on its own suffers from a stark objection. It offers little prospect of a move towards greater proportionality, and in some circumstances, and those the ones which certainly prevailed at the last election and may well do so for at least the next one, it is even less proportional that FPTP…In particular, there would still be large tracts of the country which would be electoral deserts for major parties. Conservative voters in Scotland, for example, might only hope to influence the result through their second choice…

And that isn’t evidence for the continuance of wasted votes then?

You see, if the left and progressives such as the Green party, support notions such as wasted votes will be removed – well this will only damage the case for future reform. AV does not eradicate safe seats, and so if safe seats still exist there are still wasted votes. It might reduce wasted votes, by creating a 50% threshold – but, it doesn’t eradicate. There is an issue with the factually incorrect basis this motion passed through conference on, and the way in which the PR electoral reform bodies are lapping it up as though it is the best thing since sliced bread.

And now comes the contradiction….

Extremism and voting behaviour…

… we are told that on the one hand there will be no more wasted votes, but on the other – the BNP and other extremist parties will be eradicated. Well excuse me, for one, as Jane has written about before, you don’t design an electoral system to wipe out views you don’t like – even if they are vile. Secondly, do people who vote for the BNP not matter? Do their votes mean so little that the fact they vote for the BNP and the electoral system makes it harder for them to be selected, that it isn’t constituted as being a wasted vote? Because for us, there is a contradiction. You can’t say that there will be no wasted votes, and then argue that it will stop parties like the BNP from being elected.

We attended a fringe event at the Green conference, where an Electoral Reform representative talked up AV and emphasised how important it is to take into account the way in which AV will change the mentality of the voters. This is slightly true, but not as significant as some people are making out. I mean, Darrell has been taking part in the Labour leadership phone canvassing, and the amount of times people have been voting for David and Ed Miliband as either one of their top two preferences beggars belief. It’s a two hours race, and the AV electoral system doesn’t do anything to change that view – again, further evidence that the wasted vote problem does not disappear.

Then comes another contradiction…

In another bid to attract those who rightfully detest the BNP, apparently everyone else’s views except the BNP will change under the new electoral system. Apparently, the BNP voters will not have any second or third preferences etc – so there is no need to worry about them influencing the election results, and so no need to worry about these voters having the most influence, the voters who are most likely to be part of more extremist movements.

Again, a key argument for PR reform – that the system is fair and represents what people vote for is undermined, as people get stuck in short termist politics talking up the benefits of the AV as though it is a saviour of our kind that parties such as the BNP will be undermined. Another interesting point is that in the last election, the Greens actually got fewer votes than the BNP. That’s not something we highlight kindly, but the Greens have no right to talk about destroying and eradicating a party that actually got more votes.

Let’s also remember that the BNP may equally influence the main three parties, well particular Labour, to change their stance towards immigration or other controversial issues, so as not to lose certain voters. We witnessed this last election, where Labour played up to the BNP and got the debate wrong when it came to immigration. Therefore, the pro AV can say that AV removes the BNP all they want, but again, the facts don’t support this self-interested claim.

Future for reform…

In a rather insulting manner, Jane received a recent blog comment remarking on how her apathy towards AV is like voting against advancements towards women’s suffrage:

In 1918, when the franchise was partially extended to women, do you think pro-equal rights MPs should have (instead of voting for the measure) voted it down because it wasn’t a full extension of voting rights? If they hadn’t had voted for an interim measure in 1918, we might not then have had another extension in 1928. The history of voting rights, and increased democracy, is one of incremental steps. That’s why it’s called reform. But no. You want to fuck all the reforms and call for a revolution. It figures for someone who aligns with the Green Left socialist nutters and Derek Wall. Carry on smoking whatever shit it is you’re smoking, because you will do no good to anyone

Now this is probably one of the most factually incorrect arguments that we have seen. I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognise the difference. This was a historically moment, for the first time some women were able to vote – even if not all, it was an amazing step in the right direction. In many ways, AV is the step in the wrong direction. It is unhelpful and does little to further the case for reform. It will act as a stalemate, and it will be very unlikely that there is another vote on electoral systems for some time. Furthermore, there was a movement fully engrained within civil society forcefully carrying through change re women’s suffrage; now we have seen the AV vote split electoral reformers – it is a totally different ball game and insulting to think otherwise.

In conclusion, we have demonstrated the problems with the ‘AV Myths’ that are increaseingly being peddled by the pro-AV camp in its efforts to convince itself as much as other people of the worthiness of a system that was even described by Nick Clegg as a ‘miserable little compromise’. Given the flawed nature of this referendum and the choices it presents the electorate with it is likely that it will fail and will drag down with it the cause of electoral reform for generations to come….

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29 Responses

  1. […] As promised, Darrell Goodliffe and I have written a blog (click here to view it) on Broad Left Blogging addressing some of the myths being purported by the pro AV […]

  2. […] Myth Busting…. 14 09 2010 Myself and Jane Watkinson have a piece on Broad Left Blogging where we take-on some of the myths supporters of the pro-AV camp are […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DarrellGoodliffe and Jane Watkinson, Broad Left Blogging. Broad Left Blogging said: @DarrellGoodliff and @JaneWatkinson take on the pro AV myths on @broadleftblog: http://wp.me/pXkBd-2H […]

  4. Duncan Stott says:

    There is so much wrong here I wish I had the time to correct it all.

    But I’ll just correct one major omission which runs through the whole piece: It’s AV or FPTP. Those are the options. There’s no PR option. The Lib Dems didn’t have the power to get it.

    AV will only only help fix some things a little bit. But keeping FPTP fixes nothing.

    Do you want a little bit of a good thing, or none? The only logical reason you’d go for none now is if you think you can hold out for more. But you reckon voting to keep FPTP will achieve that? No, it will kill off all momentum for electoral reform.

    • Yes, but the central point of the blog is that why do we have to accept either AV or FPTP – some of us could strive to campaign for PR.

      Now, this wont be all of us – obviously you LibDems have to campaign for it – as it’s the one thing you feel you have got out of the deal. But some of us aren’t as enthused by AV.

      And you think voting for AV will maintain momentum?

  5. Peter Garbutt says:

    Useful, but slightly too late. I’m not happy about GPEW conference decision, I think its damaging to both the party and democracy as a whole.

  6. Paul Perrin says:

    Candidates making policy to be more representative of their electorate is not ‘tactical voting’ it is being a good candidate.

    Selecting candidates in the order they support your views is also not ‘tactical voting’ it is preference voting, that is AV.

    Boundaries are nothing to do with the AV voting system, but are part of the bill – I beleive it reduces some of the gerrymandering that Labour implemented while they were in office.

    The Jenkins report has some good info, but its analysis can be subjective, biased and flakey.

    Voting for a certain loser in FPTP is a wasted vote. Putting a certain loser as your 1st pref in AV is not a wasted vote if you have later preferences to catch this situation.

    A candidate needs over 50% of the valid votes – what that does to specific parties (extreme or otherwise) is irrelevant. As it happens, if over 50% of the voters in a constituency say they ‘would never’ vote for a particular party, then as long as there are alternative parties, then that party will never be elected (for better or worse).

    Sorry but that is most of your ‘busts’ have just been busted…

    • This is making candidates to represent fringe voices that they might not actually support to get their second preferences. Also, when you look at the Labour leadership election – you think that people’s rankings there aren’t tactically set out to try and make their first preference win?

      How are the boundary reviews set to be commissioned fair, when it will benefit the Tories a hell of a lot and near wipe out the LibDems in a stroke? Also probably wipping out the one Green MP? All your hatred for Labour, do you think it’s fair that the LibDems and Greens are wipped out too?

      Yes, we don’t think it is fair to campaign on what AV will do to extremist parties – but you look around, that is exactly what is happening. At the Green conference, it was a strong line being used for AV.

      • Paul Perrin says:

        If you beleive that candidates are lying then you have absolutely nothing to base your vote on at all.

        We can have PR and singe member constituencies which make boundaries substantially irrelevant – once we have AV a push for giving MPs weighted votes – based on their parties first preference votes nationally – job done. We have the technology, its simple.

        The ‘campaign’s and ‘campaign tactics’ are a diversion — people should be given full information on AV vs FPTP and make up their own minds. Not be ‘sold’ to or ‘cajoled’ etc.

  7. Alasdair says:

    Hi, some interesting points here but I’m not sure I can agree with them all.

    On tactical voting, though very few systems can completely eliminate it (a condorcet type system might), AV does reduce the need considerably. It’s certainly arguable that the reason the Australian Greens got 12% is because there was an AV system where voters could vote for who they wanted without the risk of making a coalition victory more likely.

    I’m not sure I quite understand why the need to appeal to a broader electorate is related to tactical voting. And it must be a bigger electorate, since very few MPs currently get in on over 50% of the vote. And most of those votes will surely come from the third party in each constituency.

    I think you perhaps misunderstand what people in favour of AV mean by the wasted vote argument. You’re right that, unlike AV+ or other propotional systems, not everyone’s first preference will elect someone, but they can make that first preference for their genuinely favourite party without the risk of someone they dislike therefore being more likely to win. I live in a very marginal consituency, for example, Edinburgh South, where Labour beat the Lib Dems by just a few hundred votes. I did think about whether to vote Green or not. I’m sure many other people who like the Greens but know we can’t win here will have thought similarly. With AV they could vote Green 1, Labour 2, Lib Dem 3, or whatever. At the moment voting Green in Edinburgh South is a waste to many people, but with AV you still get another preference, so you can afford to vote for someone you think won’t win but actually prefer.

    On extremism, yes people will be able to vote BNP then some other party, and maybe that means people will court those second preferences. But as you say, those voters have as much right as anyone else to have their opinions heard and for me the voters aren’t the problem. The problem is fascist parties, and they won’t get second and third preferences, so they will, most likely, find it harder to get elected.

    On reformism and whether a change now will make proper reform later more likely I don’t know. I think it would be better if we never have a vote on AV, but we almost certainly will. Whether or not it makes PR for Westminster more or less likely, however, I think it will definitely make reform of local election voting more likely, and since those are already multi-member I think the most likely change would be to STV. Which would definitely be a good thing.

    For the record, though I’m no huge fan of AV, I voted in favour of the motion at Green Party conference.

    • Regardless of whether you can vote for someone else in a safe seat, that vote wont actually really change the result – so in the technical definition it is a wasted vote.

      How can you be so sure that the BNP wont get second and third preferences? The arrogance of pro AV voters in regards to the BNP is outstanding. Labour will certainly have a few voters who wouldn’t mind giving their vote to the BNP, even the Tories. Don’t be so naive.

      We agree, it would be better if the AV vote never happened. But disagree with your views on the likely direction.

  8. Andy W says:

    1) There will be no tactical voting under AV. Read this on the LSE blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/?p=3915

    2) The referendum might be in the same bill as reduce + equalise, but voting ‘no’ won’t stop reduce + equalise from happening. Assess the referendum on its own merits.

    3) Your stuff about the BNP is nonsense. They don’t have enough supporters for their second preferences to decide results, except in a small number of seats (e.g. Dagenham) where the same candidate would win regardless of whether BNP transfers were counted.

    4) You are confusing minor parties with extremist parties. AV is good for parties like the Greens and UKIP, which are small but part of the mainstream debate. It is bad for extremist parties like the BNP or National Front, which have solid core support, but can’t reach out to other parties’ voters.

    • We have largely replied to these points in the above comments, so look at them.

      But one point we want to highlight – stop being so arrogant when it comes to the BNP. There are people within Labour and the Tories who might lend their second or third preference to other the BNP.

      • Paul Perrin says:

        Broadly, if a constituency has >50% who would ‘never’ vote BNP then the BNP cannot be elected. Same applies to any other party.

        If >50% would never vote for a party then they can never win, because even if it comes down to the last 2 candidates, those >50% will have all ended up with the other candidate…

      • Andy W says:

        Broadleftblogging,

        When I originally posted my reply, none of the above comments had been approved by the moderator. I accept that you have replied to some of the points people have been making, although I think the readers’ comments are somewhat more convincing than your own replies.

        As for the BNP: I know it suits you to accuse me of arrogance, but I’m not just making an unfounded assumption – I’m basing my argument on evidence. Compare the performance of the Australian Green Party with Australian extremist parties in their elections to the House of Representatives. You’ll see that AV benefits the former while disadvantaging the latter.

        It’s easy to see why the same thing would happen here – both second-preference opinion polling and actual election results (e.g. to the Scottish Parliament and European Parliament) show that voters, when the system allows them, are far more willing to support UKIP or the Greens than they are the BNP.

        If you’d like to discuss the great wealth of evidence we have to refute all your claims about the Alternative Vote, then please feel free to email me at andy.white@electoral-reform.org.uk or phone the Society on 020 7928 1622.

        And to clarify, this is not a Lib Dem issue – we at the Electoral Reform Society have been arguing for this change since before the election, and before the coalition was formed. It is a matter of principle.

        Andy White
        Electoral Reform Society

  9. […] apathy”. As part of this, Jane Watkinson and Darrell Goodliffe have written an “AV Myth-busting” post which deserves […]

  10. You see, the nub of the question here is that there is some assumption amongst pro AV that AV would be a good tool to eradicate the BNP.

    You see, we have a problem with this – as this defeats one of you’re main arguments for electoral change: that it would create a fairer voting system. Instead, you seem to want to provide us with heaps of evidence that this voting system will get rid of the BNP and this is a good thing.

    The BNP find it hard to get elected anyway, so it’s not like it will be a huge improvement on the existing system in that regard. We just think you tend to be ignoring the fact that some disaffected Labour supporters might vote BNP.

    We don’t think this is a bad thing per se, as if people want to vote for the BNP they have the right to do so – even if they are vile. What we take issue to is the argument that electoral change is good as it will eradicate the BNP.

    You see, in a more proportional system such as STV, would you be arguing that this gets rid of the BNP? I think what you are saying misses the point. You shouldn’t be encouraging electoral change on the basis that it will somehow eradicate a party – that isn’t change that suits electoral change, well proper electoral change.

    And the only reason we have a horrible compromised vote which electoral reform would be better not having, is because the LibDems can’t stand up for what they want in government and have to compromise to have a vote on a system that will do damage to electoral reform whether it is voted in or not.

    • Andy W says:

      1) Most pro-AV campaigners regard the BNP as a secondary issue. We are just disputing your assertion that it will somehow give inordinate power to BNP voters.

      2) AV doesn’t stop people voting for the BNP, and nobody is trying to ban the BNP or prevent voters from having a voice.

      We’ve seen in local government, though, that First Past the Post lets the BNP (and other parties) win seats when a majority of voters in those wards strongly oppose them. As vote shares fragment nationally, this will begin to be an issue in Westminster elections (in May, we saw the Lib Dem Simon Wright win Norwich South with only 29% of the vote).

      It’s a basic democratic principle that our system should strive to represent as many people as possible. AV results reflect the views of more voters than FPTP results.

      3) A proportional system like STV would also disadvantage the BNP because it uses transfer voting. Again, I’m not holding this up as one of STV’s great selling points, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

      4) I’m not a Lib Dem and I’m not going to defend all that they’ve done since the election. But on the matter of electoral reform, I think this AV referendum was about the best they could get out of the Tories. Coupling it with ‘reduce + equalise’ was a shame (I’m personally very concerned about the ‘equalise’ part of the bill – http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/news.php?ex=0&nid=484), but again this was the only way the Tories would have swallowed it.

      I don’t think there’s any sense in criticising something for being a compromise. If I were a campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis and I managed to persuade the government to downgrade it from Class B to Class C, I would still regard that as a victory. By the same token, those who support PR but oppose AV are making the best the enemy of the good.

      If you’re going to be at the Labour Party Conference, please come along to our stand for a chat. We think it’s really important that voters of all parties put aside their political differences and vote ‘Yes’ next May.

      Andy White
      Electoral Reform Society

  11. We have had many people coming up and saying that AV will remove the BNP. One of your colleagues at the Green Party conference Fringe even said this – and it is a rubbish premise to change a system on.

    All we are disputing is your assertion that the BNP voters vote wont somehow matter – and how this actually contradicts your argument that AV will remove wasted votes – again something your colleague said with full assertion at the conference.

    We never said you were a LibDem – you just raised them in the last comment. We disagree with your assertion that that is all they could of got – there was such a movement for change, and it’s a shame that we have to split reformers with a compromised proposal.

    It is glad to see that you support the boundary review criticism, however. We don’t see this as a worthwhile compromise.

    These comparisons to other types of reform (had someone saying that it was like refuting women’s vote) doesn’t do any justice to electoral reform as it makes out AV is something it isn’t. We have no problem with people campaigning for AV, we have a problem with people making overblown statements of how the system will improve things. The Green conference passed a motion saying that tactical voting and wasted vote argument will totally go – this is factually incorrect, and unhelpful for further reform.

    Sorry, we aren’t going to the Labour conference. Also, this isn’t about political difference – this is about our own view of what we think is best for electoral change.

    • Andy W says:

      Thanks for the reply, and for debating the issue seriously.

      You’re probably hearing people argue that it will remove the BNP because they think it’s an argument that resonates. What we’re actually trying to illustrate is the fact that under FPTP very unpopular candidates can win, and the BNP is the obvious example (looking at local government elections). Perhaps the point is being laboured, or badly presented.

      However, I brought up the BNP because you made this inaccurate assertion: “Rather than focus on a broader spectrum of the voting population it simply shifts the focus to the voters for UKIP, the Greens, the BNP etc, etc as the likely kingmakers in marginal seats.”

      As I said, these parties’ candidates only become ‘kingmakers’ if they have enough support in the first place. A party with 1% support is only going to be ‘kingmaker’ if one candidate is already on 49%. In most constituencies, the kingmakers will be Labour voters (in Con-LD marginals), Conservative voters (in Lab-LD marginals), and Lib Dem voters (in Con-Lab marginals).

      The ‘No’ campaign have seized upon this idea that BNP voters will have more than one vote, but it’s plainly a distortion.

      As for tactical voting, please read my post on the LSE, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/?p=3915 where I demonstrate that tactical voting is simply not feasible in real-world AV elections. It is true that AV will effectively end tactical voting.

  12. No problem.

    Just a few points.

    Yes, but if you look at local elections the BNP seats declined. And anyway, so what if they can win seats – it isn’t the electoral system that needs to be addressed it is the issues behind why the BNP are popular, such as poverty, housing etc.

    Re ‘kingmakers’. Put simply your wrong because the third place party is last in line to be eliminated is it not? Therefore its least likely their votes will matter because one or the other candidate will reach 50% before it gets to that point. What you say will only be true in seats where these parties are so far behind they actually fall behind smaller parties and therefore are eliminated before a candidate reaches the 50%. In some seats, BNP supporters and supporters of the smaller parties will indeed be the kingmakers.

    In regards to tactical voting – you say that AV will effectively end tactical voting but in your blog say:

    “proves that all voting systems are susceptible to tactical voting…Nobody disputes the theorem, but a key phrase in its construction is ‘full knowledge’”

    You then say that full knowledge relates to how guidlines are given to tactically vote. Something you assert is only associated with the FPTP. Well, then why did the Greens in the Australian election under AV produce a web page about how to vote if you wanted different outcomes? They produced a list of seats of where to do what. What we were disputing is this absolutist nonsense that tactical voting will end completely, which we think the Aussie election is a very good example of how this is very incorrect.

    So basically you are saying that people are too ignorant and that political parties are too ignorant to produce detailed guides (which Australia proved you wrong) on how to vote. The point is that the AV system doesn’t eradicate tactical voting regardless of whether you do tactical voting or not, and it is false to claim otherwise.

    I have to say; hop across to the Labour Party – a ‘real world AV election’ is proving you wrong their.

    • Andy W says:

      re: ‘kingmakers’: put simply, I’m right, and as I keep saying, I have the evidence to demonstrate it if you’d be willing to view it. The *quantity* of transferable votes is more important than the *order* in which those votes are transferred.

      Voters of candidates from smaller parties are much less likely to have kingmaker power because they are so small in number. For example, let’s say after the first round of results you have something like this:

      LD candidate 40%
      Con candidate 35%
      Lab candidate 20%
      UKIP candidate 3%
      BNP candidate 2%

      UKIP + BNP = 5%. So even if every BNP and UKIP vote transferred to the Conservative candidate, the Tory would still only be on 45%. It would then be Labour voters who decided the outcome.

      Now to the tactical point. Could you please provide a link to this Green Party guide, as I was not aware of this. I’ve tried to Google it, but can’t find it.

      I’m not saying that people/parties are too ignorant – I’m saying that full knowledge is totally unfeasible under AV.

      (And I’d like to see some evidence of tactical voting in the Labour Party election. How might someone go about this? I’ve seen a lot of protest voting, yes, where people are making a point with their first preferences, but that’s not the same thing as tactical voting.)

      Ultimately, you make a lot of unfounded assertions and then don’t back them up with any specific evidence. I have repeatedly offered you the chance to look at our own evidence and speak to us personally, but you don’t seem willing to accept the possibility that AV might be an improvement on First Past the Post.

      • Andy W says:

        correction: “even if every UKIP and BNP voter transferred to the Lib Dem, they’d still only be on 45%”

      • Paul Perrin says:

        I think a point worth making (particularly as australia keeps being mentioned) is that they have compulsory voting, and they insist that all candidates have to be given a preference.

        Neither of these are planned for the UK. You don’t have to vote at all, and if you do you only have to give preference to the candidates you want to.

        I support AV, but being hostile to the EU will not be giving any preference to Lib, Lab or Con, and if no anti-EU candidate is running I will not vote at all.

    • Andy W says:

      Okay, I’ve found the page now: http://greens.org.au/getthefacts/preferences

      That isn’t a guide to tactical voting, which I define very clearly in my LSE article. The Green Party are simply telling people how to use their AV preferences properly.

      Indeed, the Australian Greens explain why a vote for them is never wasted thanks to AV! http://greens.org.au/getthefacts/wastedvote

      Will you admit that you’re wrong?

      Andy White
      Electoral Reform Society

  13. […] let alone the cumulative cost of this governments ‘austerity’. Some myths are exploded here but I would think that Labour Party members, who are taking part in an AV election, would be […]

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