Why David Cameron is wrong about AV

I got a letter from David Cameron this week, telling me why he’s No to AV.  I know this is way off-topic for this blog, but I’m really angry at his misleading letter.  So this is his letter, and my response in red;

Dear Elector […] I’m asking you to support our campaign and say no to AV.


AV is unfair: With our current system, everyone gets one vote.  But under AV, supporters of extreme parties like the BNP would be more likely to get their votes counted more times, meaning their votes are worth more than yours.

This is so inflammatory mentioning the BNP.  Yes, AV will give smaller parties the opportunity to gather votes.  But the current system is unfair.  If you don’t want to vote for one of the three main parties, your vote doesn’t count at all.  There are so many ‘safe’ seats where it’s completely unfair for the majority of residents.  Central party HQ decides who the candidate will be, and any vote for anyone else is completely wasted.  AV will limit the number of safe seats, and enfranchise thousands of people who currently know that their vote is wasted.

AV is unclear: Under AV, the candidate who finishes third can be declared the winner thanks to an unclear, complicated voting process.  It’s like someone coming third in a running race winning the gold medal.

Under the current system, you don’t need a majority to win.  This could mean that 6o or 70 or even 80 per cent of people can vote against a candidate who then goes on to win.  Under AV, all these people get the chance to have their vote against a candidate counted.   Politics isn’t a race, it’s about getting the person and government who best represents people’s views.

AV is unpopular: Just three countries in the world – Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia – use AV, compared to almost half the world’s electors who use our current system.

So if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you?  Actually, the key statement here is that they’re only measuring against countries in the world who vote LIKE US.  If you actually add up all the different ways of governing, perhaps we should consider some kind of religious or millitary totalitarian regime.  

AV is expensive:  Calculating the results is a long, complicated process, which could cost the taxpayer millions.

And this is the point I get really angry.  The actual figures for the increased cost are more like a couple of hundred thousand.  The ‘millions’ includes all the costs we already have for carrying out elections.  This is suggesting we’d be better off under a totalitarian regime, because it would be cheaper.  So who are you suggesting Dave?  The current crop of people JUST LIKE YOU?   These arguments are about representation.  It’s about being able to vote against the status-quo.  And using completely misleading figures is why we want to be able to vote against the status quo.  

So my summary – this is why I’m Yes to AV.  It’s fairer, it’s clearer, it’s hardly any more expensive.  It will help stop the idea that we have safe seats.  It will give us more choice than the simple Tory / Labour that we’ve had for the last century.

Sorry this is so off my usual topics, but I’m pleased to have got this off my chest.  Thank you!


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