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  • FIRST POST
    Former MSE Lawrence
    'Should we change the general election voting system?' poll discussion
    • #1
    • 22nd Feb 11, 9:29 AM
    'Should we change the general election voting system?' poll discussion 22nd Feb 11 at 9:29 AM
    Poll between 22-28 February 2011:

    Should we change the general election voting system?


    On 5 May the UK will have a referendum on whether we should switch to the the Alternative Vote (AV) system or stick with the current First-Past-the-Post.

    If the election was today which would you vote for?

    A. Alternative Vote (Rate the candidates you prefer in order. If your 1st gets the least votes it's transferred to your 2nd and so on until one candidate gets over 50% of the votes.) - 3,237 votes (50 %)

    B. First-Past-The-Post (The current system - X marks the spot and the one with the most votes wins even if they get less than 50% of the total.) - 3,183 votes (50 %)

    Voting has now closed, but you can still click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks

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    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 28-02-2011 at 9:18 AM.
Page 1
  • meher
    • #2
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:26 AM
    • #2
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:26 AM
    we could do without several of the littel known lib-dem and labour candidates sneeking into the House.
    voted av. hth
  • Saucepot
    • #3
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:28 AM
    • #3
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:28 AM
    I'm sticking with the current system

    Janet Daley says it all here

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/janetdaley/8335603/A-simple-question-for-David-Cameron-are-coalitions-good-or-bad.html

    Coalitions result in the horse trading of manifesto pledges & reduce accountability

    "Many people are attracted to consensus – and coalitions – because they hate to hear politicians argue. They need to be told that democratic politics is all about argument: that without clear and fervently held differences between alternative solutions, there is no choice. And without choice, there is no freedom."
    • cat4772
    • By cat4772 22nd Feb 11, 10:36 AM
    • 2,455 Posts
    • 4,348 Thanks
    cat4772
    • #4
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:36 AM
    • #4
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:36 AM
    There's a few things I'd like to change including making voting compulsory for all eligible but including an abstain option so that the general public can choose not to vote for the candidates available.
    DFW Nerd Club #545 Dealing With Our Debt
    never attribute anything to malice which can be adequately explained by stupidity, [paranoia or ignorance] - ZTD&[cat]
    the thing about unwritten laws is that everyone has to agree to them before they can work - *louise*

    March GC 113.53 / 325
  • tomturton
    • #5
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:44 AM
    • #5
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:44 AM
    The voting system should change - at the moment it creates a government whose numbers don't represent votes (see John Cleese's explanation on YouTube).

    If making the voting system more democratic causes problems for governments, then its parliament that needs to change, not how are votes are counted!
    • omnipotentstudenttype
    • By omnipotentstudenttype 22nd Feb 11, 10:56 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    omnipotentstudenttype
    • #6
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:56 AM
    • #6
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:56 AM
    AV isn't going to result in more coalitions. When you look at the results for general elections since WW2 you see that the collective vote of the big two parties has been steadily decreasing. We're soon going to get to a point in time when coalitions are the norm even under FPTP, so a fear of coalitions isn't a good reason to vote no (or to vote yes for that matter).

    Personally I'm a big Proportional Representation fan, and in an ideal world I'd like to vote for that. But considering it's not an option I'd rather vote for a system of government which I feel is more democratic than our current one, and I fear that if I vote 'no' because AV isn't my ideal then we won't get another chance to change the system in a generation.
    Last edited by omnipotentstudenttype; 22-02-2011 at 11:02 AM. Reason: addition
    • Seakay
    • By Seakay 22nd Feb 11, 10:57 AM
    • 4,173 Posts
    • 10,055 Thanks
    Seakay
    • #7
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:57 AM
    • #7
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:57 AM
    Would prefer an alternative voting system but not convinced that the one offered is the right one. Would really prefer some form of proportional representation.
    Also think that voting should be compulsory and that there should always be a "no candidate acceptable" option so that so called spoiled papers can have some real meaning
  • Bazny
    • #8
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:58 AM
    AV is absurd
    • #8
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:58 AM
    The alternative voting system is absurd. It in effect gives more than one vote to anyone who puts a member of a minor party as their first choice. Elections should be about voting for the one candidate who best represents you; not this second, third choice nonsense.
    • Pmarmalade
    • By Pmarmalade 22nd Feb 11, 11:09 AM
    • 163 Posts
    • 137 Thanks
    Pmarmalade
    • #9
    • 22nd Feb 11, 11:09 AM
    • #9
    • 22nd Feb 11, 11:09 AM
    The voting system should change - at the moment it creates a government whose numbers don't represent votes (see John Cleese's explanation on YouTube).

    If making the voting system more democratic causes problems for governments, then its parliament that needs to change, not how are votes are counted!
    Originally posted by tomturton
    Agree with this completely.

    Lib Dem in the 2010 general election received 23% of the total votes but less than 10% of the actual seats. They'd no doubt have had many, many more votes if tactical voting was removed from the equation completely!

    I don't want to vote for who has the seat in my local constituency, I want to vote for the party I want to see run the country!
    • omnipotentstudenttype
    • By omnipotentstudenttype 22nd Feb 11, 11:15 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    omnipotentstudenttype
    The alternative voting system is absurd. It in effect gives more than one vote to anyone who puts a member of a minor party as their first choice. Elections should be about voting for the one candidate who best represents you; not this second, third choice nonsense.
    Originally posted by Bazny
    It's not absurd at all. AV allows supporters of minority parties to express their ideal choice without worrying that they might be letting in an undesirable party as a consequence. You still only get one vote, it's simply applied to your favourite realistic choice.

    Under FPTP you find some voters will vote for the least worst of the big two or three parties as they feel a vote for anything else is a wasted vote. That's not democracy.
  • Saucepot
    For all of you voting "yes" despite accepting that AV is "absurd" but thinking this is your only chance to make a change, ask yourself why you are not being given the choice of PR. Is it because of a half @rsed comprise of coalition politics, the type of half @rsed comprise we are about to get more of and represents no one, because no one actually voted for the manifesto of a coalition government?
    • grahamm
    • By grahamm 22nd Feb 11, 12:05 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 150 Thanks
    grahamm
    For those who object to AV, consider that in many constituencies you can put a red/ blue ribbon on a donkey and get it elected.

    This happens because even though that donkey only gets eg 40% of the votes, that's more than any other donkey meaning that anyone who doesn't vote for that particular donkey may as well stay home because their votes will have *no* effect on the result.

    With AV, if enough people put a different donkey down as their second choice there's a possible 60% of the votes available to get that one elected instead.

    The claim that AV means we'll get "everyone's second choice" is also nonsense, if that donkey that got 40% of the votes picks up enough "second choice" votes from the other 60% of the voters to push it over the 50% of the total votes then it *will* get elected meaning that all the 40% who voted for it got their first choice and an additional 11% got their second choice.

    Sure, 49% didn't get their choice, but at least their votes were relevant to the result instead of being completely wasted.

    More importantly, however, it would mean that we have less likelihood of a "strong" government a term which Cameron et al like to use because it *sounds good* (strong is better than weak, isn't it?) but which actually means that the party who has a majority (even if elected by a *minority* of the votes!) can push through any policy they wish no matter how many opposition votes there are and that is *not* representative of the people's wishes.

    AV isn't perfect by any means, but FPTP is broken, discredited and replacing it with AV is a step in the right direction.
    if i had known then what i know now
    • omnipotentstudenttype
    • By omnipotentstudenttype 22nd Feb 11, 12:06 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    omnipotentstudenttype
    For all of you voting "yes" despite accepting that AV is "absurd" but thinking this is your only chance to make a change, ask yourself why you are not being given the choice of PR. Is it because of a half @rsed comprise of coalition politics, the type of half @rsed comprise we are about to get more of and represents no one, because no one actually voted for the manifesto of a coalition government?
    Originally posted by Saucepot
    That's rather a moot point. The options are on the table now, and the choice is between keeping a rubbish system or moving to a less rubbish system.

    If AV wins then if the public chooses the debate can move from AV to AV+ or PR or whatever. If AV looses then we're stuck with a bad system.
    • dggar
    • By dggar 22nd Feb 11, 12:10 PM
    • 586 Posts
    • 280 Thanks
    dggar
    Of the 2 choices (AV or FPTP) which is more likely to lead to an eventual outcome of Proportional Representaion?
    • ErictheHalfaBee
    • By ErictheHalfaBee 22nd Feb 11, 12:10 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    ErictheHalfaBee
    For all of you voting "yes" despite accepting that AV is "absurd" but thinking this is your only chance to make a change, ask yourself why you are not being given the choice of PR. Is it because of a half @rsed comprise of coalition politics, the type of half @rsed comprise we are about to get more of and represents no one, because no one actually voted for the manifesto of a coalition government?
    Originally posted by Saucepot
    First of all, I don't think there are many people who accept that it is absurd. Secondly, half the stuff that people are really upset about at the moment is stuff that the Conservatives are pushing through that wasn't even in THEIR manifesto, let alone the coalition agreement, so it's not really anything to do with it being a coalition.

    But in answer to your question:

    Why? Because the Conservatives wouldn't give us a referendum on a better voting system, because they hope that people who want PR or other systems will vote against AV. And why don't they want any change? Because at the moment the left-leaning vote gets split between greens, lib-dems and labour, and lets them sneak into government even though in a significant number of seats if you asked everybody "who would you LEAST like to win?" the answer could easily be the candidate that won.

    AV allows you to state your preferences entirely honestly, without thinking you might be wasting your vote or letting an undesirable candidate win because you didn't vote for the opposition with the (perceived) best chance. It will therefore give a far clearer picture of the electorate's real opinions and match them more closely with seats.

    There is no real evidence to suggest it would lead to more coalitions, but even if it did I suggest we deal with it like grown-ups. Nowhere where they have AV already is anybody campaigning for a return to FPTP. Maybe you should ask yourself why that is, Saucepot.
    • retired2
    • By retired2 22nd Feb 11, 12:41 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    retired2
    Retired2
    It seems nonsense to me that the current system puts people into post although they only receive the votes of a small percentage of the voters. This alternative system seems to acknowledge and address the problems with this.
    There will inevitably be the Luddites who don't want change but they exist in all changes that are introduced.
    The other major change I would like to see is voting becoming compulsory with an abstain option on the voting paper. I think people who do not bother to vote do not have the right to comment on the laws or state of our country.
  • Bazny
    AV still absurd
    It's not absurd at all. AV allows supporters of minority parties to express their ideal choice without worrying that they might be letting in an undesirable party as a consequence. You still only get one vote, it's simply applied to your favourite realistic choice.

    Under FPTP you find some voters will vote for the least worst of the big two or three parties as they feel a vote for anything else is a wasted vote. That's not democracy.
    Originally posted by omnipotentstudenttype
    You should always vote your conscience and vote for who you believe is the best candidate regardless of the consequences. You shouldn't vote for the lesser of two evils as part of some strategy. This is why we're left with the choices we have.

    If you truly believe a minor party or candidate is worth getting elected, then vote that way. If that party or candidate represents something appealing to the majority or plurality, they'd get in. The problem is the acceptance that our leaders have to be from a particular party. It doesn't have to be that way if there's an informed electorate. The people have to change, not the voting system.

    Democracy is one of the most misused terms today. Democracy is mob rule. Democracy is very dangerous and cannot survive. A REPUBLIC restrained by the rule of law is the most secure form of government.
  • Gareth_Lazelle
    You should always vote your conscience and vote for who you believe is the best candidate regardless of the consequences. You shouldn't vote for the lesser of two evils as part of some strategy. This is why we're left with the choices we have.
    Originally posted by Bazny
    Doing that can easily let the worst possible candidate in...

    You can talk and talk about "voting your conscience" if you want, but if it always results in you getting MPs you don't want then it is pretty easy to see why a lot of folks might decide to pick the "most realistic least-worst option", so that they at least stand some chance of getting someone palatable into office, even if it isn't who they would really have picked.

    And there's a reason why a lot of us got "this constituency is a two-horse-race, don't waste your vote on [Party] when you could vote for us..." letters last election. And it's a symptom of an innate problem with FPTP.

    FPTP basically works in a two-party system, but once you have three or more viable parties it completely breaks down.
    If you truly believe a minor party or candidate is worth getting elected, then vote that way. If that party or candidate represents something appealing to the majority or plurality, they'd get in.
    Unless the vote is split, or unless the populace fears that the vote will be split (even if the party is truly popular, unless it is seen to be popular it simply won't get the votes in because the populace will be terrified of letting one of the major parties in),

    Left or right wing, you can easily see that having multiple parties at one end of the political spectrum causes problems for FPTP and results in an outcome based upon chance rather than choice (in effect the election is decided upon the balance of the split, rather than the winning parties 'majority'),
    Last edited by Gareth_Lazelle; 22-02-2011 at 1:43 PM.
    - GL
  • Bazny
    I just don't accept that it's chance if everyone voted the way they truly wanted.
    • Gordon the Moron
    • By Gordon the Moron 22nd Feb 11, 4:08 PM
    • 1,453 Posts
    • 739 Thanks
    Gordon the Moron
    First past the post is not perfect but I think it is better than the alternative on offer so I voted keep it as it is.
    If you don't like what I say slap me around with a large trout and PM me to tell me why.

    If you do like it please hit the thanks button.
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