Thursday, May 05, 2011

AV: “The most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”


Winston Churchill is not quoted in the title of this post because he is the source of all wisdom or the fount of all knowledge, but because on this matter he happened to be quite right. If you want a Parliament full of Nick Cleggs and David Milibands, vote AV. After 2015, the Conservatives would only win by appealing for UKIP votes in one constituency and LibDem votes in another. The schizophrenia would turn every party into a LibDem Party (as if they’re not heading that way already). Never again would the Conservative Party be led by such reformers as Disraeli, Churchill or Thatcher, since such divisive characters would be unlikely to garner enough second-preference votes to make it to Parliament in the first place. Only ‘moderate’ or ‘broad appeal’ candidates could make it, and so an eternity of Heaths and Blairs awaits us. Westminster would be cleansed of ‘characters’ of humour, wit and charm, like Widdecombe, Benn, Livingstone and Abbott. You may loathe them and everything they stand for, but FPTP paints an inspirational splash of vibrant and engaging colours; AV would competently deliver a narrow spectrum of bland uniformity: the rebellious and independently-minded would be supplanted by compliant clones.

If you had aspirations to Parliament, but happened to be a Christian, pro-life euro-sceptic and denier of man-made global warming, you’d have no chance. To second-preference voters, facilitated by a hostile media, you would be a bigoted religious nutter; a misogynist, sexist and extremist little-Englander. Those who win under AV are those who can be all things to all people: the Liberal Democrat type, who say whatever they need to say to win wherever they need to win by opposing whatever they need to oppose and supporting whatever they need to support, irrespective of philosophy, doctrine or principle. They deceive the people by promising heaven on earth, and when elected plead impotence that they cannot fulfil their promises. And while they climb the greasy pole, it is the electorate who are left in purgatory.

By all means, let us have the debate about electoral reform. But let us also have a referendum which is worth having and which the people want. Whichever party grants us that will be the one who triumphs at the next general election.

63 Comments:

Anonymous MrJ said...

Glad to have seen this before going off to X "NO to AV".

5 May 2011 at 09:40  
Blogger English Viking said...

No to MP's.

5 May 2011 at 09:42  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

Another good article, your Grace.

Why would someone who leaned towards the conservative side of politics vote yes on this ballot?

5 May 2011 at 09:58  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

English Viking, you talk the most sense. However, I reckon No to Political Parties would actually be better.

Cranmer you talketh bollox again!

"Let us have a referendum which is worth having"

There are other referendums worth having, but what's the point of asking for something which isn't on the menu! The referendum we've got is the one we've got. If you don't like it, don't take part in it - no-one's forcing you to.

"If you had aspirations to Parliament, but happened to be a Christian, pro-life euro-sceptic and denier of man-made global warming, you’d have no chance."

Hello!!! You are aware that's what happens NOW! The parties choose their candidates ... and if Dave doesn't what pro-life, Euro-sceptic Christians he won't select them (as he's already proven). I reckon the electorate would go for them in a big way.

"AV would competently deliver a narrow spectrum of bland uniformity"

What, like all the bland Australian politicians?!! And lets get this clear ... you believe what we have at the moment is an eclectic mix of independently minded mavericks. Get real. You toe the party line or you're out. [Boris Johnson & Denis Skinner & Lempit O-what-a-prick are the only none clones I can think of].

5 May 2011 at 09:59  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 May 2011 at 10:07  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

A post full of conjecture but short on one very important thing - FACTS!

Let's just remind ourselves of a few of those FACTS (i.e. not conjecture about likely outcomes, not fear-mongering, not prejudices)

>None of the political parties use FPTP for their elections. Labour & the Conservatives use systems almost identical to AV (So any future Disraeli, Churchill or Thatcher would have already had to have gone through AV to get to their position)

>The CofE uses AV and is fully endorsing it

>The selection to the House of Lords hereditary peers was conducted using a system almost identical to AV

>Australia (AV) has had less hung parliaments than the UK. And Canada (FPTP) has consistently had hung parliaments.

>Scripture does not endorse any particular voting system. However there are helpful examples which show final selections being between just 2 candidates - something that AV does but FPTP doesn't.

>No new democracy chooses FPTP (including those within our own national dominion - Wales, Scotland, London Mayor) but rather preferential voting systems

>The majority of our MP's now have less than 1/3rd of their constituents vote for them.

>There are plenty of examples of countries changing from FPTP to preferential voting systems. NO country ever chooses to abandon preferential voting for FPTP (one country did, but quickly swapped back again).

>In AV, everyone's can have their votes counted in every round, meaning everyone can have a say in the outcome. Under FPTP, 70% of the votes were futile and didn't affect the outcome of the election at all.

The no to AV campaign says that AV is as complicated as a rubics cube. I don't think it is. They say Britain can't afford this level of democracy, I think it can.

5 May 2011 at 10:14  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

Let's not forget(and I'm an Anglican.) that we can't be sure the current CofE hierarchy fully endores Christianity. There is a great mess, they're tragically not the place we should look for guidance right now.

Most new 'democracies' are set up upon Jacobin or Benthamite principles and not the best principles of England's constitutional history.

Australia should be no model for traditionally conservative Brits, particularly Christian ones. I should know, I temporarily reside there. There is less chance of a truly Christian, socially conservative government being formed here than there is in Britain.

5 May 2011 at 10:23  
Blogger Jim McLean at Acoustic Village said...

We can but pray for the right result of a NO vote. I fear, however, that the majority of voters have already been tainted for the last 15 years by apathy, MTV and Media Obsessed politics, to even consider that politics can be more than a career for some and are too used to blandness in the parties to think there could be anything different.

5 May 2011 at 10:24  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Westcountryman,

I'll stick to facts if that's ok. You & Cranmer can keep expressing your opinions & conjecture if you want. Most of your fears have PROVEN to be unfounded in reality.

AV will only really deliver a few constituencies.

The most often repeated commandment in scripture - "Do not fear". Do not fear this very moderate change

5 May 2011 at 10:46  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 May 2011 at 10:48  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

What use were the facts you expressed, like Australia's electoral history, without context?

Will the Lib dems and Labour be the major beneficiaries from this move for the foreseeable future?

5 May 2011 at 10:49  
Anonymous John Strafford said...

Your Grace,
On 22nd May 2009 Winston Churchill commented on First Past The Post as follows:
"I think,"
said Mr. Churchill, "the present system has clearly broken down. The
results produced are not fair to any party, nor to any section of the community. In many cases they do not secure majority representation, nor do they secure an intelligent representation of minorities. All they secure is fluke representation, freak representation, capricious
representation."

5 May 2011 at 10:51  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Parliament exists only to present an appearance of accountable government as power is handed to Europe, so our democracy is a sick joke whichever system is used to elect MPs. I shall not be voting today; I’ve got better things to do than participate in a charade.

5 May 2011 at 10:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mt John Strafford,

Churchill ratted and re-ratted on many causes, and compromised more than a few of his principles. But, as His Grace said, the great man is not quoted here as the source of all wisdom and the fount of all knowledge: on this issue, he happened to be right (notwithstanding the undoubted flaws in FPTP).

As the guardian of internal Conservative Party democracy leading an organisation founded upon the principle of one-person-one-vote, you must see the irony of your support for a system which permits the votes of those who support losing parties to be counted again, again and again. One person three votes?

5 May 2011 at 11:06  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@John Stafford ... thank you for that most informative quote.

Cranmer said ... "you must see the irony of your support for a system which permits the votes of those who support losing parties to be counted again, again and again. One person three votes?

You surely must know that this is not true.

Every person gets to vote in each round (if they have chosen to). It's not just the votes of those who are eliminated who get counted afresh - everybodies does. It's like the trinity(!) one vote, many preferences. Your 1st preference gets counted every time if you are backing the winning candidate.

Would you be so gracious as to tell us if you believe that Instant Run-off elections (i.e. those the Conservative choose to use) give members are having their votes counted again and again and again?

5 May 2011 at 11:16  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

‘But let us also have a referendum which is worth having and which the people want. Whichever party grants us that will be the one who triumphs at the next general election.’

If AV comes in, then like the once mighty Royal Navy, we’ll be in the knacker’s yard.

5 May 2011 at 11:20  
Anonymous bluedog said...

His Grace has it right.

AV leads to horse-trading both before and after the election. If you believe that government should be formed by popular mandate, FPTP simply must be best. The curse of awarding preferences is removed. No serious political party would want to hand its future to a cluster of fringe parties, which is what potentially happens in the case of AV.

Another significant weakness of AV manifests itself in the tally room. Because of the complexity of the voting slips the matter of defining the voter's intention becomes paramount. Deciding what mark has been made against what name or party becomes critical to the electoral outcome. That is why it takes up to a fortnight and numerous recounts to determine the result of an Australian election. Australian electorates tend to be smaller (60k) than UK electorates (up to 100k).

It not hard to imagine the problems of say, two recounts in an electorate of 100k. Mr Rebel Saint, if you have ever scrutineered you would dread the thought.

Be careful what you wish for.

5 May 2011 at 11:38  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@bluedog ... "No serious political party would want to hand its future to a cluster of fringe parties, which is what potentially happens in the case of AV"

Fringe parties will find it harder to get elected under AV. FACT.

If speed of counting is an essential democratic principle then FPTP with restricted suffrage is the choice for you! Maybe even dictatorship ... save the bother of counting at all! However if fairness of representation is important, speed of counting becomes secondary. You conveniently give the very worst case scenarios of course. In reality, counts don't take that much longer.

5 May 2011 at 11:44  
Anonymous toryboysnevergrowup said...

I just don't think you are right on your central premise. In order to be elected under AV candidates would have to appeal beyond their normal party constituencies, and my guess is that it is only those which are distinctive and something personal to say who will be able to do so.

You rightly point to the trend in all parties to put forward homogenised clones - but then conveniently ignore the fact that this has been happening under FPTP.

5 May 2011 at 12:14  
Anonymous Gareth said...

I am proud to have voted NO TO AV this morning. Why would we want an expensive and time-consuming change which will return the same candidate as FPTP in 90+ percent of consituencies?

5 May 2011 at 12:19  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

English Viking said...
"No to MP's"

I agree. Bring back the Divine Right of Kings, guided by Ministers and counselled by the Church.

Just think of the money we'd save and our christian heritage would be guarded.

5 May 2011 at 12:29  
Anonymous Kiwi said...

@ Rebel Saint, ">Australia (AV) has had less hung parliaments than the UK. And Canada (FPTP) has consistently had hung parliaments."
Just an observation, voting in Australia is compulsory, not so in Canada.

5 May 2011 at 12:33  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Gareth said...
"Why would we want an expensive and time-consuming change which will return the same candidate as FPTP in 90+ percent of consituencies?"

Whilst I voted NO to AV, prefering PR, it is worthy of note that actually 60 plus seats are very significant and probably decisive in our FPTP system given the characturistics of the constituencies.

All Governments since the war have secured majorities in the House of Commons whilst achieving less than 50% of the popular vote.

2010 Conservatives achieve 36% of vote and 307 seats in Commons - overall minority;
2005 Labour achieve 35% of vote and 356 seats in Commons - overall majority;
2001 Labour receive 40% of vote and 413 seats - a 'landslide';
1997 Labour get 43% of vote and 328seats in Commons;
1991 Conservatives get 336 seats with 42% of the vote.

Even the 'landslide' to Labour in 1945 of 393 Common's seats was based on 48% of the popular vote.

Give or take 60 seats and you would have had different governments or coalitions.

More democratic? Certainly weaker government and less clear acountability too.

Tough choice today and the outcome will be critical for our future democracy.

5 May 2011 at 12:46  
Anonymous tory boys never grow up said...

Last Dodo

I think that you forget that that the dissenting Christian heritage was pretty much to fore in the struggle to establish democracy within the UK.

5 May 2011 at 12:48  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Rebel Saint @ 11.44, I make no apology for giving the worst case examples. The electoral system system must be absolutely robust and transparent. It is true to say that Murphy's law applies, and it is essential that the electorate retains confidence in the integrity of the process.

Consider another real life scenario, which like those above is drawn from real life.

The electoral commission staff tend to be drawn from a left leaning demographic. It follows that when assessing the validity and eligibilty of marks on voting slips they may tend to favour left of centre parties. Because of the complexity of voting slips under AV, it is easiest to group slips of a certain voting pattern together in bundles. This gives rise to bundle stuffing, whereby non-conforming slips are stuffed into bundles that favour a certain outcome. This activity is either malign or a function of inertia due to the staff being too tired or lazy to be more thorough. The process of bundle stuffing tends to favour left of centre parties.

You say that fringe parties will find it harder to get elected, and this may or may not be true. But what is certainly true is that exchanging preferences takes on great importance. So let's return to my earlier remark, "No serious political party would want to hand its future to a cluster of fringe parties, which is what potentially happens in the case of AV".

Consider an election with a likely exchange of preferences between say the Conservatives, the Lib-Dems and UKIP. Only the Conservatives have any chance of winning power in their own right. UKIP will naturally preference the Conservatives, but not necessarily vice versa. The Lib-Dem rank and file will probably ppreference Labour. The Conservative Party per se and the Lib-Dem party per se would probably instruct exchange preferences to ensure a continued Coalition. Many Conservative voters would probably ignore head office and preference UKIP. So you can see a situation developing where the Conservatives may be able to win office on the back of UKIP first preferences whilst remaining in coalition with the Lib-Dems. Which group of voters would be satisfied with that outcome?

The combinations and permutations are nearly infinite and quite what the policies would be in the example above is a matter of conjecture.

One can only repeat His Grace's insight on AV, its all to do with horse trading, in smoke-filled rooms. Your vote simply facilitates the dealing.

5 May 2011 at 12:53  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 May 2011 at 12:58  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

tory boys never grow up said...
"Last Dodo
I think that you forget that that the dissenting Christian heritage was pretty much to fore in the struggle to establish democracy within the UK."

Not forgotten at all. We sowed the wind of rebellious protestant individualism and are now reaping the hurricane

5 May 2011 at 13:02  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@bluedog ...

Like I said, even if the worst case scenario means that the average count time went from 8hrs to 2 weeks, I wouldn't care. The time it takes to count the result doesn't even register on my radar of democratic principles.

On the fact that you think that a system is open to abuse. Then we must be more robust in our procedures. I'm much more concerned about postal votes under FPTP (which judges have equated with those in a banana republic) than about things happening at the actual count where they can at least be scrutinised. [I think we all suspect that BNP votes are routinely find themselves 'miscounted' or inadvertently in the spoiled pile]

As for your accusation that AV will result in "horse trading, in smoke-filled rooms." I really do wonder what you think happens now? I wish I had such idealistic notions of government as you do.

It also based on lots of false premises (a) that AV will automatically produce hung parliaments. Pure conjecture. Evidence is that it won't (b) that hung parliaments don't happen under FPTP. They do. And will do increasingly as the % votes cast for Lab/Con diminishes. (c) That coalition is a bad thing,when clearly it isn't. Can you tell me what is so radically different about this coalition government than any other over the last 30 years?

5 May 2011 at 13:09  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

I fear Your Grace is suffering from a severe case of Cameronitis.

The latest 'No to AV' leaflet through the letterbox suggests without a shred of evidence that "AV would lead to more hung parliaments, backroom deals and broken promises" over a picture of Clegg entering No 10 and propaganda that Dr. Goebbels would have been proud of.

Toryism at its worst. VOTE AV.

5 May 2011 at 13:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone been to the ballot box yet? I'm wondering whether we'll get an alternative vote-style vote on the alternative vote... i.e. can I put 'no' as my first choice and 'yes' as my second?

5 May 2011 at 13:33  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@AncientBriton...

You will notice that in Cranmer's latest 2 "No2AV" articles, and in the subsequent comments, facts are very thin on the ground from the FPTP brigade.

Their whole line of "reasoning" is based on what they think might happen - even when the copious quantities of real life evidence suggests otherwise.

There are 2 groups of people who are voting No (a) the over 60's who are resistant to any change simply because it's change (similar to most CofE congregations) (b) Tories or politicians from other parties who fear they might also be adversely affected (often a misguided fear).

They have no democratic principles. We should pity them. Such irrational fears mean they will fail to grasp the wonderful opportunities that await them.

5 May 2011 at 13:45  
Anonymous George Anderton said...

All you need to do is ask yourself which political party is it that wholeheartedly wants AV. They know that it will result in them holding the balance of power in a perpetual coalition government. If you are a LibDem vote yes. If you have any sense vote NO.

5 May 2011 at 14:00  
Anonymous Sussex Man said...

Having lived in the Netherlands (which has PR), those who believe that the political establishment are less empowered are sadly mistaken.....

Under both AV and PR you get not the Government you voted for, but grubby deals between parties that are generally unstable- take Balkenende Government MK I II III IV-each never seeing a full term and in most cases the Government collapsing from a Party that gets something in the region of 5-15% of the vote.....thats "democracy" under PR

Currently in Australia, the country is held hostage to fortune from the two Independant MP's, they can at anytime pull the plug on the Government, yet they represent less than 1% of the electorate.

Imagine a coalition of Conservative/UKIP/DUP? or Labour/Lib/Scottish Nationalists/Greens or even in theory Conservatives/Labour to keep the minor parties out?

Judging by the recent history of the Fib Dems-they failed to work with Labour in the 1970's and are failing now......do we really want to be held hostage to fortune by parties that poll just 10%?

5 May 2011 at 14:09  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

1: I lament the end of smoke-filled rooms -- by whatever system of voting. Smoking in the work place is now illegal, so the S-FR is no more.

2: I performed a fine compromise when I voted earlier today, selecting NO to AV, but then putting the ballot paper in the wrong box. Duh!

3: The difficulties in principle of choosing between AV and FPTP are not easy to exaggerate: Cameron says NO and Clegg says YES. So what's a chap to do?

4: No government elected in this country, by whatever means, will make the slightest difference. The politicians are all left-liberals, whose differences are slight. The only appeal is to tribally-committed party loyalists. Our real government is in Brussels, unelected and unelectable. We are merely fiddling about with a system for choosing our local managers.

5 May 2011 at 14:19  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Anabaptist

Spot on!

And couldn't help but LOL at your unintentional compromise!

5 May 2011 at 14:24  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The lies of the hysterical Yes campaign exposed:

- AV will make MPs work harder - it won't
- AV would have prevented the expenses scandal - it wouldn't
- AV will end safe seats - it won't
- AV was used for the Tory leadership election - it wasn't
- AV gives everybody's vote equal weight - it doesn't
- AV is fairer - it is not

(From ConHome)

Vote No and be a part of defending our democracy.

5 May 2011 at 14:40  
Anonymous John Thomas said...

"No to MPs". I have long thought that MPs as we have them are an anachronism. Centuries ago, when they originated, it needed several weeks' journay to get to Westminster; you simply had to have a representative there. Today, all of us can tweet or email our votes on anything and everything in an instant. My MP represents my views/values in no respect whatever, neither did his predecessor (he was of another party). We don't need them in any way. Administrators, yes, but not MPs.

5 May 2011 at 15:29  
Anonymous berserker-nkl said...

Here's a light-hearted break in all these discussions.

WE think we've got problems!

I bet our Queen thanks God each day that she doesn't live in plucky little Belgium. This PR system of government is constantly holding elections and then are unable to form a coalition. It holds the recent world record for not being able to form a government.

So their King stops (bans) an election taking place until the various parties come to their senses. Would our own dear Queen love this prerogative? A plague on all your houses, peasants!

Can one foresee the same problem happening in the UK?

Over time, yes.

Belgium is split between The Flemish North and the Francophone (Wallonia - not a Marx Brother in sight) South.

Now the wealth is largely created by the Flemish North. But to add to voting confusion there is Flemish Liberal Party and a Francophone Liberal Party and the same goes for all the other Parties so you have double the number of all choices. The mind boggles

So if the UK had a separatist Wessex - our wealth and job creation comes from the South East and South so lets dispense with the other regions of the UK - let's draw a line from King's Lynn to Chepstow and bugger the rest. So the first promise i would make as a prospective Wessex candidate is 'get out of the EU'

5 May 2011 at 16:02  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@John Thomas ..

Welcome to the world of Direct democracy. There's not many of us. It's lonely being an early adopter, so far ahead of the crowd!

Here's some places to visit:

DemoEx
Interactive Democracy
Peter Shields

5 May 2011 at 16:05  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

I fancy a bit of that AV myself, the prospect of voting for a first, second and third appeals to me.

1st Lib
2nd Lab
3rd Con

We all deserve a Lib/Lab/Con/Job

5 May 2011 at 17:44  
Blogger Gregg said...

I began supporting AV, but ironically it was receiving daily email bulletins from the Yes campaign that persuaded me how bad it is.

I have asked the Yes people to explain their more outrageous claims, but their silence is deafening.

Why do they claim that the expenses scandal wouldn't have happened with AV? Are they saying greedy, corrupt people are autmatically detected by some magic in AV?

No seats for life under AV? Gerald Kaufman usually gets over 50% of the vote so would still have a seat for life under AV.

No more tactical voting? AV epitomises tactical voting with candidates battling for second preference votes. Or do hey call tactical voting something different under AV?

It is a sham and the gullible and naive have fallen for it. I even heard one fool claiming today that AV was the best form of PR we will get. He obviously understands neither AV nor PR.

Great post by the way.

5 May 2011 at 17:54  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

All this heat and what for?

We all know the main parties are 'coalitions' of 'left' and 'right' these days and are increasingly electing the bland, inoffensive leaders that some predict under AV.

Parliamentary candidates are all neat little clones too. Business men and women, professional politicians with polished presentation skills.

Blair, Cameron and Clegg are the modern manifestation of this and even Miliband has a 'smooth operator' style about him.

AV, PR or FPTP - what major difference will it really make? Perhaps a difference in emphasis, but nothing of real substance.

5 May 2011 at 18:43  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

BITB 5 May 2011 17:44

Simple yet brilliantly expounded, my boy.

Ernst

5 May 2011 at 19:43  
Blogger James Reade said...

Pure scaremongering and idle speculation.

I voted YES and I'm very pleased I did to counter people like Cranmer.

I'm also an Evangelical Christian, and I certainly don't buy the unfounded, complete and utter tosh written here.

It's just a shame the scaremongering and deception of people like Cranmer has won out, meaning for a generation the opportunity to enact some worthwhile change that might enable our electoral system to better represent our preferences has been lost.

5 May 2011 at 20:32  
Blogger Tim Chesterton said...

I live in Canada, which had an election on Monday.

In Alberta, where I live, the Conservatives got 66% of the votes and got 96% of the seats.

In Saskatchewan, the NDP got 32% of the votes but got no seats at all.

I am a left of centre voter in a Conservative province (Alberta). I know that whoever I vote for (Liberal, NDP and Green where my three choices), the Tory will win. For the last 11 years I have basically wasted my vote - my vote has not sent anyone to Parliament.

I'm not sure how this can be fixed, but it needs fixing. I'd vote for PR or AV tomorrow if we had the option here.

5 May 2011 at 21:23  
Blogger Tim Chesterton said...

By the way, with regard to an earlier comment, Canada has had a few minority governments (what I think you Britishers call a 'hung parliament') in the last few years. This is because there has been a strong separatist party in Quebec which has cornered the majority of the vote there, making it very difficult for either the Conservatives or the Liberals to get enough votes in TROC (The Rest of Canada) to get an overall majority. The Tories won a majority on Monday night because the separatist party collapsed.

Just a little background. Personally I liked the minority government - (both when it was Liberal and when it was Conservative) - it meant that there were some checks and balances in place. But then, personally, I think politics is the art of compromise and no one political ideology is likely to get everything right.

5 May 2011 at 21:27  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Tim Chesterton ...

No point talking about your woes on here. Apparently the point of democracy is not "people power" - whatever it's etymological origins might tell you.

No, the point of democracy is to return conservative governments apparently, because it is they who "create and maintain a moral, good and free society". And the perfect democratic electoral system is one that brings about such a result.

What is more, I have been shocked to discover that even if you profess Christian faith - virtues such as justice, fairness & honesty are subservient to the virtue of weighting things in favour of a Conservative government.

So you really shouldn't complain. Rejoice that you live within such a system. God only knows what might happen if uninformed, ignorant people were governed by those that the majority actually wanted.

5 May 2011 at 21:43  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Rebel Saint @ 13.45, there is nothing to suggest that either AV or FPTP are preferable in avoiding a hung parliament. Both systems will deliver a hung Parliament. Its just that the AV system takes longer to do so and its complexity provides more scope for error and fraud. Think Occam's razor.

And yes there are always deals in smoke-filled rooms. Its just that under AV they start before the vote. For example, if AV prevails, it will be necessary to set a dead-line before election day for the announcement of preference exchanges between the parties. Otherwise the electorate is voting in the dark and the validity of the election is open to court challenge.

How much complexity do you want?

Interesting to see that Ian Cowie in the DT is running an article based on an idea floated by this communicant on this site some months ago, no representation without taxation.

No attribution for plagiarisation either.

5 May 2011 at 21:56  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Rebel Saint

You don't half talk some tosh, my boy.

Change Mr Chesterton's argument that he voted against the 3 major political parties in this area (East Ham) by choosing monster raving looney party, green, ukip.

How exactly would AV help him. His vote would ALWAYS be wasted by his choice.

You put £50 on a horse that has never ran 3 miles, hates soft ground, cannot jump hurdles let alone fences and cannot run around a left handed track, yet you expect your wager not to be wasted in the Cheltenham Gold Cup..HELLO.

Where is the fairness, honesty and justice.."even if you profess Christian faith" How on earth is this relevant.

And why should plenty of labour politicians support a system that is "subservient to the virtue of weighting things in favour of a Conservative government."

A foolish justification for your argument and how you mistakenly believe others perceive it.

Ernst. Fooled? As If!

5 May 2011 at 22:23  
Blogger Tim Chesterton said...

How on earth is horse racing relevant? This isn't about winning a race; it's about people being represented by the MPs they vote for. 16.91% of Alberta voters voted NDP on Monday but they only got 4% of the MPs from this province. It reminds me of the 'rotten boroughs' that you used to have in the UK, where people were elected by non-existent constituents. 30% of the Conservative MPs elected in Alberta on Monday were elected by non-existent constituents. Justice? True representation? I don't think so.

5 May 2011 at 22:49  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Dear Blofeld

Whilst I know FPTP devotees love their horse-racing analogies, they are wholly irrelevant & inadequate for describing elections. How can choosing a dish from a menu be compared to a race? FPTP is more like this Fawlty Towers sketch ... scroll through to 3:20 and enjoy.

If you cannot see the relevance of embedding fairness, honesty & justice into an electoral system then I despair.

I wasn't talking about the motivation of Labour politicians, I was talking about the apparent motivation of so many of the people who have commented on here (and Cranmer's article themselves). Rather than justifying their case from democratic principles or even Biblical principles, they have chosen to argue from a position of pure political expedience. And worse than that, it is political expedience based on nothing but pure conjecture that flies in the face of the masses of evidence.

FPTP is no longer fit for purpose. It used to be. But the world has kept turning and the political landscape is no longer what it was 50 years ago. New wine needs new wineskins.

5 May 2011 at 22:57  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

OK, alright already, you have me convinced.

AV would undoubtedly make a very bad situation even worse.

However surely the point is that it is just so incredibly bad, that it really does not matter if it does get worse.

Democracy as we are now becoming to know is a joke.

IMO, democracy was a joke many years before any of us where born, however Gordon Browns, and later David Camerons inability to deliver a promised referendum on The European Constitution was the straw that most surly should have permanently broken the camels back.

As it clearly did not, the I am left asking many questions, including these.

1. How many chances are you people prepared to give these crooks, before you finally wake up to your true reality?

2.How many more wars are these despotic criminals going to sign you up, and then present you the bill for, before you tell these vagabonds where to get off?

3.Is there no end to your mindless obedience to your self-proclaimed betters?

Answers.

1. As many as they want.

2. There is no limit, because the worse the government gets, the more frightened the people will be, and therefore will eventually say absolutely nothing at all.

3. No, absolutely no end at all.

5 May 2011 at 23:17  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Atlas ... you are incorrect about AV but correct about everything else.

There is only one hope and this man has the answer.

Alas, the great British sheeple are lemmings. But if we could somehow convince the 40% of people who've given up on voting to follow his advice it'd really throw a spanner in the works. I'll be following his advice for all future elections and maybe one day ...

5 May 2011 at 23:24  
Blogger English Viking said...

Rebel Saint,

I feel like the big guy outside the pub, trying, but ultimately failing, to stop a fight:

LEAVE IT: IT'S NOT WORTH IT!


Don't snivel in your beer. Fight for all you're worth.

5 May 2011 at 23:30  
Blogger Andy JS said...

SNP target list:
http://bit.ly/gzbgTU

Welsh Labour targets:
http://bit.ly/jmDVZk

Welsh Conservative targets:
http://bit.ly/jCzGO5

5 May 2011 at 23:59  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Tim Chesterton 5 May 2011 22:49

"How on earth is horse racing relevant? This isn't about winning a race" Have you never heard of a Combination Tricast.

'16.91% of Alberta voters voted NDP on Monday but they only got 4% of the MPs from this province'. The Tories won a majority on Monday night because the separatist party collapsed therefore 'NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE VOTED NDP'.

Because where you live, your horse choice's have no chance of winning or were you joking that your vote was wasted irrespective of your left of centre political ideology.

Then you must move to where your vote will NOT be wasted..

I.e. if you lived in East Ham in London, any other vote other than Labour is wasted, irrespective of AV and alternatively, if you hold your left/centre ideology then Richmond in North Yorkshire is a wasted vote other than Conservative. Is this too simplistic for you?

Rebel Saint

"If you cannot see the relevance of embedding fairness, honesty & justice into an electoral system then I despair.

" Look above and comprehend at my example's..Fairness, honesty and justice are an irrelevance when you cannot meet your criteria..AV would only ever swing into erratic results within marginal seats..How is that fair, honest or just.

Your dreams and hopes are not based on factual outcomes.
I am not saying the current situation is ideal but it's a fact what the outcomes would be and I would not give this political scum the chance to shaft me, based on what may or may not happen in the future.

AV is 'Tinkering' only at the periphery, my boy!

Ernst, my lad.

6 May 2011 at 00:35  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Isn't it exciting waiting watching late night TV to learn election results? Love it! And the referendum result tomorrow? Well that's an added little bonus.

Better than the Footbal World Cup, but not the Ashes series!

6 May 2011 at 00:36  
Anonymous not a machine said...

AV is political perguatory ! lol: interesting your grace , and I am grateful for your outline of how difficult it would be to stand on some true conservative ideas.

I would think after Lord ashdowns QT performance ,and a stiff drink , he thought he should have a blast at Conservatives in the times, whilst I perhaps can understand the Archbishop of Canterburys stance in speaking to those not on these shores, Lord Ashdown seemed rather keen on proper legal redress ,being ex SBS himself I would have thought a house raid which more than likely would be armed as soon as the helicopters arrived , he could have erred on the side of a hostile situation ,rather than assuming it was straightforward arrest. I would also point out that no warning or legal position was present for the 2500 or so civilians and emergency services that died in the few hours of 9/11 .He may also ponder if donated party money from a convicted fraudster should have had more legal gumption from within.

But to AV , if the contention is over voting machine cost,then that should have been batted away easy enough, the yes leaflets did not really go much beyond dairy fairy land and the official pamphlet was an introduction to a limp handshake ,that missed so much about all that is AV .The no campaign was a little visceral ,but that was perhaps only due to the yes campaign being so flowery in missing the facts ,that it was aimed at marginals and was not straightforward as 1,2,3.
Voting machines got through in scotland (not that the company who made/ran them was interesting if one had found out), whilst I dont think there is much argument about registering votes , I would think given I phones knowing you better without you knowing it ,app would raise some alarms about voting machines (yes they would make counting cost efficent as its complex with people counting). You would go to the machine place your card (with your details encoded on) and then place your vote , off course they would promise it is secure etc , but as we have seem numerous times , no data store is impossible not to access or steal .Could some sneaky council secretly get to know how you voted and then ensure ,your details were used for either special propganda or perhaps problems with the machine next time you voted .Perhaps a machine could quitely malfunction and place your vote in another place , or just forget enough of certain votes to ensure a comfortable win .

I would think voting machines are the least of the problems with the yes anger , as I hope the public would not to take too kindly at any party promoting further potential electoral fraud .

Will be up also , as this is an interesing election

6 May 2011 at 00:58  
Anonymous not a machine said...

mmm quite a lot to mull over so far , although the bit of the equation missing will be known later today.

I dont know if Liberalregretocrats quite does it justice ,but a bit of mid economic disaster flower arranging and new glade AV insert ,seems to be not what the public wanted. I am quietly pleased with how conservative vote is going despite SNP eurphoria trounce celebrations going in Glasgow.

Bit surprised by how long counts are taking , but as far as I can tell this is about low turnout drift in an unhappy economic mess. I think the Lib dems may also be paying ,not only for some impossible general election promises ,but for some of the drip drip public dissagreements ,indeed Huhnes unusual grandstand at cabinet ,may have cost them dear and perhaps some of vinces deft moves .Ed miliband not sharing AV platform was far more calculated I understood , as the bile from Labour has been pretty much non stop towards the libdems.

to claim council seats on the idea of betrayal of left ideas by the lib dems , will perhaps leave many voters wondering if they have done the right thing , as labour havent been honest about just how bad they have made the future required remedy .They have voted for the empty party to run there councils , and if those councils play the crying game (as we have seen in other labour councils) then they will enjoy all the politics labour will offer them .
The only options could be for the lib dems to get stuck into labour council spending or get torn apart and perhaps even decide if its time to pitch with a left or right party.

No doubt AV will be the big story and the SNP gains , Ed could also be in trouble , as most labour people I know were opposed to AV so hes not on firm ground either and could be suffering permamnent loss in scotland.

Feels like a few chickens comming home to roost to me for all the spin era, and bit schitsophrenic . I suspect it may boil beyond this as it may backlash on AV waste of time/money, which wont help the country.

I think eds tactics may have created future trouble for his party and the country but we knew that in 2009

6 May 2011 at 04:30  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Off to bed I think , and celebratory drink this evening Hopefully when AV result comes

6 May 2011 at 04:53  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Message to the 1,076 Eurocrats who log on here:

At 22.00 hrs the result of the referendum will be announced.

Have a nice days boys;)

6 May 2011 at 12:21  
Anonymous non mouse said...

btw ... on the "AV Vote" ... Why Are We Waiting? For postal votes, or what?

And - if a simple yes/no is so difficult to decipher, how could such computationally-challenged keepers of the ballot cope with AV?

6 May 2011 at 20:30  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Oh, I know. The sprauts are figuring out a way to make us vote again [in case the postals don't cut it]:))

6 May 2011 at 20:52  

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