Democracy and AV

April 26, 2011 at 2:55 PM 2 comments

Britain is supposed to be a democratic country. According to Wikipedia “Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives.”

So then, Britain is not a democracy!

Our current system of electing a government, known as FPTP or First Past the Post, is the least democratic voting system we could have (assuming we are not likely to change to a worse one, which might be a false assumption…). People who live in a safe seat area (where the favoured party could put up a donkey and it would get elected (mind you, I’d vote for a donkey rather some politicians…!)) do not have a vote, effectively. They can vote, but their vote does not count.

Therefore, if their vote does not count, they do not have an equal say in how their country is governed with someone who lives in a marginal seat area.

So Britain is not a democracy.

AV is less undemocratic. Any Proportional Representation (PR) system is less undemocratic than the ridiculous, antiquated and outdated system we currently use.

AV is not the best of the PR systems, but the wretched government would not allow a referendum on any other system, so I shall have to vote yes to AV because it is less bad than FPTP.

Yes to fairer votes campaign logo

If you want to read more about the yes campaign, this is their website.

We learned about FPTP in school, over 20 years ago and I was astonished then that we still used such an unfair and corrupt system. Because it relies on the geographical boundaries of the voting areas, the party in power can redefine those boundaries to maximise its own safe seats and minimise the opposition’s safe seats. That is not democratic, it is corrupt!

Oh, it sounds fine in theory, the person with the most votes wins. But that is within a narrow geographical area, whose boundaries are defined as I said, by the party in power.

I decided back then that if there was ever a vote to change the system to PR I would support that. I’ve had to wait a long time for that opportunity!

Wikipedia says: “To a greater extent than many other electoral methods, the first-past-the-post system encourages tactical voting. Voters have an incentive to vote for one of the two candidates they predict are most likely to win, even if they would prefer another of the candidates to win, because a vote for any other candidate will likely be “wasted” and have no impact on the final result.”

The whole system needs a massive overhaul!

Even if AV gets in, which I doubt because most people can’t be bothered to take the time to understand the issues and will therefore probably be apathetic and either not bother to vote at all or take the easy option and vote for the status quo, it is such a tiny step.

But one tiny step in the right direction is better than nothing.

What are your views?

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Running out of time… Tiiiired…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ruarigh  |  April 26, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    I am in total agreement with you. Full PR would have been better, but I shall settle for AV in the first instance. At least if we can prove that changing the voting system will not cause the end of civilisation as we know it, then we can show people that there are other options and they might be more comfortable with the move.

  • 2. Kieran Hamilton  |  April 26, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    I must admit I didn’t fully understand AV until recently, and until I compared the two I didn’t see the problems with FPTP, however they are pretty obvious to me now!


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