Chopped Liver – Democracy

There appears to be a national election this week to fulfill some ridiculous promise as part of this ridiculous coalition government. Remember the complete no-hopers of the last General Election, the Lib Dems, managed to wangle their into power by going to bed with the Tories. They pretty much conceded most of their policies in the process and became a virtually invisible party for now and the future.

But, the one concession they insisted on was that we had a review of the electoral voting system – or at least put it to the people – most of whom couldn’t give a flying one either way.

Anyway, should you be one of the few interested in registering your vote but are unsure of which way to vote, allow me to highlight for you the difference between the YES to change or the NO to leave as is option.

    What is AV?

The AV system asks voters to rank candidates in order of preference. You can nominate as many preferences as you like. Only first preference votes are counted initially. Anyone getting more than 50% of these is elected automatically. If that doesn’t happen, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their second choices allocated to the remaining candidates in a second round of counting. If one candidate then has more than 50% of the votes in this round they are elected. If not, the remaining candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their second preferences (or third preferences if they were the second choice of someone who voted for the first candidate to be eliminated) reallocated. This continues until one candidate has 50% or more of the vote in that round of counting, or there are no more votes to be distributed.

There you go, if you can make head or tail of all that, and are still reading as far as this, maybe you need your head seeing, or maybe you need to go into politics (or maybe they’re one and the same). So what are the pros and cons between the Yes and the No?

    YES to Change

These people argue that too many votes are effectively wasted under the current system, with elections decided by a small number of voters in a handful of seats where no single party has a large majority. This discourages people from voting, they say. A key weakness of first-past-the-post, they say, is that two-thirds of MPs are now elected with less than 50% of support of voters and that this undermines democracy and reduces the legitimacy of MPs. They say candidates will have to work harder for votes and reach out to a broader cross-section of the electorate.

    No, Keep as is

Anti-AV campaigners say the current system generally leads to stable government (yeah right, like they have now, eh what?) and has historically reflected the will of the public, in that unpopular governments have been voted out. They argue that first-past-the-post is straightforward and easy to understand. They say parties get elected on a manifesto and are expected to implement it, while, under other systems more likely to produce indecisive outcomes, the government is decided after the election by horse-trading and political fixes with manifesto pledges being ditched and promises broken.

Remember please – that whichever option you choose, even if you choose not to choose – THE GOVERNMENT ALWAYS GETS IN – and you know what that means!

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