Despite a twitter uprising, the noble AV cause is totally lost. I guess about 25-75. It is a terrible shame as there really exist no strong arguments against AV and numerous strong arguments against FPTP, and it’s a really sad reflection on the general population that they allowed themselves to be manipulated like this.
It’s telling that we see a lot of comments from ‘no’ supporters pointing out that the AV vote is being conducted using FPTP as if it’s an insightful or witty contribution. Even Ian Hislop (who should know better) mentioned it on HIGNFY a week or two ago. If you actually understood AV and FPTP, you’d realise that when it’s a choice between exactly two options, AV and FPTP are THE SAME ALGORITHM. Yes, really, if this is news to you and you voted ‘no’, please go and bang your head against a wall, and do us all a favour next time you don’t understand the issues: admit it and abstain. The problem is that FPTP does not sensibly scale to more than two options, and we often have 5+ in an election, FPTP is sort of a leap of faith which in this country happens to artificially favour the right wing for the completely arbitrary reason that there’s only one major centre-right party, but this is arbitrary and in another country FPTP might artificially favour a left wing party. The fact is that nobody who understands voting systems ever favours FPTP when there are more than two candidates and when they truly think it has everyone’s interests at heart. In a general election, none of the parties has the voters’ interests at heart: they are thinking about themselves and nothing else. But everyone in the conservative party wants the best possible conservative leadership, which is why they use AV to elect their leaders. The same goes for the lib dems and labour. The same for the house of lords. It’s used everywhere by people when the people running the vote really do want the vote to be impartial. Admit it, if you voted no, you were duped.
The no vote will be comprised about 20% of people who *do* understand AV and are scared it will result in the conservatives losing influence (i.e. people who either don’t understand or don’t care for democratic representation and think it’s okay to select a voting procedure on the grounds of whom it directly benefits — we might as well just switch to a right wing dictatorship in this case), and the rest will mostly be people who don’t understand AV or don’t understand FPTP, but were compelled to vote by the misinformation campaign successfully rousing their fear of the unknown. This will be further exacerbated by the fallacious view that voting is a ‘duty’, rather than something you should responsibly abstain from if you don’t know. There will also be a small number who didn’t understand what the vote was asking and instead thought it was “do you want AV or PR?”, or worse, “do you like Nick Clegg?”.
Well done the public, the conservatives asked you to be a bunch of idiots and you happily obliged.
I have to say I wasn’t particularly outraged up until now by the lib dem’s behaviour, after all they didn’t actually win, but they did make a lot of compromises and one of the conditions for that was the AV referendum. The conservatives let them have that, but when it came to it, they pumped huge amounts of money and support into a completely dishonest FUD/misinformation campaign which was happily regurgitated even by members of the government. At this point, one wonders if the effect of the lib dems in government exists beyond the fact they are a legal requirement for the current unelected conservative government to remain in power. On top of this, they’re getting hammered because of their continued involvement. It’s a lose/lose situation for them. It is now my opinion that they should simply collapse the government.
In conclusion, with the failure of AV, the only course of action for a fairer election is to play the conservatives at their own game and create another centre-right party.