'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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  • gb39gb39 Forumite
    6 Posts
    AV does not always require more than 50% to win. That can only be guaranteed if every voter gives a preference to every candidate.

    What it does do is increase the complication and cost whilst expert analysis suggests that it would only change the FPTP result in a small proportion of cases.

    It is far from fair in that usually it only takes into account the second and later preferences of the voters who select the least popular candidates. The second preferences of voters for the most popular candidates would rarely be considered.

    I am happy with the FPTP system but unhappy with the power of the political parties to impose candidates on the electorate. The party list system which is used for EU elections and would be used in PR takes power away from the people.
  • BehemothBehemoth Forumite
    27 Posts
    Well done to Martin Lewis for introducing a bit of sanity into this debate. The only people who oppose this change are the corrupt politicians who are afraid of being more answerable to the voting public.
    Their suggestion that the public can only understand making an 'X' and not understand counting up to 3 is insulting in the extreme.
  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    qwertyface wrote: »
    ... if it's true that AV will give you more coalitions, some people say it will, some people say it won't.
    I think that AV will give more coalitions in this country than FPTP. But that is because of the make-up of our political parties rather than AV itself.
    AV favours the centre over the "extremes". Therefore, it is likely to favour the LibDems. If the LibDems get more MPs then the three-way split in parliament will be more equal and it will be harder for one party to get more than 50% of the seats.

    But that's only the case because the centre party in this country is the third largest. If, in a different country, say, the centre party was the largest party then AV would produce less coalitions.
  • edited 20 April 2011 at 10:49AM
    Amba_GamblaAmba_Gambla Forumite
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    edited 20 April 2011 at 10:49AM
    MsHoarder wrote: »
    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
    Under AV you could still end up with a Bounty.

    AV isn't as sunny and shiny as everyone likes to make out. It'll take power out of the voters hands, and the real power will be transferred to the back rooms of Whitehall when the parties are 'negotiating' coalition deals
  • MrChipsMrChips Forumite
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    Under AV you could still end up with a Bounty.

    The only way you could end up with a Bounty is if there are no mars bars or twixes at all. Surely AV means you are more likely to get an option you want? Or we should choose FPTP because there is a small chance the outcome could be the same?
    If I had a pound for every time I didn't play the lottery...
  • edited 20 April 2011 at 11:03AM
    blanikblanik Forumite
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    edited 20 April 2011 at 11:03AM
    IMHO it's a mechanism to get the Lib Dems more seats.

    Tory voters generally don't Labour and vice versa. Some of these will have the LD as their 2nd choice.
    Therefore any seat where Labour or Conservative don't win outright can have the LD vote "winning" the seat.

    i.e. 40% Con, 40% Lab, 19% LD, 1% others as 1st choice. 2nd choice for half the Con and Lab voters is LD.
    In round 2, we lose the 1% others from the race.
    Round 2 gives 40 Con, 40 Lab (no 2nd votes), 59 to LD who then win.

    I think you jumped to the result one step too early.

    Assume 40.1% Con, 39.9% Lab, 19% LD, 1% Others.

    Under FPTP - Con win, the favourite of the minority.

    Under AV

    Round 2 ( presume all the Others 2nd choice was LD )
    40.1% Con, 39.9% Lab, 20% LD

    Round 3 LD drop out ( Presume LD 2nd choice was all Lab )
    40.1% con, 59.9% Lab

    Lab Win - as the majority of the people did not want Con [ The original Lab voters + the LD ]

    Under the existing FPTP system the LD voters can either waste their vote on the LD candidate ( who has no chance of winning in this scenario ) or vote Lab tactically to keep the Con out.

    Where the LD party may gain is because there is no tactical voting under AV they may get more 1st choice votes in the first place. But this is a better reflection of what people actually want.

    Sorry - Jimmy the wig, just saw your earlier reply which showed the same calculations.
  • selimapselimap Forumite
    28 Posts
    Nice post, Martin, but your summary does not tell the whole story. You say:
    "First Past the Post gives the LARGEST MINORITY of people their FAVOURITE candidate"
    I think this should be:
    "First Past the Post gives the Majority or the LARGEST MINORITY of PEOPLE WHO CAST A VALID VOTE their FAVOURITE candidate". The distinction is crucial: so many people are so disenchanted with the system that they don't vote at all.

    Your second statement "Alternative Vote gives the MAJORITY of people their LEAST WORST candidate" could be changed in a similar manner. Also, though it's simple, it's unduly pessimistic as under AV many people will still find their FAVOURITE candidate is elected. And under the present system, many (most?) people cast their single vote for their least worst candidate, so your statements contain their own (unintended) bias against AV by suggesting presently lots of people enthusiastically vote for the winning candidate, but under AV they pick the least worst (in their view).

    A better summary would be 'if you think the present system shouldn't be changed, vote no; if you think change is needed, vote yes'. That's the essence of the issue, not the fine details of AV.

    A good post on this on a local Cardiff web site is here:
  • Robability wrote: »
    The reason I think a Yes makes further change less likely is that AV is currently presented very much as a fait accompli that fixes all electoral problems in the UK.


    So doubting it is ok, but if the concern is to keep a proper choice on the table later on, then No makes a lot of sense to me.

    Scotland voted YES to a Scottish Parliament in 1979 and were refused it on a technicality. We didn't have another referendum until 1997. Considering Britain's history of getting bored and not bothering to finish things (See metrication etc..) voting NO would likely be a nail in the coffin to any future reform.
  • ScarletBeaScarletBea Forumite
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    Eh? Decide what/when/why?

    Have you been on the moon?

    On May 5th you'll be voting on a referendum, to decide if we keep the current system or move to AV.

    By the way, my choice would be proportional representation. Why isn't that an option?
    Being brave is going after your dreams head on
  • The fuss about changing the present system should tell you all you need to know about it. First past the Post is not only un-democratic it is ANTI-democratic and designed to preserve the oligarchy of a two party state.
    MP,s are not elected to do what the electorate desire but what the party whips tell them to do and you dear voter only get what you deserve - the result.
    AV will (should) end the ludicrous system whereby 30% get to govern the remaining 70% like it or lump it.
    Anything which will cause MP,s to consider what it was they were elected to go and do when they get into the house, and give them the freedom to ignore the whips must be DEMOCRATIC.
    Go for it my friends; you have only your shackles to lose.:T
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