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AV or not ?

(335 Posts)
theoldbrigade Wed 20-Apr-11 19:00:02

Thoughts please.

skaen Wed 20-Apr-11 19:17:32


skaen Wed 20-Apr-11 19:19:33

I think AV would be better than the current system where a few occupants of a very few seats hold the balance of power for the government. It would mean people had to work a bit harder to win which is a good thing.

GiddyPickle Thu 21-Apr-11 00:18:47

A no from me. It's not that different to the current system in terms of the outcome it produces. AV is not proportional - it is still a winner takes all system like the current one.
For example smaller parties still won't get seats and the final government won't be representative of how people voted. Going back 20 years, if we'd have AV, all of the General Election results would have been the same as they were under the current system. Other disadvantages are that it does not abolish safe seats. In a lot of areas MPs will not have to work harder at all and the party that has won there for the last 20 years will continue to win every time under AV as well.

If the choice was between keeping the current system or adopting Proportional Representation then that would be a proper choice but AV is a mere tweak or as Clegg said "a miserable little compromise"

LilyBolero Thu 21-Apr-11 00:20:12

NO from me.

madhattershouse Thu 21-Apr-11 00:20:20

YES!!! In many areas there are safe seats..AV would mean that in some of those your vote would actually count! Not in mine though..too safe waiting for real PR! Won't hold my breath though angry

madhattershouse Thu 21-Apr-11 00:22:09

I see the point Giddy but it is the first step..remember the order hates change. PR is the next step..we have to try this first!

annaquangel Thu 21-Apr-11 00:25:45


My fear is that if we say no to AV, that will be seen as a green light for the current system, which is demonstrably crap.

Any change is better than no change.

annaquangel Thu 21-Apr-11 00:27:33

Also I really want my views to be better represented. I will vote for the greenest candidates, in order of greenness. If we all vote like that, it'll be much clearer which policies are widely supported.

We could get a lot more women into parliament too.

MotherSnacker Thu 21-Apr-11 08:18:49

YES. The chance for reform might not come again. It is a step in the right direction.

meditrina Thu 21-Apr-11 08:22:01

Is AV the system which gave us Ed, not David, Miliband?

Chil1234 Thu 21-Apr-11 08:33:33

I'm in the 'no' camp. Disagree with the sentiment that 'it's better than nothing' and think the current system at least results in speedy transition of workable government.

GiddyPickle Thu 21-Apr-11 09:59:57

I wouldn't hold your breath for PR is AV is introduced. Australia have had AV for 90 years - still no sign of PR

And in this country the tradition is that once a YES vote wins in a referendum, the subject is not revisited again.

I am very unsure how you think AV may benefit women anna. At best there will be the same number of women candidates as now. At worst women candidates might not be chosen to stand anywhere where it could compromise the fight to win second choice votes (so a woman might not stand in a community with an elderly population if it was perceived that elderly voters from all parties generally expected to have a male MP and that a woman LibDem for example might make Labour voters cast their second vote elsewhere or not at all).

Under AV the key to winning is to be uncontroversial with broad appeal and nothing about you that people could object to. In this way all your traditional voters still support you but, in addition, you pick up a few second choice votes from people who don't totally agree with you but could be persuaded to give you a little support. In university towns this may advantage women candidates but in "traditional" areas perhaps not.

Niceguy2 Thu 21-Apr-11 12:33:13

Any change is better than no change.

I completely disagree with this. Sometimes the right thing to do is nothing. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

theoldbrigade Thu 21-Apr-11 12:52:29

I feel so ambivalent on this one which is not like me at all normally !
Have enjoyed reading these opinions - has made me think , I mean really think.
Have voted for one party all my life but never has that party been elected in any constituency in which I have lived. Am I bitter - damn right - but that is not the point is it ?
Still have an idealistic view that when push comes to shove we all want the same thing - stable government. May not agree but at least you know where they stand. I find coalitions a nightmare - manifestos go out the window and everything becomes a compromise and so diluted you are never sure what was promised in the first place .

jenny60 Thu 21-Apr-11 13:00:34

Yes. It is a miserable compromise but I fear that if the vote is lost any momentum for proper change will be lost too. It would be too easy for anti PR people to argue that if the country couldn't vote yes to AV, there is no point in even discussing PR.

DottyDot Thu 21-Apr-11 13:05:02

It's a no from me. Have just started to understand AV so let me know if I'm wrong on this, but doesn't it mean that potentially those who've voted in the most extreme way (e.g. BNP/Monster Raving Looney etc.etc.) could get their second choice votes counted, with equal weighting to everyone else's first choice?!

This seems quite barking mad, frankly...

Chil1234 Thu 21-Apr-11 13:18:16

Potentially, yes. But only if the first-place candidate didn't get >50% of the votes on the first round. Those who vote for the last-place candidate (who is eliminated) have their second choices taken into account. This keeps going until one candidate has 50%+

I agree 100% with theoldbrigade's fears on 'manifestos going out of the window'. Maybe not so much with AV but certainly PR. The result may be fairer and more representative on paper but even those who vote for the bigger parties don't get quite what they expected - as we've seen in the last year. PR is marketed as engaging more people in politics but I could see how a built-in post-election blurring of commitment would put more people off.

GiddyPickle Thu 21-Apr-11 13:20:08

DottyDot - yes that is exactly how AV works. Now whether this has any major bearing on the final result is debateable and dependent on the constituency you are talking about but your definition is correct. Greens and UKIP and BNP and all minor parties will get eliminated in the first rounds and will have their second votes added to the piles of the first choice parties to help determine the overall winner. All reallocated second or third vote have the same weighting as a first choice vote so in an area with a very large BNP or Green or UKIP minority, their voters could hold the balance of power as to who is the final winner.

An example that has been used as a rough guide:
* Labour gets 40% first choice votes. Everybody who votes Labour puts Lib Dem second
* Tories get 35% first choice votes. Everybody who votes Tory puts UKIP second
* UKIP gets 15% first choice votes. Everybody who votes UKIP puts Tory second
* LibDem gets 10% first choice votes. Everybody who votes Lib Dem puts either Labour or Tory second

So under the current system Labour would win
Under AV the Tories would win (they get 35% + 5% from LibDem second votes + 15% from UKIP second votes)
UKIP here are effectively the king makers – their voters have heavily influenced the final result
LibDem is the 1st or 2nd choice of 50% of people. Under the current system it loses. Under AV it loses as well

bemybebe Thu 21-Apr-11 13:23:36

No from me. Do not see the point.

DillyDaydreaming Thu 21-Apr-11 13:26:56

The fact that Nick Griffin is anti AV is enough to send me to the Yes please camp

theoldbrigade Thu 21-Apr-11 13:26:56

Think that is not quite right as there would be no obilgation to vote for more than one candidate if you so wished. By the law of averages the "idiot " fraternity would be ruled out PDQ !!

Chil1234 Thu 21-Apr-11 13:31:19

Nick Griffin still fondly believes his party can win under FPTP.... as Shakespeare put it 'the triumph of hope over experience'.

jenny60 Thu 21-Apr-11 13:49:21

Manifestos counting for little or nothing is a fact of life already, nothing to do with PR, AV or FPTP. What poltical party didn't dismantle theirs after being elected? Look at what we have now under FPTP. Tuition fees anyone?

GiddyPickle Thu 21-Apr-11 15:09:33

Tuition fees were a Labour policy to be greatly increased under the Tories but totally opposed by the LibDems.
Considering the LibDems came third after the other 2 parties - what do you expect? Basically about 65% of the population voted for tuition fees at the last election or, at worst, 65% failed to vote against tuition fees and instead voted for a party that said it would charge students.

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