|Arguments against AV put together by CLPD’s Secretary|
|Sunday, 19 December 2010|
• AV benefits the Lib Dems. It has been estimated by the British election study team at Essex University that under AV the number of Lib Dem MPs would rise from 57 to 89, while the Tories would drop from 307 to 285 and labour from 258 to 248.
• The only countries using AV are Australia, Fiji and the Pacific island of Nauru (The Papua New Guineans dropped it and the Fijians are having their doubts).
• AV makes coalition governments much more likely. The Lib Dems will be the kingmakers – they are as likely to go with the Tories as with Labour. “AV opens the door to a new political world in which coalitions become the norm, and single-party majority government a distant memory. Defeat for AV could quickly end the Coalition Government. But success would bind it together – for a long time to come” Vernon Bogdanor, Cameron’s tutor at Oxford.• AV does not take account of the second preferences of all voters, only those of the least successful candidates. This was a point made about AV by Winston Churchill in 1931 – “The decision is to be determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”. In other words, an MP’s success could be determined by the preferences of UKIP or BNP voters. This situation could therefore well lead to the major parties adjusting their policies, for example on immigration, in order to appeal to the prejudices of these voters in the hope of picking up their transferred preferences.
• There are many more spoilt ballot papers under AV.
• AV will not make politics more open and honourable. After a general election we would see unseemly horse trading between parties, with manifesto promises and campaign commitments being jettisoned.
• AV may not produce a more proportional result than FPTP. For example under AV in Alberta Canada, one party obtained 90% of the seats on 54% of the vote.
• AV has been described as an “anti-incumbent” system, which accelerates trends.
• Under AV tactical voting becomes part of the electoral architecture. AV encourages tactical voting in a structured and formalised way.
• If you live in a constituency where Labour is in third place, your vote for Labour is totally disregarded and has no effect concerning Labour. It becomes a full-value vote for the Lib Dems if you transfer to them.
• It is possible for a more weakly preferred candidate to end up winning. AV would quite often produce Lib Dem victories in constituencies that are either primarily Labour or primarily Tory.
• “AV led to a significant drop in the number of people voting in Australia – that’s why they had to make voting compulsory. AV doesn’t help democracy, it stands in its way”. Margaret Beckett.