Sunday, 21 November 2010

Only say no to AV if you want FPTP for evermore.

This is about the May 2011 UK voting reform referendum. FPTP (first past the post) vs AV (alternative vote). Arguing that a vote for FPTP is a dead end, while a vote for AV is an end in itself and the only path to any future change too (skip to the end for the meat).

I haven't blogged that much on the electoral reform referendum, I've mainly been debating it on twitter (@pperrin). There are plenty of blogs putting great arguments in favour of AV (mind you, I have yet to see a case for FPTP that stands up to any scrutiny at all - I am genuinely surprised that there is nothing in its favour!). I don't see that much point in repeating exactly the same stuff. However I do seem to be coming up with a number of unique benefits that no one else has considered yet and this is one of them...

I was never particularly adverse to FPTP but after investigation I have came to like AV and consider it far better than FPTP. Over the past few months as I have considered it more and more and argued the case with others, I have discovered new angles and found opportunities and benefits that it will give the UK and UK voters and have come to like AV more and more and FPTP less and less.

This aimed at article is aimed at those who don't like FPTP or AV - and explains why I think they should say yes to AV as the most likely way of getting further reform.

Here we go...

Scenario 1:

So you are really #No2AV and #No2FPTP (maybe #Yes2STV or #Yes2AVPlus) what happens if the next general election is fought under FPTP?

This is simple to answer, it is what has happened at every election since FPTP was ever used. There is a tiny chance of a hung parliament with a pro-reform party holding the balance of power and calling for reform and a massive chance of either Labour or The Conservatives a party getting an overall majority and nothing happening on reform ever again...

Scenario 2:

So you are really #No2AV and #No2FPTP (maybe #Yes2STV or #Yes2AVPlus) what happens if the next general election is fought under AV?

Possible national totals for 1st preferences and number of seats in parliament
Party1st Prefs (% of total)Seats (total 600)
Lib Dem20%50
or (if you prefer)
Party1st Prefs (% of total)Seats (total 600)
Lib Dem20%50

AV will have delivered individual MPs that most constituents can support, but we will (most likely) have a single party majority government that less than one third of the peoples unreservedly support - people will not find this acceptible.


The illegitimacy of our governments (as set out above), an illegitimacy that FPTP hides, will be laid bare. This is not a 'fault' of the voting system, AV will just make plane what has been true all along.

If anything can lead to further reform, it will be this result at the next election following a resounding #Yes2AV win...

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