Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Yes To AV Tidbits

Today saw the launch of the Yes To AV broadcast after various news programmes. It's alright, and at least 15 times more accurate than it's No2AV equivalent

I'm very much a believer in the idea that it shouldn't matter what party might get elected when trying to consider which is the best (or in AV's case "better) electoral system. Cries of "Oh noes... the BNP are coming" do not upset me too much. If you don't think you can stop the BNP through the power of your arguments then you've lost to them already. BUT I have heard, IRL, people talking about AV strengthening the BNP and this is turning them off. So this article from the Guardian serves a useful purpose.

Switch to AV would not boost BNP chances, says thinktank

And finally the truth about the infamous "miserable little compromise" quote comes out..

Nick Clegg’s miserable little compromise.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


Paul Brownsey said...

But AV seenms likely to lead to more coalitions, which will lead to more parties saying (like some LibDems lately...), "Wey-hey, we're not forming a government alone so we can dump our manifesto commitments and decide from scratch what we want to do," which will remove even the minimal and rickety control represented by the doctrine of the manifesto.

What's your answer to that, Jae? (That's not a sarcastic question.)


Jae said...

Well... two points on that, if not exactly answers

1) Will it lead to more coalitions? The juries out on that. Our special, rather unique version of AV is untested. If we go by Australia's example (although there they are forced to put preferences against ALL the candidates), it'll probably be more not less likely to lead to majority Government. But that's all very much up for debate.

2. I would expect, as I expect anyway at the next election from the Lib Dems AV or no AV, a far more up front list of "red line" issues that parties will insist on, if a Coalition is to be formed, in the manifestos. The Nick Clegg "will he support the Tories or Labour" mess that occurred during the run up to the 2010 election was embarrassing. I hope all parties have learnt from that.

That will at least lead to a far more upfront and honest approach from politicians when forming a Coalition.

Hodge Podge said...

I think third and fourth parties are going to definitely clarify their 'red lines' - some people have criticised this as a two tier manifesto but I think it's vital to coalition politics in future.

Paul Brownsey said...

Jae, thanks for your reply. I put what you said to my partner (who plans to vote No) and he put the following case. Tories are likely to rank a LibDem candidate as second choice, Labourites are likely to rank LibDem candidates as second choice (at least, after the present sense of betrayal by the LibDems has died down in Labour breasts...), the outcome is thus likely to be a significant increase in LibDem MPs, with no party having an overall majority by itself, and coalitions will be more likely. What's your answer to that?

Jae said...

I think there's some truth in the idea that the Lib Dems MIGHT benefit from such voting.

However, I think it may be more complicated than that. The Tories and Labour (and the Lib Dems too!) are just big Coalitions themselves. The FPTP system has simply forced these Coalitions(of liberal conservatives and eurosceptic traditionalists on the Tory side and Old and New Labour on the Labour side) to campaign under the same banner. The idea we don't CONSTANTLY have a Coalition Government is a false one.

Was New Labour unified? No. Are the Tories? No. So I really don't see the problem with more obvious Coalitions becoming more common as at least it gets the infighting into the open where we can keep an eye on it.

Secondly, I think it's going to be interesting to see how people's votes go. I suspect a large minority of Tories may vote UKIP as their first or second preference with the Tories taking the 1st and 2nd preferences from them. Similarly I think many Labour folks may vote Green, socialist or even BNP as their 1st or 2nd preference.

The idea that it'll simply lead to a large increase in Lib Dem MPs is a hypothesis, and not one that is able to be backed up or contradicted as we simply do not know how people will vote under AV.

Thirdly, I must return to my point in the post about the BNP. We should not be choosing our electoral system based on who it benefits or doesn't benefit. Nor as to what sort of Government it will create. AV gives more choice to the voter than FPTP. That is all that really matters to me. I'm not outcome orientated. The outcome will be dictated by the democratic vote of the population, as it should be.

Fourthly, this idea (I'm not suggesting your partner is putting it in this way!) seems to stem from a strange conspiracy theory being bandied around that the Lib Dems have decided on AV because it will benefit them. This is far from the truth. AV is a compromise system between the Tories choice of "No Channge" and the Lib Dems choice of the Single Transferable Vote. The only party that wanted AV was, ironically, Labour. We aren't campaigning for AV because we think it'll benefit us, but because we think it's a step in the right direction.

Finally... this all supposes the Lib Dems are still around by the time of the next election. That is a scenario that is looking increasingly unlikely (through my rather pessimistic black tinted glasses anyway). I can certainly foresee a return to two party domination until a new third party (please God not UKIP) rises.

Paul Brownsey said...

Hmmm...But the fact that the existing parties are in a sense coalitions doesn't answer my point about coalitions *between* parties being seen by them as an excuse to jettison the manifesto. Sure, Labour is a sort of coalition; but a Labour manifesto does get produced and the convention is that the whole party is bound by the manifesto, even though it may then may wiggle and wriggle and redfine terms to get round it.

What we have seen in this present inter-party coalition is people openly jettisoning the manifesto on the grounds that they would be bound by it only if they won a majority and could form a government by themselves. That is the essence of my local LibDem MP's (she's Jo Swinson) purported justification for voting in favour of tuition fees after expressly promising, unconditionally, not to do so. [One has the impression that some LibDems almost feel it's sexy to go about saying, "Oh, we're now in *real* politics - in a coalition you can't expect us to be to be bound by fey things like manifesto politics." (Pause for LibDem orgasm.)] My fear is that the admittedly weak hold we have on the buggers via what was in the manifesto will disappear the more coalitions we have, and since it is likely that AV will lead to more LibDem MPs and fewer cases of a party forming a government solo, then manifestos will be even emptier breath than they are now.

Jae said...

A majority of the time when a party breaks their manifesto pledges (as Labour were known to) nobody noticed. It's only because it's a "real" Coalition now that people have finally stood up and said "Hang on a second, that's not on". That's a good thing, and it's right you worry about politicians breaking their manifesto pledges. The tuition fees vote was truly horrendous.

But I think clearer pre-election manifesto commitments on what are red line issues and what aren't will help make things a little less "underhand" in future coalition talks.

It'd certainly be better than what has happened hitherto of all parties saying one thing on their manifesto and another in once in Government. You need only look at the Labour MPs who despise AV, an item that was in their manifesto, to see it's all still same old, same old.

That's why we need a change. Something to put the fear of God into them.