Leafleting for the Yes campaign

Today’s polling day! And I’ve been busy most of the day helping the Yes campaign leaflet parts of Leeds for the final push. Mostly the university, but with some leafleting taking part in the city centre, especially near the train station.

The response I got was surprisingly positive. Discounting the people who shrugged me off — it’s Leeds, they probably thought I was advertising for a new bar — there was a lot of interest and support in a Yes vote. Only a handful of people said they had already voted no. I did work on the currents of “yes to democracy”, “yes to people power”, “make your MPs work harder”, and “if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!”. This was quite effective in swaying floating voters. Continue reading “Leafleting for the Yes campaign”

Why I am voting Yes today

Because AV is fairer, more democratic, and ends tactical voting.

It’s fairer because never again will the most unpopular candidate win, as they do in council elections all the time, and even in a few general elections (take a look at Scottish elections from 1970, where the anti-Tory vote still eclipsed the Tory vote). If there is truly a “progressive majority”, as last year’s elections apparently stated, then representation in the Commons will reflect that. The same applies for a “conservative majority.” Continue reading “Why I am voting Yes today”

What would Parliament under STV look like?

This image shows what an STV-elected House of Commons would look like.

As I said in my first posts, I am a believer in the Single Transferable Vote: it devolves power to the people, is preferential, and is proportional. I’m voting for AV as it does the first two, but I really want the third as well. But we can’t win them all. Indeed, as recent polls show, the No campaign — which has been running mostly on the “you’re too thick to count to three” message — may scupper the chances for even AV.

The Electoral Reform Society did some research into this, but I found the results somewhat… strange. In Brighton, which has a strong Green Party presence, no Green candidate was elected under the ERS’s calculations. So I decided for myself, in my free time, to do a simulation for myself. Continue reading “What would Parliament under STV look like?”

The No2AV leaflet

The AV campaign is in full swing but strangely, I’ve only received campaign literature from the No campaign so far. As a Yes supporter, I find this amusing but disheartening: with only a week to go, where is the Yes literature? It is really squeaky-bum time now.

In any case, they’re going full frontal on the Nick Clegg attack angle, after seeing no joy in the BNP argument. As the new Private Eye so eruditely summarises: Yes to AV’s arguments are about cleaner or fairer politics. The No campaign’s argument is a picture of Nick Clegg. And they list so many discredited arguments. Continue reading “The No2AV leaflet”

AV or not AV: an addendum

There’s a strange logic to No2AV’s arguments; they’re trying to push both the “AV will lead to more coalitions” and “AV will lead to less coalitions” on different pages on their Why Vote No? In a sense, they’re kind of right; if AV was adopted for 1997, then possibly, yes, the Tories would’ve been disadvantaged because there was a huge anti-Tory sentiment. But if it was adopted for 1992, it would’ve led to a hung parliament; Major barely hung on then. In a way, AV makes more decisive elections slightly more decisive, and muddled elections more muddled.

This exposes one of the supposed advantages of FPTP: according to them, only FPTP allows voters to “kick the rascals out”, like in 1997, and implies voting systems such as AV, STV, AMS, do not. Why don’t you ask the Irish? Continue reading “AV or not AV: an addendum”

The AV “debate” in Leeds

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
…wasn’t really a debate.

There’s been a spat between the Yes and No camps. Basically, the No campaign are hosting “debates” across the country. I say “debates” because they weren’t really. See:

AV or not AV? That is the question.

The answer is “Yes”. And a kick in my shins for such a terrible joke.

Let’s digress for a minute. In truth, I am a supporter of the Single Transferrable Vote. My ideal voting system is one that is proportional (i.e., a party with 20% of the vote should get 20% of the seats) and representative (each legislator is answerable to a distinct group of people, hopefully a local community). But more on that in a few posts time; this is about AV.

AV is not my desired system, but it’s a good one nonetheless. It’s representative, and does mean that half the voters of a constituency will definitely prefer him over another candidate. True, it’s not proportional, but it makes it easier to change to a proportional system: for STV, by merging five constituencies into one five-MP constituency; for AMS, the top-up system works in tandem. And one of the big reasons I want a change in the system is where parties other than the Tories and Labour became more popular, but lost seats (or didn’t get any). Such a situation should be untenable.

Let’s go through No2AV’s arguments, shall we? Continue reading “AV or not AV? That is the question.”