Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Party Political Broadcast

It seems awfully self-serving to have a vote about voting, but that's what we'll be doing in a few days time. And if you need some help sorting out your AV from your elbow, this might help:

Personally, I'm not sure I approve of AV but neither do I think a system in which more people can (and often do) vote against the winning candidate is particularly fair. Mind you, I also think you can have too much of a good thing, and mockracy's a pretty good example. I want to vote for someone who I know will do something, and who - if they don't - I can then vote out. I don't want a mass talking shop of people who like nothing better than the sound of their own voices in the council chamber, and who then constantly blame each other for what doesn't get done. Professional politicians (and I include in that number all those who might not draw salaries but do claim exorbitant expenses) shouldn't be paid by the likes of you and I to indulge themselves in their peculiar hobby. It's not voting that's at fault, it's who we're voting for.

Mind you, that's one thing I WILL most certainly be doing. Voting. Even if there's no-one and nothing worth voting for, I'll wander to the polling station and exercise my franchise. I'm too conscious of those who fought and died for the right, those who still do and those to whom it's denied to let a mere trifle like a walk to the polling station and a list of candidates who in any other circumstances would be unelectable to put me off.

Monster Raving Loony Party, anybody?


  1. I read a great piece in The Times on Saturday about AV from a political lecturer, explaining the two voting systems. He said first past the post system was like Britain's Got Talent (so Diversity won with less than 50% of the votes in the final) whereas AV is more like The X Factor where each week the candidate with the least votes is chucked out and we can transfer our votes elsewhere (it's just that we do the voting on one day rather than shlep back to the polling station every week).
    I'm summarising here but the article was excellent and even had a bit of Eurovision thrown in to explain how the order in which we place the candidates is akin to awarding 12s, 10s etc so that someone who gets a lot of 2nd and 3rd places can still win eg Bucks Fizz!

  2. What a wonderful analogy, Trish... I wish I'd thought of it. Wish I'd seen the article as well.

  3. What I find depressing is the lack of interest in the whole subject from the majority. Is it because it's so complicated (although Trish's summary of The Times' piece is the first I've seen I've understood) or is it general apathy do you think?

    Our local MP is called Kitcat. Everytime he comes to the door my husband makes some quip about taking a break.

  4. I worry that AV will give us a system more like the European Parliament where we just are so unconnected because we don't directly pick one person. Even if it is less than 50% at least it is the person more people wanted than didnt want, though am confused..

  5. I think it's general apathy Alison. I know several people in their twenties and thirties who have never voted. Mind you, if they had a candidate named KitKat...

    Well, that's my worry too WLM, although I still think it might be preferable to the present system... even though I'm sitting on the fence.

  6. I've trotted up the polling station just to get away from the kids! And to nose around at who else is voting? Who says politics isn't fun

  7. I have to agree with your assessment - it's apathy, pure and simple. I was reading an article in the Economist over breakfast (how civilised is that! 4 kids rampaging around and spoon feeding another and still get to read the Economist) about how generally depressed the French are. One of the reasons cited is that they don't see their politicians being able to improve anything. That's not unique to the French!

    As I understand it (and my explanation comes from 10 O'Clock Live so I could be wrong) AV gives us a higher chance of a coalition government, so the next one could be a Lab-Con or Con-MRLP or even an Everyone-but-LibDem, whereas FPtP gives us a higher chance of a "majority" government. I like the Talent/X-Factor/Eurovision analogy, I shall use that myself.

    We've had AV up here on the rock already for the local council elections last time they happened and by God it was chaos. Even with detailed explanations and examples there was a very high proportion of spoiled ballot papers.

    If we make it too complex to vote, people just won't do it - moreso than they already can't be arsed. I shall be voting in this ballot, it's important to exercise democratic rights.

    Mind you, I was reading on Newsbiscuit that they were going to hold the AV vote using AV. You put a "1" next to your first choice and a "2" next to your second.

    I shall leave you with a thought from my TV. A vote for AV is a vote against HDMI and then we'll never get the high-definition picture quality we all deserve.

  8. Absolutetly, Jenny. And don't forget you can annoy all those people who stand outside with clip-boards asking to see your polling card (but who have no right to do so). I love giving them a curt response and a haughty stare as I sweep into the polling station!

    I think that analysis is probably right, John. Almost any PR system - by virtue of reflecting accurately what people put down on their ballot papers - increases the likelihood of coalition governments. And I used to think that wasn't such a bad thing. Now I'm not too sure...

  9. Well, "I don't want a mass talking shop of people who like nothing better than the sound of their own voices in the council chamber, and who then constantly blame each other for what doesn't get done." sounds like Spanish politicians.

  10. Really Zaloette? I wouldn't know about that, but I do know you don't have to go as far as Spain to find that sort of thing... unfortunately!


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