Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fisking Some of David Cameron's AV Speech

In his speech against AV yesterday David Cameron made some good points, however on some areas he did contradict himself. But having read most of the comments reported via the BBC that are attributed to his speech I thought a little fisking was in order, so then:

He said he believed the Alternative Vote was "completely the wrong reform" and would be "bad for our democracy" - leading to unfair results and an unaccountable political system.

So an MP winning with a majority of 9,000 with less than 50% of the vote isn't unfair or unaccountable. I wonder if Cameron would still have held this view if earlier in his political career he was put against a Labour MP in a "safe" northern seat!

"I don't see why voters of the BNP or Monster Raving Loony Party should get their votes counted more times than supporters of the Conservatives or for that matter, Labour or the Liberal Democrats."

Whilst those of us on the left should be pleased that the PM prefers us to the fringe parties, it does start a point which I shall mention later

He argued it would not end "safe seats" for MPs, as in Australia, nearly half of all seats were considered "safe" and smaller parties had been "all but obliterated".
Research suggested AV would have produced larger Labour landslides between 1997 and 2005, and larger Conservative ones in the 1980s and could lead to "even more disproportional" results.
Contradiction there! If it will not end safe seats, then how come the Labour majorities in 1997 and 2001 would have been larger, ditto the 1980s?
And he argued, the way votes are counted could mean "those who are courageous and brave and may not believe in or say things that everyone agrees with are pushed out of politics and those who are boring and the least controversial limping to victory".
If "courageous" includes the BNP or any such fodder and goes against what is decent in our society then I will be happy for them to be pushed out, but aside from the BNP, doesn't this contradict his point earlier about minor parties and independent candidates votes getting counted more times?
AV is good for this country as it gives firm government, more choice, 50% plus majorities and greater relations with the electorate and I see that as no bad thing

1 comment:

peezedtee said...

Quite so, and what's more Cameron is simply wrong: under AV, nobody gets their vote counted more times than anyone else. At each stage of the count, everybody's vote is counted again. To quote "A guide to the Alternative Vote" by Roger Mortimore ( ), "Every voter gets just one vote, which is counted several times".