Regarding the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum, May 2011, I would recommend that everyone looks closely at both systems, as I believe AV is being sold as something it isn’t.
First Past the Post (FPTP) is criticised for not being proportionate, but AV can be much worse. Using AV, in 1997 and 2005 Labour would have got even bigger majorities than under FPTP. In 1997 the majority would have been 245, not 179, 68 per cent of the seats with 43.2 per cent of the vote. In 2005 the majority would have been 108, not 66, 59 per cent of the seats with 35.2 per cent of the vote.
AV does not help small parties. The parties with fewest first preferences are eliminated first, so they have no more chance of winning seats than under FPTP. In addition, if for example, the Conservatives lose a seat because 2000 people voted UKIP, that is the sharpest political lesson. Under AV, the UKIP vote would probably go to the Conservatives as a later preference. Therefore, the effect of the UKIP first preference would be entirely wasted.
I support electoral reform - genuinely proportionate systems such as STV, AV plus or AMS could be really be transformative. However, we are not being offered a proportionate system.
AV does not solve any of the issues encountered with FPTP, but loses its key benefit - a clear simplicity. My tag line would be ‘AV - What is the point?’
Sunday, 3 April 2011
It's no to AV for me
Here is a letter that I had published in the Batley News on the 24th February 2011: