Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The lies of No2AV

So I went to the No2AV website, and clicked on the link entitled "Why vote no" to see what reasons they've cooked up. Let's take a look:

AV is costly

They argue, as they keep arguing, that AV will cost up to an additional £250 million: "Local councils would have to waste money on costly electronic vote counting machines and expensive voter education campaigns."

What about the extra £800 million they'll also have to spend on red carpets, gold-trimmed ballot papers and free meringue and strawberries served to voters as the booths? What about those? Yes, of course, there's no such cost, because they won't be used. No-one said they would need to be used. They harp on about how Australia is the only other country to use AV to vote in the lower house, but they conveniently ignore the fact that Australia doesn't even use electronic voting machines.

"With ordinary families facing tough times can we really afford to spend a quarter of a billion pounds of taxpayers' money bringing in a new voting system?"

And why are they facing tough times in the first place eh? Because of the government voted in using the First Past The Post system.

"Schools and hospitals, or the Alternative Vote – that's the choice in this referendum."

You will be taking money away from schools and hospitals to fund the new electoral system? Why not the military? Why not higher taxes for the rich? And also bear in mind that this won't be paid for all in a single year.

AV is complex and unfair

There's no denying that it's more complex than FPTP, but are you seriously saying that people are too dumb to say "I want this party to win, but if not then this one, if not that one, then this one... and I don't want anyone else to win, so won't put anything." People fill out questionnaires every day with questions like that.

"The winner should be the candidate that comes first, but under AV the candidate who comes second or third can actually be elected."

That's not true for a start. The candidate that comes first, and gets the majority of the vote wins, instead of the one with more votes than other people, even if it's less than 50%. The No2AV campaign use a race analogy in their campaign leaflets and broadcasts, saying that the race horse or runner that comes third wins under AV. But the analogy doesn't apply. Who are the horses representing for a start? Using the race analogy, there's a finite speed which gets divided up between horses. The horse which uses more average speed than the others win. That's not how horse racing works. So one horse can be left right at the back slowly limping along and never making it to the finish line, and they attend the race every time? And the others make it to the finish line but they won't win anything? Yes, this analogy is terrible.

At least under AV, if your candidate gets the least votes, you can transfer it to your next favourite so your vote is still counted. Under FPTP many people feel their votes are wasted because of the endless tactical voting between 2 parties, so people tend to vote based on who they *don't* want to win. Now that's not fair. At least people who vote for minority parties can still get a say.

I saw the broadcast of the No2AV campaign, and it showed a woman teaching a class of people how it works. They seriously can't explain it any clearer? That's as clear as it gets? I've seen many examples of very simple and clear explanations, and I guess it's because of the No2AV's inability to understand it that they are against it. I'm sure I could make FPTP sound incomprehensible if I wanted.

" That’s why it is used by just three countries in the world – Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea."

Yes, these backward, savage and unfair countries are prime examples of where democracy has failed. These countries use this system entirely because they want the second or third person to win.

"We can't afford to let the politicians off the hook by introducing a loser's charter."

Politicians are always off the hook under the current system. It favours the same old people who have safe seats, don't really need to do much, and very very rarely gives newer candidates a chance.

AV is a politician's fix

"AV leads to more hung parliaments, backroom deals and broken promises like the Lib Dem tuition fees U-turn."

So rather than have parties compromise, there has to be one supreme ruler who makes all the decisions for everyone, even if the majority of the voters didn't vote for them. People are much less represented under FPTP. Using the tuition fees U-turn as an example is trying to make it sound like it's entirely the Lib Dem's fault. Of course, the Conservatives wouldn't have broken such a promise... because they would have never made it in the first place. They'd cut it without a second thought... and they did.

"Instead of the voters choosing the government, politicians would hold power."

It's amazing how they state something without any explanation. This statement is exactly the opposite of the case. At the moment, the politicians hold the power because you have so little to choose from, and people are under-represented in government. It's the same old party politics we've been locked in for goodness knows how long.

"Under AV, the only vote that really counts is Nick Clegg's."

There's no attempt to explain what they mean by this, or how they came to this conclusion.

"We can't afford to let the politicians decide who runs our country."

Agreed. What's your point? What's this got to do with AV? You may as well say, "We can't let the terrorists win.", "We musn't have children's right to education removed.", "We can't afford to increase food prices ten-fold." How is this relevant to AV? Again, no explanation.

"NOtoAV is a campaign that has support from right across the country."

The BNP can make the same claim. What's your point?

So the only points they make, they either don't explain, or if they do explain, doesn't make sense when applied to AV.

When the Conservatives were running for government last year, their slogan was "Vote For Change". They seem to have changed their tune.

So if I were to run a Yes2AV campaign like the No2AV campaign run theirs, I'd say the following:

- FPTP is used by all terrorists around the world.

- To continue to use FPTP will cost billions of pounds of tax-payers money

- The people you don't want to get in will be the only ones who get in

- Many children die under FPTP

- A vote against AV is a vote for Hitler

See, no explanation needed. Facts and explanations are clearly complicated and confusing. Just use vague statements and outrageous claims and you'll be fine.