'Is AV really so complex? Or is it just confusion marketing?' blog discussion

edited 19 April 2011 at 11:04AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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  • jonjonojonjono Forumite
    17 Posts
    It's really tragic that the debate has been so filled with mudslinging and confusion. The No vote in particular have clouded the debate and that's hardly surprising considering the arguments for a change are much stronger. AV is not perfect but it is better and fairer (not only to those who would rather vote for small parties but also for the majority of voters in getting more accountability in politics).

    For a nice simple explanation with pictures and animals and other fun stuff watch the video on youtube by CGP Grey called "the Alternative Vote System Explained" (sorry can't link yet). If the No Vote wins I'll be so disappointed mainly because I feel they have dirtied the campaign and confused people about the issues.
  • StacFaceStacFace Forumite
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    OneADay wrote: »
    Introduced in Australia, it resulted in fewer people voting. So they made it compulsary to vote.

    You've been reading The Sun I take it? As someone who has studied voting behaviour I would like to point out that voter turnout has declined everywhere in that time, including here in the UK. Australia made it compulsory to vote in order to deal with this problem, whereas the UK and many other countries decided this would be undemocratic.

    The reduction in voter turnout was not due to the voting system used. And the reason some Australians complain about it is because everyone likes to complain about politicians and the systems etc in their country, just like lots of British people moan about the NHS, doesn't mean they want it getting rid of.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
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    MrChips wrote: »
    How will you decide which way to vote without knowing a bit about it?
    Eh? Decide what/when/why?
  • wrigglywriggly Forumite
    362 Posts
    alexlyne wrote: »
    If you want to vote for someone, then you vote for them. They would be your first choice. Then you would maybe choose to put down a second choice. This means that you're not fully in favour of what they represent,

    This is not really true, as a voter's opinions can be non-linear.

    It's possible that the second candidate is "just as good" in the voter's opinion, but some small policy difference determines their preference.

    Even with their later preferences, a voter may not want, say the Conservatives to win, but would rather that over the BNP winning, so they can put Cons ahead of BNP in the preferences.
  • cheap_charliecheap_charlie Forumite
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    I wish the Yes campaign were able to bottle your blog post Martin and send it out to voters.

    I received a flier from the No campaign yesterday and found it full of misinformation and contained a character assassination of Nick Clegg.

    I have already voted in favour by post before it arrived but if anything were designed to strengthen my resolve in favour of AV then the leaflet would have been it.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2010 - member 402 :)

  • jpbamfordjpbamford Forumite
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    And once all the appropriate candidates have been eliminated, that person gets exactly one vote in the final round.
    Whereas in FPTP they would get zero votes in the "final round".

    I can't see how that makes FPTP fairer!

    But. In fact AV is just as unfair. Why, just because I voted for the second (or third) most popular party should my second vote not be counted, when the second votes of those voting first for minority parties do?

    If there is no 50% party on first count, then ALL second votes should be taken into account; and ideally votes should be weighted, so that a first vote counts for more than a subsequent vote.

    I don't like FPTP, but I am very wary of changing it for something far from fair, that is likely to result in more coalitions, which only serve to ensure that the promises we voted for are replaced, in secret deals, prior to the government being formed. How fair is that?
  • jpbamfordjpbamford Forumite
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    jonjono wrote: »
    ...but also for the majority of voters in getting more accountability in politics).

    Sorry if I'm just as confused as everyone (!), but how does AV ensure more accounability in politics, please?
  • MsHoarderMsHoarder Forumite
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    jonjono wrote: »
    It's really tragic that the debate has been so filled with mudslinging and confusion. The No vote in particular have clouded the debate and that's hardly surprising considering the arguments for a change are much stronger. AV is not perfect but it is better and fairer (not only to those who would rather vote for small parties but also for the majority of voters in getting more accountability in politics).

    For a nice simple explanation with pictures and animals and other fun stuff watch the video on youtube by CGP Grey called "the Alternative Vote System Explained" (sorry can't link yet). If the No Vote wins I'll be so disappointed mainly because I feel they have dirtied the campaign and confused people about the issues.

    Link added :)

    The explanation I prefer is that an election is like asking a friend to go to the shop for you. You like Mars Bars and Twixs, but can't stand Bounties.

    Under FPTP

    You ask for a Mars Bar

    Your friend goes to the shop and doesn't see any Mars Bars, so gets you a Bounty as quite a few other people seem to like them.

    Under AV

    You tell your friend you would like a Mars Bar or a Twix if they don't have any Mars Bars.

    You get a Twix, so are still happy

    In the political world
    I am in an interesting seat which had a three-way split last year. That means that the winning candidate only had 35% of the vote (with second place getting 33%). An ability to express a preference would probably have changed the result. This is probably why my MP is a serious supporter of No to AV.

    I think that the candidate which makes the fewest people unhappy is the best option in this age of multiple political parties. FPTP only really works when there are only 2 options, and away from England this stopped being the case a long time ago, and in England we not only have the "big three", but also UKIP, the Greens and some strong independents. I find that no manifesto is perfect, and that I spend some time before an election reading through them (and considering past records) and trying to pick a candidate who has a chance to win and who has the manifesto I disagree with least.
    "Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world."
    — Frank Warren
  • znww5znww5 Forumite
    14 Posts
    In many respects the issue of FPTP or AV is really a sideshow in my view.

    The real problems from the electorate's viewpoint are: the lack of accountability of elected MPs, their greed, the fact that their pre-election promises are demonstrably worthless and their disconnection from the realities of everyday life.

    I wonder what the policy implications would be if MPs were paid the national average wage of about £25,000 instead of the £65,000 or so which they awarded themselves?

    For me, AV is the better of two rather poor options, but still fails to address the fundamental shortcomings of the parliamentary old boys club which it underpins.
  • As an Australian living here, I was shocked to find that the UK had such an antiquated voting system as first past the post.

    AV works, and produces fairer, more democratic results.
    First past the post - You get one choice, and one only.
    AV - If we can't give you your first choice who would you like?

    Once you get AV then we can talk about the other thing that you should adopt from Australia. Compulsary Voting... -smile-
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