UK AV Referendum

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Deep_Thought
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UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Thu May 05, 2011 3:56 pm UTC

I'm surprised there isn't already a thread about this somewhere, have I missed it?

Today the UK is voting on changing it's electoral system from First Past the Post (Standard 'put an X in a box' system) to the Alternative Vote (Rank candidates in order of preference). In the grand scheme of things this is a pretty minor change and won't affect the make up of the house of commons significantly. Personally I'm in favour of AV simply because I am capable of ranking my candidates and it eliminates the need for tactical voting - but the reality is the referendum itself is pretty inconsequential. What I'm interested in are the issues that surround it.

I have been staggered by both the vapidity of the Yes campaign and the horrifying spectacle of the No campaign. Those on the Yes side have variously argued that AV will clean up politics or usher in a new dawn or some such. I'll believe it when I see it, but at least their heart is in the right place. The No side, on the other hand, has variously argued that it's too complicated, which insults the intelligence of voters, that it will lead to more coalition governments, for which there is no evidence whatsoever, or that FPTP is the reason Britain punches above it's weight at the UN (huh?). The level of hyperbole has been off the charts. I have seen posters up in London suggesting that voting 'Yes' would kill babies - seriously, do a Google Image Search for 'No to AV posters' and find the one talking about maternity units.

Above all this has simply disappointed me. I know politics can easily devolve into mud slinging but this is a few levels below that. I haven't personally experienced a political campaign with this amount of irrationality and bile - every General Election has a couple of idiotic posters (The Michael Howard vampire one springs to mind) but this is the worst I can remember in my short political life by far. British Politics should hang its head in shame. Is this just a random blip caused both by the subject matter or will the next general election be this bitter and jaded?

So who else bothered to go out and vote today? They were forecasting a 70% No vote last night, but I live in the small hope that the only people who will bother to show up are those who would actually like a change in our electoral system.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Chen » Thu May 05, 2011 4:31 pm UTC

How does the order of names on the ballot affect AV voting? It seems to me the order would be important in the cases of people who can't be bothered to write down more than one number. If they know they're supposed to they might fill in their #1 candidate and then just sequentially fill in the rest. Otherwise it does seem like a better system to me overall.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Thu May 05, 2011 4:36 pm UTC

Under the system the UK would adopt you do not actually have to choose more than 1 candidate. If your chosen candidate is eliminated in the first round your vote is ignored in future rounds. Hence the order of names should not, in theory, affect results, but I assume it would alphabetical, from memory that's the current system isn't it?

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Game_boy » Thu May 05, 2011 5:56 pm UTC

I agree with that sentiment. I'd prefer PR but they'd never let it happen, and the effect of AV will be small and unpredictable (I've seen projections saying it favours each of the three main parties).

But the campaigns are so badly run, and the political parties' stances so hypocritical (Lib Dems saying Yes when they opposed it last year, Labour saying Yes but no too loudly in case it comes back on them, and the Conservatives saying No only to look different from the Lib Dems as an electoral strategy), that I'd feel terrible voting either Yes or No.

So I spoiled my postal vote. Took me time to apply for and fill out too, so it's not apathy but a protest at the choices offered.

The only purpose it will serve is pretending that the winner got 50% of the vote instead of the shallow complaint that they got less than that in FPTP. No real difference in the culture of politics (which is what is actually broken here).
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby MrConor » Thu May 05, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

Game_boy wrote:The only purpose it will serve is pretending that the winner got 50% of the vote instead of the shallow complaint that they got less than that in FPTP. No real difference in the culture of politics (which is what is actually broken here).


I almost agree with you, but I'm still voting Yes. Whilst it's only a minor reform, I think it would be easier to have a further referendum on a better system (I'm not totally convinced about PR, but STV does seem like a good system) if there is a demonstrable appetite amongst the public for electoral reform (which, in my opinion, a Yes to AV would signify more than a No). It might take a few more years, but then the chances of a second referendum being held within the next five years if the No campaign wins the current referendum are slim to none (regardless of what No to AV, YES to PR might argue).

David Owen argued that the referendum should have included a proposal for a PR system. I'm inclined to agree - people should be given the full range of options to choose from. Nevertheless, it raised an amusing question: if there WERE three options on the ballot paper, should they be counted with FPTP, AV or STV?

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Game_boy » Thu May 05, 2011 6:52 pm UTC

@MrConor

Either Labour or the Conservatives will always have the main power in a Parliament. They gain so much from FPTP that they would never agree to a PR vote even as a demand from another party joining a coalition. Even AV was proposed by Labour at a time when it would likely benefit them (Lib Dem second preferences in Lab-Con marginals being mostly Labour at the time).

I'd like to see it but it's as probable as a vote to cut MP's base wages in half going through Parliament.
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Thu May 05, 2011 7:54 pm UTC

@Game_boy

I agree with you with the caveat that Labour or Conservatives will have the main power in Parliament for the foreseeable future. Neither party has existed forever, and before the rise of Labour the then Liberal party was the main opposition. Given the funding problems all parties, and Labour in particular, are experiencing we may see a similar shift at some point in the future.

I was debating expanding the thread title to include "1 Year of the Coalition" as well seen as it is the anniversary of the election. It will be interesting to see what the impact of the referendum has on the Tory / Lib Dem pact which seems to be fraying a bit as of late. I can't imagine the Tories would want another election right now though - what with the bad press from the cuts I can't see them winning!

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Game_boy » Thu May 05, 2011 8:29 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:@Game_boy

I agree with you with the caveat that Labour or Conservatives will have the main power in Parliament for the foreseeable future. Neither party has existed forever, and before the rise of Labour the then Liberal party was the main opposition. Given the funding problems all parties, and Labour in particular, are experiencing we may see a similar shift at some point in the future.

I was debating expanding the thread title to include "1 Year of the Coalition" as well seen as it is the anniversary of the election. It will be interesting to see what the impact of the referendum has on the Tory / Lib Dem pact which seems to be fraying a bit as of late. I can't imagine the Tories would want another election right now though - what with the bad press from the cuts I can't see them winning!


Well, even if one party replaced the main two they will have the same motivations as FPTP will still favour them.

The Conservatives will win the next election if the economy improves at all. The Liberal Democrats are dead because they gave in completely (to the point of even supporting of their own free will) tuition fees, nuclear and Afghanistan/Libya. Labour will win out of apathy in the next election if nothing changes, but they have exactly zero policies and when questioned hard they admit they'd do pretty much what the Conservatives are doing but slower to act, which wouldn't produce much of a different result to the economy. None of them are prepared to tackle the core issues that caused the recession - that the banking system is rewarded for its failures and there's no penalty for investing wrong or credit rating wrong.

I hope the cuts work eventually, because there's no alternative that the main three would be prepared to follow through with (though I'm sure they will promise anything).
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Thu May 05, 2011 10:51 pm UTC

I suspect that at some point during the coalition negotiations Labour realised that being in opposition for the next couple of years would let them escape the blame for cuts, just as someone in the Tory party spotted that having the Lib Dems around to take some of the blame was going to help them. Labour have an awfully long way to go before being seen as a credible alternative though (choosing Ed over Dave was not a good start).

We don't have much alternative to the cuts. Although the banks are the most responsible for the crash itself there are some pretty ugly underlying factors that will bork the UK economy for some time to come - pensions, rising health-care costs and the exhaustion of North Sea oil. The best thing any government could do right now is start a national get-fit scheme using hamster wheels for all of us to generate our own electricity.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri May 06, 2011 1:36 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:Labour have an awfully long way to go before being seen as a credible alternative though (choosing Ed over Dave was not a good start).

I don't know about that - Labour have been leading in the polls for quite a while, and with the weakened Lib Dems, that means it won't take as much to gain an actual majority.


For me, the only argument that matters is tactical voting. I'm a labour voter, living in a Con-Dem toss-up. So, I have a choice of being one less liberal voter, and supporting my actual choice, thus making it more likely that the Tories get in than if I were to vote Lib Dem (which I did last time for precisely this reason). This, to me, is stretching the definition of democracy. The voters should be able to follow their conscience, and vote for the people whose policy they actually support, without having to fear that a MP whose positions are unacceptable to them gets in. Alas, it does look like I shall be stuck with this dilemma for the foreseeable future.
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Dobblesworth » Fri May 06, 2011 1:40 pm UTC

AV Referendum -ish debate did receive some chatter in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=35323 [2009 start but slightly necro'd over time so go a few pages forward]

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby jobriath » Fri May 06, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

MrConor wrote:David Owen argued that the referendum should have included a proposal for a PR system. I'm inclined to agree - people should be given the full range of options to choose from. Nevertheless, it raised an amusing question: if there WERE three options on the ballot paper, should they be counted with FPTP, AV or STV?


I think even if a majority of voters supported electoral reform of one flavour or another, they tend to favour different systems. This would split the change vote to the point of uselessness. I'm surprised Cameron didn't cheerfully allow another one or two voting systems on the slip, to take advantage of precisely this effect.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Fri May 06, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

@Dobblesworth - Thanks for pointing that out. I had seen that thread, but only read the first and last pages which make no mention of the UK.

@bentheimmigrant - By 'credible' I meant that Milliband and his team do not currently have any credible policies to fight an election on, beyond "We're not the government". Yes, they might be ahead in the polls, but perhaps that's because people don't like the cuts rather than actually liking Labour? I sympathise strongly with your arguments about tactical voting. I've faced similar decisions before. Proper PR would help even more than AV though.

@jobriath - Cameron would not have taken any chance that PR would be adopted. That's the system under which the Tories and Labour will lose most, and the Lib Dems gain most (Under previous elections the Lib Dems would have more than doubled their number of seats). By restricting the choice to AV or No AV, he has split the 'change' vote in a different way. I know people who voted No because they want full PR, not AV. They didn't have any other choice and this way it looks like they favour FPTP (Unless they spoiled their ballot like Game_boy).

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri May 06, 2011 4:28 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:@bentheimmigrant - By 'credible' I meant that Milliband and his team do not currently have any credible policies to fight an election on, beyond "We're not the government". Yes, they might be ahead in the polls, but perhaps that's because people don't like the cuts rather than actually liking Labour? I sympathise strongly with your arguments about tactical voting. I've faced similar decisions before. Proper PR would help even more than AV though.

I'm not so convinced by PR, simply because I like having a regional representative. I suppose a semi-proportional system, with a mix of AV and a proportional top-up vote would be acceptable, but people vote for different reasons in different regions. PR has the potential of stressing party politics, instead of a relationship between an MP and their constituency - I actually like my MP, even though he's not my first choice party-wise.
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Fri May 06, 2011 9:03 pm UTC

Yes, the regional representative bit is the main drawback to PR. Similarly my MP is excellent too despite not being from my first choice party (lowest expenses claimed out of the London MPs). For my particular situation AV would be perfect! Any system stresses party politics once the MPs are actually elected - that's what the party whips are for. I wish we had more independents in the system, then we could really focus on the 'representative' part of representative democracy.

Well the results are in. 69% No is a comprehensive result, all that remains now is to see whether this remains as a "No to AV" or is spun into a "No to electoral reform". The SNP majority in Scotland worries me - I'm not a big fan of ending the Union.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby MrConor » Fri May 06, 2011 11:42 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:Well the results are in. 69% No is a comprehensive result, all that remains now is to see whether this remains as a "No to AV" or is spun into a "No to electoral reform". The SNP majority in Scotland worries me - I'm not a big fan of ending the Union.


I'll put my money on it being spun into 'No to Electoral Reform' given quotes like:
"I am a passionate supporter of political reform, but when the answer is as clear as this, you have got to accept it. In a democracy when you ask a question and you get an overwhelming answer, you just have to accept it and move on." Nick Clegg (source: Telegraph)
"The British constitution is not some bauble to be handed out as a consolation prize. It would be an outrage if such a resounding vote was to be ignored by the Liberal Democrats." John Reid (Source: Independent)

Which is a pity, because 69% voting no out of a 42% turnout means only 29% of the voting population actually voted to keep FPTP.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Sat May 07, 2011 10:34 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:I'm not so convinced by PR, simply because I like having a regional representative. I suppose a semi-proportional system, with a mix of AV and a proportional top-up vote would be acceptable, but people vote for different reasons in different regions. PR has the potential of stressing party politics, instead of a relationship between an MP and their constituency - I actually like my MP, even though he's not my first choice party-wise.


You actually have a number of PR systems which keep constituencies. One of the best of these is the system adopted by Ireland, STV, in which you have Multiple MPs in a Constituency (usually between three and five). Essentially a Quto, or an amount of votes (public support), one needs to be an MP is decided upon Mathematically.

[math]\frac{Valid\ Votes\ Cast}{Seats\ to\ Fill\ +\ 1}\ +\ 1=\ Votes\ needed\ by\ each\ candidate\ to\ Win.[/math]

You vote by ranking the candidates in order of preference and the counting then takes place in rounds. In the First Round, first preference votes are counted. Much like in AV, the weakest candidate is eliminated and their votes redistributed to the rest. However, what also happens is that any candidate who reaches the quota is deemed elected and the surplus of their votes are redistributed by the other preferences of those voters. This is repeated round after round, with weakest voter eliminated and the votes for successful candidates redistributed. In this way it ensures no wasted votes as well as providing for a proportional system in which candidates must rely on getting people's second and third preferences to get elected.

The thing is in Ireland is that the Constituency link is almost too strong. Many MPs (Or TDs as they're known) have been shown to spend a disproportionate amount of their time doing constituency work and their is the perennial slander of politician's attending random people's funerals for votes. But this is partially an engrained culture and a result of the appalling lack of both awareness of and power in Local Politics. I mention it only to assuage your fears about keeping a Constituency link with a P.R. system. In fact if anything STV is much better at giving you a Constituency link in that there's usually a high probability of their being at least one MP in your Constituency (e.g. there might be one Liberal Democrat and two Tories in a particular one) whom you actually voted for (or at least to whom you gave a second preference). At present STV is actually the choice system of the Electoral Reform Society and the Liberal Democrats.
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Sharlos » Sun May 08, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

You could always do away with the House of Lords and introduce a senate that uses proportional representation. That way the views of the country could be better represented while reforming the upper house of the parliament at the same time.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby MrConor » Sun May 08, 2011 1:09 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:You could always do away with the House of Lords and introduce a senate that uses proportional representation. That way the views of the country could be better represented while reforming the upper house of the parliament at the same time.


That's what I'd prefer. I think that both the Labour Party and the Conservatives would move to block it though.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Sun May 08, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

Why bother doing away with it? I love the idea of an elected 'Lord'!

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Mechanicus » Sun May 08, 2011 11:16 pm UTC

The thing is in Ireland is that the Constituency link is almost too strong. Many MPs (Or TDs as they're known) have been shown to spend a disproportionate amount of their time doing constituency work and their is the perennial slander of politician's attending random people's funerals for votes. But this is partially an engrained culture and a result of the appalling lack of both awareness of and power in Local Politics. I mention it only to assuage your fears about keeping a Constituency link with a P.R. system. In fact if anything STV is much better at giving you a Constituency link in that there's usually a high probability of their being at least one MP in your Constituency (e.g. there might be one Liberal Democrat and two Tories in a particular one) whom you actually voted for (or at least to whom you gave a second preference). At present STV is actually the choice system of the Electoral Reform Society and the Liberal Democrats.
There also seems to be a link between excessive time spent on constituency issues and having competition from within your party for the seat, though it could be (like you say) that this is a minor problem exacerbated by Ireland's political culture. I would prefer reweighted range voting myself, but I suspect there are unforeseen problems with that too.

You could always do away with the House of Lords and introduce a senate that uses proportional representation. That way the views of the country could be better represented while reforming the upper house of the parliament at the same time.
I don't think it's likely to happen. Both main parties are heavily divided about House of Lords reform and Cameron's said he's not going to let it loom over his legislative agenda taking up valuable time for bread and butter issues for at least the next two years (which is what it would take, at the least). The draft bill - which Lib Dems predicted pre-election would be ready within six weeks - was later predicted to take six months to draft, and has been delayed and delayed for ages and is supposed to be published later this month over a year after the election. Then pre-legislative scrutiny by parliamentary committee (which can drag it out for the rest of the session easily) and then a protracted battle for a full year-long session as the details are hammered out in the normal stages of a bill.

Personally, I quite like the House of Lords though it does need procedural and appointments reform.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Joeldi » Mon May 09, 2011 6:57 am UTC

Well, it's a shame the vote turned out the way it did. I'm no expert, but I generally think anything is better than FPTP, and I like Australia's system.

With the two houses, it strikes a pretty good balance between local representation and proportional representation, but at least in my area, the local MP doesn't really seem to do much. However, the four lower house independents are a godsend to their electorates (even if Bob Katter is off his nut), so I don't think it's the system's fault so much as the country's.

In the lower house, where laws/budgets/whatever are usually proposed, we've got local representation worked out preferentially, and only one MP per electorate. This usually means someone from the two major parties, apart from the three ex-nationals who've held their seats for generations. After the last federal election, though, there was a bit of an upset, and change might be on the wind.
(Using PR however, the Greens would have had ~14 lower house seats rather than 1)

Anyway, the upper house uses something like PR within a state, and a lot more minor party representatives get in. Upper house mainly has veto power over lower house proposals.

Apparently we've had this system since almost federation, and I didn't realise the UK was still using FPTP until the other day. I'll have to look up why Australia made the change.
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 09, 2011 9:38 am UTC

the results to this vote were pretty much the killing blow for any national pride i had left, i could have lived with a ~60/40 split, but ~70/30 is just heartbreaking, over two thirds of people, in almsot every region, actively believe our current system is better than AV was going to be? screw this country

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 09, 2011 10:08 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:the results to this vote were pretty much the killing blow for any national pride i had left, i could have lived with a ~60/40 split, but ~70/30 is just heartbreaking, over two thirds of people, in almsot every region, actively believe our current system is better than AV was going to be? screw this country

Isn't the more fair reading that people were not convinced that the new system would be better? People know the current system, how it works out in practice, how policy outcomes result from votes, they know who gets into power through it, parties and politicians are skilled at working in this system, etc.

They do not know how the new system will work out. Newspapers have been publishing analysis articles with pretty much every permutation of "AV will benefit/hurt the LibDems/the BNP/big parties/Greens/new parties". Presumably, AV would also have changed the existing parties internally, moving their stance in reactions to the new situation. It would have been a bit of a gamble how AV would have affected the next elections, or politics over the next decade. What if AV means a shift in politics such that your favourite policies are no longer on the table?

If you want to convince people to change something as big as the election system, you have to do more than convince them that the new system is probably a bit better. You have to convince them that it is probably so much better that it is worth the uncertainty about how it will work out in pratice.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 09, 2011 10:28 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:the results to this vote were pretty much the killing blow for any national pride i had left, i could have lived with a ~60/40 split, but ~70/30 is just heartbreaking, over two thirds of people, in almsot every region, actively believe our current system is better than AV was going to be? screw this country

Isn't the more fair reading that people were not convinced that the new system would be better? People know the current system, how it works out in practice, how policy outcomes result from votes, they know who gets into power through it, parties and politicians are skilled at working in this system, etc.

They do not know how the new system will work out. Newspapers have been publishing analysis articles with pretty much every permutation of "AV will benefit/hurt the LibDems/the BNP/big parties/Greens/new parties". Presumably, AV would also have changed the existing parties internally, moving their stance in reactions to the new situation. It would have been a bit of a gamble how AV would have affected the next elections, or politics over the next decade. What if AV means a shift in politics such that your favourite policies are no longer on the table?

If you want to convince people to change something as big as the election system, you have to do more than convince them that the new system is probably a bit better. You have to convince them that it is probably so much better that it is worth the uncertainty about how it will work out in pratice.


no, of course, no one knows how the new system would have worked out, but it kind of sickens me that as a nation 70% of people that cared enough to vote were either ignorant of the way the new system would work, or too scared to vote yes to "give it a go". the information on how the system worked was freely available, posted through everyones doors, and all over the internet, but the scaremongering "No" campaign just won out in the end.

If we changed to AV and it clearly didn't work out, it would have been very little effort to change the system back, (and it would have probably happened in only a few years,) or change to another system altogether, but the fact that it's been voted against so fervently, it's going to be a long time before this or any other system is even considered again, let alone put to the vote,

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 09, 2011 10:57 am UTC

Why this assumption that only fear and ignorance can be reasons to disagree with you?

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon May 09, 2011 11:01 am UTC

Because that's what the no people campaigned on.
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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 09, 2011 11:35 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Because that's what the no people campaigned on.


exactly, i wouldn't have said it if it wasn't true, the main points of the "No" campaign were disinformation, and encouraging the status quo, by instilling a fear in change, there was also a large point about the fact that only a handful of countries use the Instant Runoff system, which again is encouraging the fear of the unknown, implying that just because something is new and not widely used, that inherently makes it bad or wrong.
then there was the part of their campaign where they said that unpopular parties like the BNP (a very right wing party) would be more sucessful with IRV, which is just Bullcrap to be honest, because there is no way that they'd ever get 50% of the vote even with peoples second or third choices, but people believed it.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 09, 2011 11:42 am UTC

Yes, it's up to the party that wants to change things to show how the new system works and why people should want it. The people already know the existing system, it doesn't need explaining. Referenda are by their nature conservative things: opponents to a change only have to mumble about risks, proponents of a change have to do the explaining. If you want to change something through a referendum, you'd better make sure the change is very popular.

That's the point in a situation like this: to make sure that the electoral system does not get changed just because the parties currently in power want to change it. Changes to the electoral system should have broad support, or they should not be done.

Sure, it sucks if your preferred choice is not popular. But it's not up to your opponents to change their ways to help you, it;s up to you do change people's minds.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby MrConor » Mon May 09, 2011 12:00 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:the results to this vote were pretty much the killing blow for any national pride i had left, i could have lived with a ~60/40 split, but ~70/30 is just heartbreaking, over two thirds of people, in almsot every region, actively believe our current system is better than AV was going to be? screw this country


Only four out of ten people voted in the referendum, so only 29% of the registered voting population actually voted in favour of FPTP. Apathy was the real winner, as it so often is.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 09, 2011 12:12 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Yes, it's up to the party that wants to change things to show how the new system works and why people should want it. The people already know the existing system, it doesn't need explaining. Referenda are by their nature conservative things: opponents to a change only have to mumble about risks, proponents of a change have to do the explaining. If you want to change something through a referendum, you'd better make sure the change is very popular.

That's the point in a situation like this: to make sure that the electoral system does not get changed just because the parties currently in power want to change it. Changes to the electoral system should have broad support, or they should not be done.

Sure, it sucks if your preferred choice is not popular. But it's not up to your opponents to change their ways to help you, it;s up to you do change people's minds.



you raise some good points, but i think it's a lot easier said than done, turning the tide of the vote would have meant changing the minds of 20% of the ~20 million people that voted, or made 8 million people that didn't vote for anything show up and vote Yes, i think either would be an amazing feat, but practically impossible, there was just too much opposition to the AV referendum, and it would have taken a miracle to change the result.
in all i think the referendum was rushed, there was simply not enough time to get people comfortable with the idea of changing the system, and the fact it was such a landslide victory for "no" is going to hurt any chances of a similar referendum in future, i think these 2 facts are really what i am so upset about, not so much the fact that my choice lost, but the fact that it lost by so much, and it's going to take a lot to get any government interested in changing the system in the future.

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon May 09, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

MrConor wrote:Only four out of ten people voted in the referendum, so only 29% of the registered voting population actually voted in favour of FPTP. Apathy was the real winner, as it so often is.


This. Although once I actually got into the voting booth and saw the way the question was worded I can understand why people didn't bother to come out. We really should follow Germany's (and I expect other country's) example and start to hold elections on a weekend. Then at least most people can't use work as an excuse not to vote and there's no more trouble staying up all night to watch the coverage. Is there any reason other than tradition that we hold them on a Thursday?

AvatarIII wrote:in all i think the referendum was rushed, there was simply not enough time to get people comfortable with the idea of changing the system, and the fact it was such a landslide victory for "no" is going to hurt any chances of a similar referendum in future, i think these 2 facts are really what i am so upset about, not so much the fact that my choice lost, but the fact that it lost by so much, and it's going to take a lot to get any government interested in changing the system in the future.


This is why I was thoroughly disappointed in Nick Clegg's response after the vote. He said something along the lines of "The electorate has spoken, and we must listen that they don't want any change", while looking like he was about to cry. He could of at least taken some pride in even getting the referendum to happen. Considering neither Tories or Labour wanted one that's still an achievement, even if a small one!

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby AvatarIII » Mon May 09, 2011 1:32 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:Considering neither Tories or Labour wanted one that's still an achievement, even if a small one!


Ed Miliband was all for Yes, he said multiple times he was going to vote "Yes"
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... Clegg.html
http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2010/1 ... tive-vote/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13278050

if labour as a whole really didn't want the referendum, i doubt they would have let their leader go on about voting yes during it, would they?

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Re: UK AV Referendum

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon May 09, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

Well I went and checked and apparently Labour did have a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum, so I stand corrected on that front. Ed Milliband may have been going to vote yes but his MPs were roughly split 50/50. However that is beside the point - which is that even bringing the commons round to the idea of holding a referendum in the first place took an awfully long time and an awful lot of work. Blair/Brown failed to make any significant electoral reforms despite a decade in power.


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