Friday, 18 March 2011

Dr Doublespeak, or 'How the ERS learned to love the Alternative Vote'

Won over by the strength of an argument people often change their minds. It's a good thing and indicates an open mind... But scarcely can we have witnessed such an about-turn in recent political history.

You see, the Electoral Reform Society used to feel very differently about AV, or the Alternative Vote.

Whereas they now say that:

"AV represents a logical progression from first past the post. Preserving the traditional one member, one constituency, it ensures all MPs have a real mandate while delivering greater choice and eliminating the need for tactical voting."

... The Electoral Reform Society, the 'Yes2AV' campaign's number one single donor, has had a change of heart.

No doubt following orders from above, the IT team have made a few amendments to their page on AV, removing all criticisms and rewriting the entry completely to ensure that the proposed system comes across more positively. The beauty (or curse depending on your viewpoint) of the internet is that it's all preserved somewhere, hidden in the ether - or on the other side of a 'Print Screen' command.

So, with apologies in advance for being a little smug on this i'd like to share some of the ERS' original thoughts on AV - with which i wholeheartedly agree!

The key points:

(Electoral Reform Society Website 2008)

"AV is thus not a proportional system, and can in fact be more disproportional than FPTP." 

"The Electoral Reform Society regards AV as the best voting system when a single position is being elected. However, as AV is not a proportional system, the Society does not regard it as suitable for the election of a representative body, e.g. a parliament, council, committees, etc."

Not suitable? For a parliamentary election? Less proportional than FPTP?

So, all that remains is to speculate as to the reason for their volte-face...

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