Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing


11:02 am - April 28th 2011

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contribution by Matt Wootton

For over half a decade now my Green communications colleagues and I have had the mantra “benefits not features”. This is to steer us away from becoming too policy wonkish in how we communicate our positions. An example from the commercial world would be “this car has seatbelts with pretensioners and energy management” (features). Translation “it’s really safe” (benefit).

Unfortunately, the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign seems to have fallen into the trap of expressing the features of AV without expressing the benefits.

They recently revealed a poster with the words: ‘Cut Safe Seats For MPs’. That sounds like an imperative, perhaps to some even a rallying cry, but actually it’s just another feature of life under AV: ‘under AV, there will be less safe seats in Parliament’ (feature).

But neither of these slogans state any actual benefit to the voter. Other messages such as ‘Make MPs work harder’ suffer from the same problem.

But, the problem is worse than that. Sometimes, even giving voters ‘benefits’ is not enough.

Through the work of George Lakoff on values and Drew Westen on emotions, my colleague Rupert Read and I at the Green Words Workshop have come to see ‘benefits’ as part of what American political communicator Joe Trippi would call “transactional politics”.

The worst example is when communications people sit around wondering “how do we sell this to the public?”. Transactional politics is a frame, a context, in which the voter has a vote which s/he is willing to exchange in return for sufficient ‘benefits’. But there is an antidote: the politics of transformation, ideals, principles and values.

And in this referendum there is one group that is excelling at appealing to peoples’ values, principles, sense of justice and their emotions. It is the No2AV Campaign.

They have pulled off a series of audacious (though not accurate) appeals to principle and emotion. They started with their now infamous advert showing a crying new-born baby being denied a maternity ward and have gone on to show a child preparing for a Sports Day, winning after great effort, and then having the prize go to the person who finishes third.

Such narratives evoke in the casual viewer a clear, principled emotion: “that’s not fair!” leading to the mental association that AV is unjust, unprincipled and immoral. Up against this kind of firepower of emotional appeals to principle, the Yes campaign are shooting garden peas out of a straw.

The Yes campaign are failing in their most basic obligation: to show that the current situation is bad, and the alternative is good. Instead the public have got the message from the No campaign that it’s somehow the other way round.


Abridged from an essay at the Green Words Workshop

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Reader comments


AV is an issue for pub bores and obsessive malcontents.

The general view is “What are you wittering on about?”

Good article. It is almost as if we never imagined the No campaign would have the nerve to mention fairness – as if it were obvious to everyone that AV is fairer, but that to say so sounds whiny.

Perhaps there is a problem that saying the status quo is fair is never as whiny as saying it is unfair.

Well hang on a tick. The No campaign is based almost wholly on lies – these are the emotional bits that you’re going on about here – do you suggest that the Yes campaign also lie in posters and leaflets?

I think the basic problem is AV, several of the complications of a better system but few of the benefits. I also believe that many of the “Yes to AV” crowd are all too aware of this and cannot summon the required enthusiasm to sell AV to the public, if you’ve ever done sales you’ll know that nothing is a fatal as appearing to lack faith in what you’re selling.

It seems to me the British public are simply overwhelmed by apathy not antipathy to AV. Experience has taught them all politicians are duplicitous filth and that interaction with the laughably named democratic process makes no difference whatsoever so why bother. A full blown referendum on reform with a variety of options to give the electorate real control over politicians might have whipped up a bit of enthusiasm but we’ll never see one of those.

The great American writer George V Higgins, I think it was in his novel A Change Of Gravity, had one of his characters say something along the lines of “There’s a wall around politics. Politicians think they built it to keep the people from finding out what goes on. They’re wrong. The people built it, they know what goes on and they think its disgusting”

Doesn’t help that the Yes campaign is horribly tarred by being funded by a group which is going to almost certainly benefit financially from AV…..cleaner politics my arse.

People don’t like Clegg, they see him as untrustworthy, he has made so many U turns that he has become a national joke. They also underestimated the negativity of the no campaign which again, does not reflect very well on Clegg, because he tasted the Right wings negativity in the election after the first debate. He should have leaned by now. But then he is rather stupid.

Unfortunately, the Labour bone heads like Margret Becket, who could have swung this election around have decided to put their own selfish interests above that of inflicting real long term damage on the tories. Of course she is guaranteed a nice govt pension for the next 35 years when she retires. I hope she will reflect on that when we have a tory majority for most of that time, now Clegg has signed up to giving the tories a gerrymandered house of Commons.

Clegg, should have held out for a proportional system and refused to enter into a co-alition with out it. As it is, he is going to lose on a very minor change, to the system, one that Cameron used to get elected tory leader.

Idiot troll….. “Doesn’t help that the Yes campaign is horribly tarred by being funded by a group which is going to almost certainly benefit financially from AV…..cleaner politics my arse.”

Unlike the no campaign, funded by secrative, sleazy tory money, that makes billions from having a right wing govt.

Nice and sleazy does it for tories.

@6 that’s cr*p. that allegation is based on the assumption – wholly untrue – that machines would be necessary under AV. Maybe throwing round fewer accusations and researching more would be an idea. There was a good Radio 4 episode on exactly this issue.

I think the AV campaign has shown that progressives / campaigners for change can’t assume that a rational / liberal explanation of benefits will outweigh the conservative argument of ‘it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

AV doesn’t clearly fix what people think is broke with politics.

@7 “does not reflect very well on Clegg, because he tasted the Right wings negativity in the election after the first debate.”

The Lib Dems have no excuse whatsoever for being ignorant about dodgy, negative campaigning. They are the major party that uses it most after all.

“I hope she will reflect on that when we have a tory majority for most of that time, now Clegg has signed up to giving the tories a gerrymandered house of Commons”

Labour had plenty of time do deal with this while in power but decided not to. This was for the obvious reason that the current boundaries are effectively, (not deliberately, just through circumstances), gerrymandered in their favour by a considerable amount. You can hardly blame the other parties for wanting to repair the system so if you have objections to the way it’s being done, what are they?

“Clegg, should have held out for a proportional system and refused to enter into a co-alition with out it”

Bang on target.

Well, I was speaking to an old AV-sceptic of my acquaintance and his primary complaint, it seems, was that the people in its advert were a loud of boors shouting at people.

Falco “The Lib Dems have no excuse whatsoever for being ignorant about dodgy, negative campaigning. They are the major party that uses it most after all.”

Could you tell me which 4-5 mass selling tabloid newspapers support the Lib Dems please?

You can’t, so your point is worthless. Tories rely on their surrogates to do the dirty work for them. ” It was the sun what won it”

Gosh Sally, change the point of attack much? Don’t bother replying with anything substantial, why change after all?

14. Chaise Guevara

@ S Pill

“The No campaign is based almost wholly on lies – these are the emotional bits that you’re going on about here – do you suggest that the Yes campaign also lie in posters and leaflets?”

No (and it’s obviously doing so to some extent already – witness that bullshit poster pictured in the OP). However, I personally might go against my usual convictions and say it should argue from emotion more: still focusing on accurate statements, but making them more rhetorical than technical. I don’t like that sort of thing, but when you’re only a week or so away from a referendum and the other side are emoting like crazy and lying through their teeth…

” You can hardly blame the other parties for wanting to repair the system so if you have objections to the way it’s being done, what are they?”

Funny that, because Cameron said it was being done to save money, getting rid of 50 Mps.

That has since been seen to be royal horse manure as he has been stacking the House of tory (sorry Lords) with his cronies at tax payers expense, and they will be there till they die so it will cost a fortune.

Nice and sleazy does it with tories

16. Mr S. Pill

Agreed w/Sally about LDs should’ve held out for PR. That’s why AV is such a tricky sell because as another poster pointed out no-one really wants it even though it is better than FPTP.

@10 Falco

” “Clegg, should have held out for a proportional system and refused to enter into a co-alition with out it”

Bang on target.”

Funny how the scales have now fallen from so many people’s eyes at last: I recall after the election how often anyone suggesting this line was shouted down and told they were being unrealistic / there was no alternative etc.

Now that they are reaping the whirlwind, all of a sudden lots of LD’s and other people on the left who should have known better at the time, are deciding that the LD’s did indeed sell themselves cheap.

Talk about a day late and a dollar short!!

@15 sally

As pointed out above, and many times previously, reducing the number of MP’s is probably a good thing. The gerrymandering is widely accepted to be in favour of Labour, not the other parties, so your point is factually inaccurate.

Labour could and should have done something about this in the 13 years available to them, same goes for reforming the Lords.

“Gosh Sally, change the point of attack much?”

It is not a change in the point of attack at all. You claimed that the Lib Dems are the most negative political paty out of the 3. I am pointing out that is rubbish. The tories are the most negative party, but they use their media allies to do their dirty work for them. Which is why Cameron has been brown nosing Murdoch for 3 years, and employed his former editor.

@ 17 Galen 10: True, hindsight is 20:20 but as I mentioned above I don’t see AV as a great system so, (from my point of view), there was no significant gain made by the Lib Dems on this issue. To be fair to them there were a number of other rather urgent issues they had to deal with and that may have made holding out for PR impossible.

@15 Sally: Glad to see you’ve taken my advice at 13.

“and other people on the left who should have known better at the time, are deciding that the LD’s did indeed sell themselves cheap.”

I hope you are not referring to me. I have always said, and have repeatedly said “you never do deals with brown shirts.” Much to the fury of the tory trolls.

I said at the time ,and have repeated that Clegg should never have gone into co-alition with the tories, he should have let them swing in the wind. Take it on a policy by policy issue. But people on here told me that the tories would like to hold another election in 6 months and the other parties were broke…. blah blah blah.

Clegg is not that bright, and has set back his party for a long time.

“@15 Sally: Glad to see you’ve taken my advice at 13”

What advice? …… you just avoided answering, because you can’t. I’m still waiting for you to name 4-5 tabloids who support the Lib Dems, and day after day attack the tories.

Come back to me when you find them

@20 Falco

I’d agree with you about AV… but would suggest that hindsight isn’t required. What has happened was entirely predictable. Why do you think Clegg sits next to Cameron with a face like a well skelped arse?

The haunted look demonstrates the growing realisation that he has the inverse Midas touch; everything he’s touched turns to dross. The benefits are too few and too minor, the drawbacks too many and too major. He and his cronies have gutted their party, as the polls show. The membership and (more importantly) local activist base is haemorrhaging away.

If AV fails, he knows he’s done for, even if they manage to limp on until 2015. The LD’s will knife him in the back before then in a (probably) vain attempt to distance themselves from the Tories, and the successor will be faced with an uphill struggle to try and rebuild something from the ashes as they return to the number of MP’s they had in the 70’s.

Clegg and his cabal weren’t and aren’t savvy political operators; they were bounced into a bad deal, panicked and now let the Tories lead them around by the nose. As many of us predicted, the vaunted ameliorating effect of LD membership of the Coalition amounts to nothing much.

They’ve been played, and they know it.

You’ve hit the nail on the head but come to the wrong conclusion. The real reason that Yes2AV has not focussed on the benefits is the simple one that there are not very many and every time they try to claim some their argument disappears. The basic truth is that for the vast majority of voters AV will not make the slightest difference.

There will be just a few more marginal seats and so just a few more people making a difference but for most of us we would get the same MP that we do under FPTP.

This slight increase of swing voters is at the expense of imposing a more complicated and less predictable system on all of us which makes it an easy win for No2AV.

@21 sally

No, I wasn’t referring to you specifically, I was making a general point about those LD’s and others on the left who said there was no alternative.

I might not always agree with your views, and ways of expressing them sally…. but even a broken clock is right twice a day 😉

I think AV is rather flawed, but I could live with it. The negative effects of AV are likely to be quite subtle — a rush to the perceived centre with more populism and ‘dog-whistles’, and more conformism, with the elimination of eccentric, outsider and radical backbenchers in all parties.

The Yes campaign has been deeply flawed, as Matt Wootton’s excellent piece shows. That said, I think the Yes campaign will still win, partly because of apathy and partly because in Scotland the turn-out will be higher with the Holyrood elections (and I suspect the subsidy-junkies north of the border will vote for AV in the belief that it is more likely to keep the subsidies flowing).

Anyone voting no to AV because they want PR is the most naive of fools.

The establishment will take a rejection of AV as an endorsement of First Past The Post and hold off for decades to come.

You have one chance of a minor improvement on the current system and you reject it at your peril as they will not offer it again for a long time.

AV isn’t perfect; no system is. However it’s nowhere near as bad as FPTP.

The Yes campaign have told some stupid lies for their campaign. The No campaign is entirely based on lies; and everyone backing it is the lowest scum in British politics (except for Nick Clegg of course who is like a parasite that latches onto good causes). Overall I’m not happy with how the Yes campaign have conducted themselves but I can understand their temptation when faced with the utter vileness of the scum in the No campaign to fight a negative battle (which of course is a dark irony).

However if you want to keep the kind of political structure we have now; if you want to be counted as supporting the establishment; then feel free to vote No to AV. Because that is what you’ll get.

“Clegg and his cabal weren’t and aren’t savvy political operators; they were bounced into a bad deal, panicked and now let the Tories lead them around by the nose. ”

Yup, but I come back to my point about the power of the right wing media. They were bounced by the tory media, and thought if the played nice with the brownshirts they woulld get a good deal. They did’nt.

Blair thought the same, with the bankers and Murdoch. You never do deals with brownshirts. NEVER. I am amazed how many people live in the political bubble and don’t understand this basic fact.

Clegg needs to cut his losses and pull the plug on health reform. If he lets the tories have that he will send his party to oblivion.

Falco @ 10

Labour had plenty of time do deal with this while in power but decided not to. This was for the obvious reason that the current boundaries are effectively, (not deliberately, just throughcircumstances), gerrymandered in their favour by a considerable amount. You can hardly blame the other parties for wanting to repair the system so if you have objections to the way it’s being done, what are they?

What is there to ‘repair’? The ‘circumstances’ the Tories are at a ‘disadvantage’ via the current boundaries is because, outside of their inbred rural constituencies, they are thoroughly despised. Perhaps the ‘circumstances’ would change if you people acted liked less like scum and more human? Just saying!

There is nothing ‘unfair’ in people who treat huge areas of the Country with open contempt being unable to win in those types of constituencies, is there?

This is rather typical of the entitlement culture that your average Tory has. It never occurs to them that it might be them that are out of touch with the public and pay the electoral price for it. No, you people always assume that when people reject you, it must be their fault.

Your ideology has been rejected in the ballot box since 1997 and now you have been forced to deliberately gerrymander the constituencies, simply because you cannot convince people in urban constituencies to vote for you. Yeah, that figures because you Tory cunts have never really took to democracy anyway, which is why a Tory toff has bolstered the House of Lords to the extent there are far too many to fit in the chamber.

“As pointed out above, and many times previously, reducing the number of MP’s is probably a good thing. The gerrymandering is widely accepted to be in favour of Labour, not the other parties, so your point is factually inaccurate”

Fiction. Labour outperforms its vote in seat terms because of lower working class turnout, meaning MPs in safe Labour seats win with fewer votes (even if the same percentage) than MPs in safe Conservative seats. No change in the boundaries or the number of seats (short of reducing the number of seats to one) can alter that.

The change in boundaries is a gerrymander, pure and simple, designed to rig the system against Labour next time by redrawing seats using inaccurate and out of date population figures, in the knowledge that population estimates based on electoral registration are generally lower in (higher turnover, lower participation, higher immigration) Labour constituencies.

On the substantive, the Yes campaign just hasn’t been very good. They misjudged the scale of anti-politics, because AV is about how you elect YOUR MP, and most people trust THEIR MP, just not MPs in general, so their squalid little leaflets about me having a lazy MP who doesn’t care about my job didn’t ring true (well, the latter bit did but only because I have a Lib Dem, and he’d be rescued by AV).

Talking to my local tory council candidate, he was of the opinion that AV would make the LibDems perpetual kingmakers and so opposed it. I suggested that they will cease to exist in the next election (we’ll have to see what happens next Thursday but my money is on a massacre of the yellow vermin). Then the discussion became interesting. Will we have a two-party system if we retain FPTP and what smaller parties would gain influence under AV if the Lib Dems whither?

I know I’m mixing local and national politics but I think the antipathy towards the LibDems and the weakness of any argument for AV make the No vote hard to oppose. The best response I have had is when I suggest that a failure to achieve reform now will give us FPTP for another generation: People want reform but AV isn’t enough.

Martin….

I agree, I am not very pleased with what is on offer, and the mess that got us here, but I will not vote with Norman Tebbit, and the Tory right wing, and the BNP.

I also believe that a yes vote could bring down Cameron. The right will go bat shit insane if no to AV looses. Why Margret Becket and Charlie Faulkner would not want this is very odd. But then they won’t have to worry about the cuts, and a privatised health service. Nice gold plated pension await them…… fuckers.

@26 paul ilc

“….I suspect the subsidy-junkies north of the border will vote for AV in the belief that it is more likely to keep the subsidies flowing”

Ah, that old chestnut again… why does it not surprise me given your previous posts? Scotland (or for that matter the poorer English regions) aren’t subsidy junkies; if anything it is the SE that enjoys subsidies, given the over-centralised nature of the UK. It was ever thus, and probably ever will be.

Just remember where the vast majority of the oil and gas that propped the country up for decades past actually lies. The Scots aren’t stupid… after all Holyrood is a good indication of how a proportional system, and even a minority government, can work.

The yes campaign should have pointed out very hard that AV elected Cameron as tory leader, and that without it we would have got David Davis.

They have been very slow to point out that Cameron came second, but ended up winning.

@ 30 oldpolitcs

Labour is over represented because their seats tend to have smaller electorates, especially in urban areas where population has declined and moved to the suburbs. thus on average it takes fewer votes to elect a Labour MP. In order to rectify the imbalance under our outdated system, the only way is to make boundary changes to make the electorates per seat “fairer”.

Obviously there is scope for gerrymandering, but that should be alleviated by making sure that the boundaries are drawn by an independent commission.

Or of course, we should just have a fairer voting system…… oh wait…..

The Yes2AV campaign have tried to claim, as Sally has, that “AV elected Cameron as tory leader” but that’s a lie so they do not use it officially, even if some of their supporters still do.

<blockquote?The yes campaign should have pointed out very hard that AV elected Cameron as tory leader, and that without it we would have got David Davis.

Which would have been untrue, because the Tory leadership election wasn’t conducted under AV, but under Run-Off. Multiple ballots, no preference distribution and separate electorates. The final stage of the election was conducted under FPTP – inevitably as it was a 2 person choice.

Almost every argument in the AV debate, on both sides, has been either irrelevant or untrue. Or both.

@37 Tim J

I think you are being disingenuous; the tory leadership election was discussed last night on R4, and many of the same points were brought up.

Your objections don’t wipe away the strong stench of hypocrisy tho’; if the Tories are so keen on FPTP, whay isn’t it good enough for their leadership elections? Run-off and multiple ballots aren’t THAT dissimilar in principle from AV… it’s still another way of ensuring that the winning candidate has broader support.

The Tories don’t like the idea of reform (the clue is in the party name) because they know it will harm their interests. Same goes for the BNP, because they know AV will make it even LESS likely they can gain any seats.

Two-round or multiple-round elections are effectively the same as AV, but this has not been got across. They prevent the votes being split by offering, ultimately a straight choice between the top two candidates. AV (stupid name) is called Instant Runoff Voting in the states for this very reason.

So the reason the Tories used multiple rounds is because FPTP is broken when there is any question of “splitting the vote”. I.e. more than two candidates.

The problem of “splitting the vote” is what makes it hard for any newcomers to enter and reinvigorate politics, and easy for the party machine to parachute in unpopular candidates – the costs of the local candidate standing anyway and “splitting the vote” being so high.

This is the real benefit, but I guess the focus groups preferred the stuff about expenses and safe seats.

@39 Joe Otten

“and easy for the party machine to parachute in unpopular candidates – the costs of the local candidate standing anyway and “splitting the vote” being so high.”

A good point, picked up on in a letter to the Independent yesterday I believe; AV also makes it much easier for a local party candidate to stand against one imposed from HQ with some hope of success, whereas under FPTP a split in the party vote could let in the opposition.

For a detailed discussion of AV vs FPTP (the features thereof), I highly recommend this.

“Labour is over represented because their seats tend to have smaller electorates, especially in urban areas where population has declined and moved to the suburbs. thus on average it takes fewer votes to elect a Labour MP. ”

Professor Michael Thrasher did some work on this last Summer and concluded that the ‘smaller electorates’ issue was responsible for 13% of Labour’s “over-representation”. So no, that’s not the key issue.

“The problem of “splitting the vote” is what makes it hard for any newcomers to enter and reinvigorate politics, and easy for the party machine to parachute in unpopular candidates – the costs of the local candidate standing anyway and “splitting the vote” being so high.”

I’d argue the opposite – it’s easier to parachute in a candidate when the costs of vote-splitting are low than when they are high. The sort of person who will stand against their former party in anger will do it anyway, whatever the electoral system. A system that punishes said former party is a bigger disincentive for them to work to stop it happening than a system that means they needn’t worry, because the splitter candidate’s second preferences will roll in anyway.

Labour is over represented because their seats tend to have smaller electorates, especially in urban areas where population has declined and moved to the suburbs. thus on average it takes fewer votes to elect a Labour MP.

‘One person one vote’ is kind of a key democratic principle. Not one home-owner one vote, one tax-payer one vote, or one parent two votes (as the Hungarian right is proposing).

Given differences in party support by socio-economic class, and differential turnout by class, then equal weighting of votes _per party_ necessarily means unequal voting rights _per citizen_.

And the deliberate creation of unequal voting rights is gerrymandering.

The only way round that is either mandatory voting (as in Australia), or to size constituencies strictly by the size of the resident electorate, not the turnout last time. Some say you should lose your right to vote if you commit a serious crime. You certainly shouldn’t lose any part of if you chose to sit out the last election.

Your objections don’t wipe away the strong stench of hypocrisy tho’; if the Tories are so keen on FPTP, whay isn’t it good enough for their leadership elections?

Because different types of election are better suited by different methods of voting. AV, or FPTP, would be a poor way of electing a House of Lords for example, because there’s no constituency link. There’s no hypocrisy in that. It’s just (another) lame gotcha point. Massively, massively unedifying debate.

Two-round or multiple-round elections are effectively the same as AV, but this has not been got across.

They aren’t though. There are important differences, especially given that in the example of the Tory leadership election, there were two separate electorates. It’s certainly not the same as FPTP, and if the Tories were saying that every possible sort of election should only ever be decided by FPTP, then there’d be some double-standards going on. But they aren’t, so there isn’t.

@42 oldpolitics

The general point stands, even if the scale is open to debate. It is the Labour party that is over represented / given an advantage in the current set up. According to Thrasher’s analysis pre the 2010 GE, this broke down as follows:

“The total advantage it gets from the voting system going into the 2010 election is worth around 83 seats. By contrast the disadvantage to the Conservative party is about 21 seats while for the Liberal Democrats it is larger, 52 seats. ….. Labour’s advantage from smaller electorates in city-based constituencies is now only four seats, suggesting that the independent boundary review process has mostly worked. Winning in low turnout areas gives it a further advantage of 17 seats but its biggest advantage, worth some 41 seats, stems from a more efficient vote distribution.”

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/Does-The-Voting-System-Favour-Labour-Professor-Michael-Thrasher-Explains/Article/201004415621139?lpos=Politics_Article_Related_Content_Region_4&lid=ARTICLE_15621139_Does_The_Voting_System_Favour_Labour_Professor_Mi

I don’t care much for people slagging each other off – please take it to another blog, and stick to discussion about the campaign.

@45 Tim J

If your argument is that you should use different types of voting systems (or rather use the “best” system) depending on the nature of the electorate and number of candidates standing, then the Tories ought to be supporting the scrapping of FPTP, because it is designed for (or “works best in”) situations with only 2 candidates…. much like the last section of their leadership contest.

The only reason they don’t support such a change is that they APPROVE of the unfairness of the current system, and are quite sanguine about any huge mismatch between the % of votes gained, and number of seats won, because it suits their narrow party interest to do so.

Hang on. How does ‘the general point stand’? Your point was quite specific.

“Labour is over represented because their seats tend to have smaller electorates, especially in urban areas where population has declined and moved to the suburbs”.

Thrasher says

“Labour’s advantage from smaller electorates in city-based constituencies is now only four seats, suggesting that the independent boundary review process has mostly worked.”

The Tory boundary review is designed to build in a Tory advantage to compensate for the effects of differential turnout. That’s a gerrymander, because differential turnout between (as opposed to within) constituencies should not affect the overall result, in a single-member districted system. It’s not “unfair”, it’s the nature of the set-up.

Whilst the No to Av camp are spreading lies, the Yes campaign has been over-promising and making grand, emotional claims. I don’t think it’s in their interest to campaign that way, it just gives the No camp a chance to retaliate.

The Tory boundary review is designed to build in a Tory advantage to compensate for the effects of differential turnout. That’s a gerrymander, because differential turnout between (as opposed to within) constituencies should not affect the overall result, in a single-member districted system.

The establishment of equal-sized constituencies could hardly be further away from gerrymandering without falling over. It will also not address differential turnout at all.

Tim J “Because different types of election are better suited by different methods of voting”

HO HO HO

A tory wriggling like a maggot on a hook.

Translated into English…….. “tory people when electing their own leader should have a fairer system than FPTP. But the public at large, not so much.”

From the horses mouth.

I think the yes campaign haven’t done enough to tap into the general post-expenses mistrust of politicians. The fact the 90% of the political establishment are supporting the no campaign should only be a negative for them.

Except, Sally, that until they airbrushed their website, the Electoral Reform Society agreed – no Tories they. AV is appropriate for a single-person election, not for an assembly election. I did a long post explaining why a little while ago;

http://s.coop/votingsystems

Tim, while “The establishment of equal-sized constituencies could hardly be further away from gerrymandering without falling over” may be true, that is already – within the boundaries of sensible shapes and community identity, the Electoral Commission’s job.

This is about making Labour constituencies larger, by ignoring the millions of people we know exist, but are not on the electoral register, when drawing up the constituency boundaries.

That is to say, ignoring the existence of people who move a lot, or aren’t as good at filling in forms, or are politically disengaged, or are renting insecurely. Do you think they mostly live in Labour constituencies, or Tory ones?

“I think the yes campaign haven’t done enough to tap into the general post-expenses mistrust of politicians.”

You having a laugh? 🙂

They’ve done almost nothing but that! It didn’t work, because they’re politicians too, and everyone knows it.

I have contributed to the yes campaign – I dont think they are doing a very good job of what should be a total shoo-in, with the right message. The leaflet i got through my door almost sent me to sleep and I am a massive supporter of this reform. GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE!

On another note, why are you letting those disingenuous/naive useful idiots no2av, yes to PR advertise on this site, Sunny?

@ 49 oldpolitics

The general point stands, because the original claim made by sally was that the reduction in seat numbers was being gerrymandered by the Tories. I disagreed and said that in fact the current system favours Labour, which is true.

I wasn’t aware of Thrasher’s work, and have only found a few sources on an initial search, but the point stands because he says Labour gain a 4 seat advantage (altho’ admittedly this is less than it used to be due to boundary commission changes). It may not be much, but it is still 4 seats…. so Thrasher’s research supports both my points, i.e. that Labour have most to gain by the current system, and that they gain from smaller urban constituencies.

Your point then is what….?

This is about making Labour constituencies larger, by ignoring the millions of people we know exist, but are not on the electoral register, when drawing up the constituency boundaries.

Constituencies have always been determined on the basis of the electoral register. This really is a red herring.

52 – I don’t really see that the electoral system that led to Iain Duncan Smith being elected Tory leader should be considered as some sort of ideal. In fact, I think the Tory leadership electoral method is a bit of a disaster.

@57 It’s four seats! This “great injustice” that the Tories are remedying boils down to… four seats? We were lead to believe the system was so rotten it may as well be sending Arthur Scargill down from Old Sarum, and yet the net result is to boost Labour from 254 MPs to 258? And for that, we have to tear up historic boundaries, lose 50 MPs, and you don’t see anything suspicious about that.

Hmm.

@60 oldpolitics

Whether it is 4 or 40 it should be addressed; the fact that it is lower now is a result of the electoral commission doing it’s job relatively well – but it is still a falwed and unfair system, and as Thrasher shows, weighted in favour of one party for a number of reasons, not just this one.

Also, if Labour had a very small minority after a future GE under this system, it WOULD be a problem.

“weighted in favour of one party for a number of reasons, not just this one”

Weighted in favour of Labour primarily because working class voters are less likely to turn out. You can only “fix that” with national list PR. Although personally I’m not that interested in fixing something whose net effect is to protect the political representation of low-turnout groups, I think that’s as much a feature as a bug.

So we should have less fair boundaries because particular people are not inclined to vote or even register to vote?

@60 oldpolitics

“And for that, we have to tear up historic boundaries, lose 50 MPs, and you don’t see anything suspicious about that.”

The boundaries have always been subject to change, and I don’t think “tradition” should be used as some joker card to preserve things in aspic. Why do your think 650 MP’s are necessary, and not 600, or 550? Plenty of countries larger than ours have smaller numbers of MP’s.

I have no love for the Tories at all… but the correct response to anything they suggest isn’t invariably “it’s a fit up”, even if the result in this case would be slightly in their favour. I never heard Labour complaining much when they were the beneficiaries, but no doubt they’d be howling if the boot was on the other foot?

The unfairness in the current system HAS worked in the Tories favour in the past, so rather than try to frig an already discredited system… why not adopt one that solves the problem altogether?

Course, given the current situation people will probably vote no just to give that dolt Clegg a kicking. 🙁

“Plenty of countries larger than ours have smaller numbers of MP’s.”

And separately elected executives, and more powerful local government. Therefore they don’t have the same problems with a smaller legislature that we will have; increased executive dominance, and reduced casework effectiveness.

“I don’t think “tradition” should be used as some joker card to preserve things in aspic”

No, but constituency boundaries which cross local government boundaries are likely to become appreciably more common under this new system, and for MPs as community leaders, and, again, for casework effectiveness, that’s a bad thing.

“So we should have less fair boundaries because particular people are not inclined to vote or even register to vote?”

We certainly shouldn’t have more unfair boundaries to punish them for it – which is the current plan.

oldpolitics,

You do realise that boundaries change all the time? I’m sitting in a metropolitan authority, formerly part of a new country, previously a section of a shire which was swapped back and forwards with another shire…

Boundaries do not make communities – people do. And increasingly, communities are not localised, but spread out (there is probably more community on this site than there is in my local centre for example – although to be fair my councillors are trying there best).

@65 oldpolitcs

The Electoral Reform Society table here:

http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/?p=56

shows that the UK is toward the top of the table when it comes to number of MP’s, and has a relatively low number of people per MP. There is still nothing “magical” about the 650 number; indeed it might be argued that a smaller House with more work done in committee would be a good thing.

I’d be all for more powerful local government, but I still don’t accept that because some other states have it, or are federal and have an extra tier, or that they have a stronger executive/presidential system, it means that we MUST have 650 MP’s, and not fewer.

You may have a point relating to boundaries cutting across local government boundaries; but it just means you have to be more careful in delineating constituencies. There may also be some advantages to promoting cross-jurisdictional constituencies.

It does seem somewhat odd that Japan, with 126million people can cope with just 480 MP’s, and that France with 3 million more people than the UK has 577.

In reference to the original post – is it any surprise that the Yes and No campaigns are both crap?

Yes have to overcome a major handicap. In the pub on Friday conversation got round to AV – one of my friends is a big supporter of this (has been an advocate for over a decade – perhaps the entire thing is his fault…) – and I pointed out it was ridicously complicated. He claimed it wasn’t – the two of us then spent ten minutes explaining the workings of it to a third friend who is highly numerate and intelligent (just less politically aware), which kind of made my point… For Yes to show the benefits to voters, they have to be able to explain to the voters what they are signing up for, and they have not got time.

No meanwhile just need to show it is unfair, relatively complicated and a politician’s stitch up, which aren’t actual lies (I can defend any of them) but are rather simple and negative messages. Basically, unless Yes came up with a good campaign, No would always have a relatively low-key, negative campaign – and a good Yes campaign would probably have caused more negativitiy in the No campaign rather than a raising of their game.

Above all though, I get the feeling this is something that is being seen as being driven by an urban elite – all those who I know who support it are middle-class, educated and live in cities (albeit one or two want to move to the country…), and (coincidentally?) white; everyone I know from ethnic minorities, the working class (that’s those who would self-define that way) and an urban background is against. The Yes campaign may have failed to understand that even the perceived benefits (Matt doesn’t really indicate what these are…) may not be widely seen as such?

@68 watchman

I think the fall from grace of the LD’s and the reaction to the heady days of “I agree with Nick” has a big part to play in the fact the Yes campaign has been such a damp squib.

They should have made much more of an issue of the principle of unfairness involved in parties getting 20 odd % of the votes, and a trivial number of seats, and unhitched it from the currently toxic LD’s. I think if full PR had been an option (either in a second round vote, or instead of AV) we’d have a different situation.

Why not determine constituencies from the data provided by the census which is updated every ten years. An MP does not just represent people on the electoral register so I don’t see why the size of the electoral register should be the data used. Tax records, social security and census data could all give a more accurate picture than the electoral register.

Above all though, I get the feeling this is something that is being seen as being driven by an urban elite

For reasons that escape me, the Yes camp has run their campaign on the same lines as ‘Britain in Europe’. It’s been a classic political class campaign, right down to the recruitment of Colin Firth and Eddie Izzard as being sufficiently ‘hip’.

Galen10 @ 33:

“Scotland (or for that matter the poorer English regions) aren’t subsidy junkies; if anything it is the SE that enjoys subsidies, given the over-centralised nature of the UK”

Figures, please!

In principle, I do not object to the richer parts of a currency union subsidising the poorer by transfers — that’s why we are in a currency union, after all. That said, we ‘mere English’ subsidise Scottish profligacy; and when the Barnett Formula is revised, it seems that Scottish taxpayers will have to find £4-5 Billion pa out of a budget of £30 billion pa. But Scotland generates very little wealth; and, indeed, its economy is dominated by the public sector — an amazing and unsustainable ‘communist-level’ of 74% public sector in Ayrshire, for example.

Galen 10,

You may be right about Nick Clegg poisioning the campaign, but I suspect that is the normal media and political spin about how important personalities are, whilst forgetting the fact that voters are fully capable of considering issues themselves.

They should have made much more of an issue of the principle of unfairness involved in parties getting 20 odd % of the votes, and a trivial number of seats, and unhitched it from the currently toxic LD’s. I think if full PR had been an option (either in a second round vote, or instead of AV) we’d have a different situation.

I’m not sure – PR requires parties to select the representatives, so the No campaign would simply be much more anti-politics. I think the reformers forgot to check people wanted change to be honest – the normal echo chamber thing, whereby if you repeat an idea amongst yourselves enough then you think it is true. Basically, people don’t actually believe the current system is broken or unfair (mind you, the outcome might still surprise us…).

Watchman/73: PR requires parties to select the representatives

Depends what sort of PR. Single Transferable Vote doesn’t require parties at all, nor does it give them any particular advantage; Open List PR requires parties to provide a list of candidates – as with any election – but allows the voters to choose which candidates from that list are elected, and doesn’t disadvantage independents more than FPTP does.

Closed List PR – as used to elect MEPs in Britain, and the top-up members in the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments – is like that, of course, and it’s entirely intentional that this is the only experience of PR that most English voters will have. But it’s fortunately not the only possible PR system.

cim,

I could accept the STV and open-lest point, albeit I don’t see STV and open-list as PR because PR is surely about matching the vote cast to the representation, and both systems will throw up oddities.

STV, perhaps… it depends exactly what you mean by “proportional representation”. I’ve never seen a particularly good definition of what proportional even means when the ballot papers themselves are preferential [1], but certainly it would probably give marginally less proportional results in the conventional sense of “proportional to expressed first preferences” than a list system.

Open list, though, gives exactly the same number of people elected from each party as closed list – but the ordering within each party list is determined by who gets the most individual votes from the electorate, rather than in advance by the parties. If anything that should be slightly less distorting than closed list as the “I generally like party X, but not candidate X1” voters can vote freely for party X without supporting X1.

[1] The mathematical definition that every bloc vote of X% of the electorate can get X% (or as close to X% as the rounding errors of only having a finite number of candidates elected allow) of the candidates be its preferred ones even if the rest of the electorate strongly disagrees is true of STV, though it still leaves questions about the interaction between proportionality and preferences unanswered.

The Yes to AV campaign looks too much like a leftie love-in and therefore a partisan campaign. Contrast with the NOP campaign which has both Tories and lefties on board. Yes have brought UKIP on board to attract right-wing Tory voters.

*should have

Galen10 @ 33:

Incidentally, one table I saw recently showed that Scotland was third in the world for the extent of its reliance on the state for its GDP — after North Korea and Cuba. So far, I cannot find said table again; and, anyway, I would still be at least slightly sceptical. However, I fear the general point is not wide of the mark.

80. Sevillista

Back to the old chestnut of the seat reforms to allow the Tories a whopping majority in 2015 from 35% of the vo…er reverse Labour’s gerrymandered electoral boundaries.

The Tory arguments for their electoral boundary reforms make little sense and are inconsistent with their arguments for FPTP. I they truly believed what the supposed boundary reform arguments they should support PR.

The FPTP system is designed to give a massive Parliamentary majority to a party with slightly more votes at General Election time. This is a feature of FPTP that the Tories and the no campaign have been trumpeting – it makes for “decisive government” apparently. 

Looking at the “vote efficiency” (in terms of votes per seat) over time bears this out. The winner of every general election  (with the exceptions of 1950 and 2010) Tory and Labour, had fewer votes required per seat than the loser.

As Labour lost the last election, the apparent “unfairness” referred to by Tories has all but disappeared. If Labour and Tory votes were as efficient as each other at the last election (19,313,281 Tory and Labour votes, 564 Tory and Labour seats therefore 34,243 votes per seat), the Tories would have won a whole SEVEN extra seats and Parliament would still have been hung. A vote for Labour is little more efficient than a vote for the Tories- symptomatic of a hung parliament rather than any boundary unfairness.

Also interesting that the Tories won the 1951 election with a 17 seat majority despite polling 231,000 less votes than Labour. So the loser won under FPTP. Something for “Yes to AV” leaflets?

81. Charlieman

@67 Galen10: “It does seem somewhat odd that Japan, with 126million people can cope with just 480 MP’s, and that France with 3 million more people than the UK has 577.”

My guess is that actual MP numbers are chance and that there is a fairly wide range that “works” in centralised countries (Japan, France and the UK centralise in different ways, and England is particularly centralised within the UK). The magic number of MPs that works is not about population size but the nature of assemblies. And to some degree, electorates and electoral systems.

Once you reach ~500 MPs eccentrics start to become elected, even under FPTP or AV. Eccentrics may be bad or good individuals, but if your parliament comprises 120 individuals (eg Israel’s Knesset) there is little room for any oddballs inside parties. In the UK, ~650 MPs delivers good oddballs in mainstream parties plus occasional independents.

~650 UK MPs gives a good spread on parliamentary committees and discourages group think. Group think doesn’t only occur within parties; parliament has created library shelves full of nonsense that was agreed by all parties; contradicting group think nonsense is not guaranteed.

Big assemblies mean that work load is spread and MPs have the chance to think about policy, not just implementation and case work. The opportunity to think does not mean that MPs will do so, but eliminates an excuse for when they do not.

Today with ~650, the number of MPs can be reduced a smidge whilst maintaining diversity. My concern is that when the electorate grows in the next 15 years, constituencies that have elected oddballs are placed into the boundary commission blender and there is no space for eccentrics to seed themselves.

82. Jonathan Phillips

Why couldn’t the Yes campaign have started with something like this:

What’s wrong with “first past the post”?

It can let the least popular candidate win, that’s what. Henry Hardnose would lose to Gloria Goodheart in a straight fight. He would lose to Ken Kindleyside in a straight fight. But if Gloria and Ken both stood Henry could get in on a minority vote, even though he is less popular than either of his opponents. http://bit.ly/fldUMZ

AV ensures that a candidate who is widely disliked cannot win and that MPs must have the backing of a genuine majority. http://bit.ly/fgHxR0

If “first past the post” is so brilliant, why don’t the Tories use it to elect their leader? If it isn’t good enough for them, why is it good enough for the rest of us?

If AV is so awful, why do MPs use it to elect committee chairs and why do peers use it to elect the Lord Speaker? If it’s good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for the rest of us?

It’s simple points like these that Yes! should have been hammering. As well as pointing out e.g. that the rich Tory donors that are funding the No! campaign are not doing it for the sake of democracy or their immortal souls.

83. Charlieman

@77 Richard: “Yes have brought UKIP on board to attract right-wing Tory voters.”

The Yes campaign is not an “invitation only” event. UKIP joined because they have done well out of PR in European Parliament elections and perceive that UKIP performs badly under FPTP for UK elections, even in areas where they have won votes under PR. In spite of such evidence, some UKIP members are no doubt campaigning for FPTP.

Under AV, UKIP would gain many more first preferences for UK parliamentary elections than they get under cross in the box. That would be a kick in the teeth to Cameron and genuinely liberal Conservatives. And that’s fair enough. As long as UKIP tries to screen out racist candidates and officials, they are contributors to multiparty democracy.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned that’s a real failing of the Yes campaign isn’t so much the messaging (though that leaves a LOT to be desired), but simply the fact that they haven’t been in contact with a large proportion of the electorate. I don’t know one person who’s received a Yes leaflet through their door, but pretty much everybody I know has received the No leaflet. If my friends and family are representative of the country as a whole in that regard, then it’s no wonder that the No campaign are leading in the polls, regardless of the strength of the arguments.

@ 79. paul ilc

The public expenditure and tax revenue figures for the UK regions are not very accurate. If a company doing business throughout the UK and overseas just happens to have their HQ in London, their corporation tax is counted as a London contribution to the Treasury. For example, BP are not specifically a London company although that is where they have their HQ. There are thousands of examples like BP. Why should it be counted as a London contribution to the Treasury when a company sells something in Newcastle? Actually measuring tax contributions accurately is almost impossible.

On the public expenditure side obviously expenditure is higher in some areas than others. Spending follows need rather than a per head basis so the fact it varies is hardly surprising. Most public expenditure is providing services and transfer payments. However, there is a huge amount of public expenditure that effectively goes into the economy of London and the South East that is not identified to those areas. The Treasury counts it as national spending not identified to a region. However, the people involved live and work in those regions and the money circulates in the local economy generating employment and VAT receipts back to the Treasury. Again the Treasury counts the receipts as London and South East VAT contributions to the Treasury. Therefore, regional spending and tax receipts are much less accurate than simple snapshots often suggest.

Scotland probably does get a better deal than some other regions in England. However, there are a couple of reasons for that arrangement. Outside of the density of the Central Belt the population is more dispersed than in England. Therefore, providing public services will always be more expensive. Moreover, there are pockets of quite acute poverty with poor health outcomes in some areas of the Central Belt that receive a lot of the public spending and transfer payments. Strangely enough they tend to be in areas where the heavy industries were ravaged during the 1980s. However, that can at face value look as if it is an unfair settlement vis-a-vis other UK regions. Primarily, because Scotland overall in terms of GDP gross value added (GVA) and GDP per capita is third only to London and the South East in the UK. So the picture that one gets looking at Scotland as a region against most other regions in England is that Scotland overall is more prosperous than the English regions but gets higher public spending. However, that can be misleading without taking account of the areas of poverty.

I am sure Mr Cameron and Mr Salmond will sort it out amicably. They could always call it quid pro quo for Scotland providing over 20% of the armed forces from only 9% of the UK population.

86. Charlieman

@73 Watchman: “Basically, people don’t actually believe the current system is broken or unfair (mind you, the outcome might still surprise us…).”

That’s a strong argument. The Yes campaign has not convinced me, a Yes backer, to believe that the system is broken. I know that it is broken, but not because of their intervention.

Voters turn out to back a candidate with strong opinions who they believe in, a candidate who is certain to lose. Not many, but a few. Voters tactically back the winnable candidate who can beat the anti-tribe whilst preferring another. That is a lot of people who recognise that the system is broken.

“Yes to AV’ needs passion. FPTP only allows you to vote for conventional candidates in the belief of victory. AV liberates people to act bonkers; you can vote for the eccentric and subsequently vote for the conventional. Honesty accepts that people may vote for the BNP, non-winners under AV, and deserve a second choice.

The “Yes to AV” campaign team need to get their heads around the idea that “No to AV” represents convention. “Yes to AV” should be about men and women delivering votes that count, not symbolism or tactics. “No” is acceptance of power or complicity.

Not a campaign theme, I accept.

83 – as I commented below, there was a typo. It was meant to say “Yes should have brought UKIP on board”. In other words they should have been given more prominence by the Yes campaign.

YES mistakes include being a leftie love-in and the irrational ditching of Clegg (who might benefit if AV goes down because of this).

And the feeling their hearts aren’t in it – that they’re closet PR fans really.

By the way PR? Forget it. If you can’t sell AV you sure as he’ll won’t convince the British people to vote for PR – which breaks the constituency link. Naysayers would have a field day with that.

So FPTP it is for perhaps a generation or two. Opportunity well and truly missed.

Interesting that the Tories will get their way on all aspects of electoral reform – reducing MPs and equalising constituencies – is there a better leitmotif of LibDem and New Labour failure to stand up for themselves?

@72 & 79 Paul

Slightly off topic perhaps, but I refer you to the points raised in the response @ 85 above from Richard W. You should beware of simplistic, ill thought out sound bites about the Scots being dependency junkies, and/or the other false memes so beloved of the English metropolitan media.

There are of course lies, damned lies and statistics, but as Richard W has amply demonstrated it is actually the bloated SE of England which is dependant on huge subsidies, and which benefits disproportionately from central government expenditure and investment.

The Scots have also shown that a sensible form of electoral reform can work, and have at least managed to enact some policies that many in England might wish their “government” had the courage to enact and pay for. Alex Salmond is walking all over the opposition in Scotland because even those opposed to independence think he and his party are more impressive than the alternatives; Nick Clegg ought to think on that for a while, particularly if the AV vote is lost!

If the labour party were united and standing up behind this cause, it would have no problem getting through (the gap between the no and yes at the moment is mainly made up of the labour voters who are against). as it is, if this fails (I still have a reasonable hope of success) then it squarely the fault of labour’s iredeemable reactionary right, who as a whole I see as the country (and party)’s greatest obstacle to reform and progression, as usual. How can we be rid of this vile cancer on the body politic?

“less safe seats”! fewer, I think.

“labour’s iredeemable reactionary right”

Well-known right-wingers like Mitchell, Thornberry, Skinner, Beckett, Cryer? It’s a cosy narrative, but there’s no easy left-right split on this issue. Plenty on the left of the party against AV, plenty on the right for it – believing correctly that it will isolate the left electorally.

93. patricia roche

for the first time in my life I am going to vote a way that the majority of tories do. I am going to vote no to AV. There are a number of reasons for this,not least the way that the lib dems speak so nastily about labour voters, of which I am one. The second major reason is that if Clegg et al want it, then I do not. If they had only done a case by case basis and not a coalition, then the evil cuts they have done would not have gone through.

@93

You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem: Labour had 13 years to do the right thing on electoral reform – were you pushing for it then, or were you against it?

A big part of the reason we are in this mess is New Labour; if you supported them, you share in the blame.

@93 How do you think Labour were planning to “more than halve the deficit in 4 years” (manifesto) without the same “evil cuts”?

Or does a few months delay make them good cuts?

Confidence and Supply would still have required Lib Dems to sign up the cuts timetable. If a government can’t get agreement on supply, then it falls. Fresh election, Tory majority. No tax cuts for the poor, inheritance tax cuts for the rich.

Are you seriously suggesting that the Tory right are having a more benign influence on this government than the Lib Dems are?

96. patricia roche

What I am saying is that AV is in the balance – lib dems for – tories against. Instead of arguments all that the lib dems have done is slam labour voters and the poor and vulnerable at the same time. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however the lib dems are going to find that the voters have deserted them in droves, and the way this will manifest itself is with a no to av vote, which the tories will ensure, and the loss of many seats because the lib dems are the government of cuts in tuition health and other vital services. It does not matter what labor might might not have done. You just do not know. The tories will not care what happens to the lib dems. The voters will show they believe they have sold out.

97. CornwallNews

The proposed AV v FPTP UK Referendum consists of a contrived, fabricated and simplistic bipolar choice of only two inadequate options set against unfit UK Electoral Law, unfit UK Electoral Registers and unfit UK Election Returning Officer negligible powers of cross-constituency scrutiny. Election Returning Officers will be unable to guarantee ‘One Person-One Vote’ nor to sign off ANY part of such a referendum as ‘true’, ‘democratic’, ‘free’ or ‘fair’.

Here are fundamental AV v FPTP BOGUS REFERENDUM flaws:

1. UK Electoral Law – NOT ‘fit for purpose’.
2. UK Electoral Registers – NOT ‘fit for purpose’.
3. UK CERO powers – NOT ‘fit for purpose’.

A UK REFERENDUM MUST, ON PRINCIPLE, BE GUARANTEED TO BE VERIFIABLY AND GENUINELY ‘ONE PERSON-ONE VOTE’.

IF THIS AV v FPTP BOGUS REFERENDUM IS ATTEMPTED IT WILL NOT BE.

BOGUS UK ELECTORAL REGISTERS = BOGUS REFERENDUM:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/second_home_voters_1.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/secret_ballots_and_second_home.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/worried_about_second_home_vote.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/kevins_too_busy_to_probe_secon.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/game_on.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2010/06/a_letter_to_the_chief.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2011/04/some_second_home_voters_purged.html

In the face of such corrupt and non-democratic electoral foundations, these may be the only rational responses to the RUBBISH REFERENDUM:

BOYCOTT THE LIBERAL DEMOCRAT CONSERVATIVE PARTY CAMERON CLEGG COALITION BOGUS AV v FPTP REFERENDUM.

OR

SPOIL YOUR BALLOT PAPER WITH A SUITABLY CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE BOGUS AV v FPTP UK REFERENDUM – A LIBDEMCON COALITION CON.

NOTE: ALL SPOILED BALLOT PAPERS HAVE TO BE RECORDED AND NUMBERS PUBLISHED.

ANYONE WHO VALUES GENUINE DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES AND WISHES TO SEE GENUINE ‘ONE PERSON-ONE VOTE’ DEMOCRACY IN THE UK WILL NOT ENDORSE THIS ABSURD, INFANTILE, UNSOUND, NON-CREDIBLE, SHALLOW, RESTRICTED AND INSULTING BOGUS REFERENDUM WITH THEIR VALUABLE VOTE.

CONSIDER THIS:
IF THE NUMBER OF SPOILED BALLOT PAPERS EXCEEDS THE ‘YES’s, THE ‘NO’s or BOTH – WHAT NEXT?

With our compliments
The Editors
CN

Well I hope you naive labour fools are going to be happy when Cameron and Osbourne’s well-fed faces are beaming obnoxious grins on friday, because it will be your fault.

99. patricia roche

joe these labour ‘fools’ are backing av – or is that not what the lib dems want? the ones who are not backing av are the ones you are in government with. You are the governement arn’t you? I was not saying I am not backing av I am saying that it might be a good idea to lay off labour voters. They are already having a hard enough time of it putting up with the constant carping from the tory led government. The lib dems seem to hate us.

100. Galen10

@98 patricia

However good your intentions personally, you can’t simply gloss over 13 years of the nauseating New Labour project, and expect people to accept that Labour has changed. Many of us are convinced it has not, as those many anti-AV voices in Labour amply demonstrate.

Labour share a huge amount of the blame for the current situation, so it is hardly surprising people suspect their motives now.

patricia i am not and never have been a lib dem, in fact I cant stand them, but im not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. a change in the electoral system is the only chance, however slight, of change in this country short of a revolution – and without the prospect of change in these coming, critical, years the future of our country will be very miserable indeed.

much better Yes to AV leaflet through post yesterday…about time

Thing is, no one really believes in AV, do they? Plenty of us believe in PR, but since the Lib Dems sold out, we’re left with a choice between two systems that are really not that different. In a sane world, STV and other forms of PR would be on the table – it’s ridiculous to have a referendum without considering those options.

104. Davey MAN

Sally really needs to get laid. Perhaps it will screw the farcical and insulting Nazi comparisons she/it spews forth from her fetid Red mouth.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  2. neilrfoster

    RT @libcon: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  3. Sean Gittins

    RT @libcon: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  4. kevinrye

    RT @libcon Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs / bang on. #yes2av messaging is very messy

  5. Delta

    RT @libcon: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  6. Mike Rampling

    RT @libcon: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  7. Matt Wootton

    blow me, I has nother blog piece on Liberal Conspiracy @sunnyhundal http://tinyurl.com/3mn2uag "Why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing"

  8. Matt Wootton

    @Jon_Bartley http://tinyurl.com/3mn2uag Hope there's something useful here Jon. Please, if you forward this to the Comms team make it matter

  9. Alan Marshall

    RT @libcon Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  10. Duncan Borrowman

    RT @aboutpower: RT @libcon Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  11. paulstpancras

    Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/pCkU2oa via @libcon

  12. Simon Davies

    Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/j2YojO

  13. sunny hundal

    Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs << spot on analysis by @mattwootton

  14. Greg Eden

    RT @sunny_hundal: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs << spot on analysis by @mattwootton

  15. Duncan Borrowman

    RT @libcon: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  16. Charlie Beckett

    Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/OVVvWmO <Interesting & true!

  17. Pam Smith

    Yes2AV campaign is putting the wrong case: Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/OVVvWmO via @CharlieBeckett

  18. Liberal Ideals

    Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign's message is failing …: Transactional politics is a frame, a context, i… http://bit.ly/iprAiZ

  19. Richard N

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/04/28/electoral-reform-why-the-yes-campaigns-message-is-failing/

  20. Nick H.

    RT @sunny_hundal: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs << spot on analysis by @mattwootton

  21. Matt Wootton

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs << spot on analysis by @mattwootton #greenwordsworkshop

  22. Mr Creek

    RT @libcon: Electoral reform: why the Yes Campaign’s message is failing http://bit.ly/kJraYs

  23. The ‘Yes to AV’ campaign: let the post-mortems begin | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] deep overall failure to message adequately, as my colleague Matt Wootton has argued here on LC. The problem began with the failure of the YES side to establish that there was a profound […]





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