Apart from sounding off occasionally about Higher Education Bollocks (there really is a lot of it about), I tend to steer off politics here. My half-baked and (these days) ill-informed prejudices would be of little interest. Still, I’ve always been pissed off by our current crazy voting system. Which isn’t to say that I think that AV is a best buy. But it sure beats the (so-called) “first past the post” system, and that’s the only choice on offer at the moment. So I’m voting “yes” in the referendum. For a lot of reasons, see this quite terrific piece by the estimable Tim Gowers.
AV vs FPTP
By Peter Smith / This and that / 8 Comments / April 21, 2011
8 thoughts on “AV vs FPTP”
Wow, I didn’t even know you had this referendum in the UK. We just had an election in Canada where we of course have the same sort of “Westminster” style system. Like many elections here it has produced undesirable results because of the existence of more than two parties and consequent vote splitting which cannot be solved by individuals attempting to “vote strategically”.
As a result many people here want some sort of PR system which would be a radical change (and more difficult in Canada than the UK I suspect because of the physical size of the country). I have thus frequently pointed out to these people that AR would be much easier and would really change things all that much, but would allow people to vote clearly and plainly for who they want to win, rather than trying to vote for “the opposition” when there no longer is such thing since it is split among more than one party.
Great to see then that the UK has apparently gone for this!
Well, we didn’t go for it!
BTW, I ended up voting for AV, though not because of any of the pro-AV arguments. In the end, the distortions of the “no” side annoyed me more than those of the “yes” side, and I didn’t want “no” to win by so great a margin that electoral reform would be out for a generation. Unfortunately …
“I didn’t want “no” to win by so great a margin that electoral reform would be out for a generation.”
Can’t help but think this gets the story the wrong way around. The vote margin was so great because electoral reform is out for a generation, and it’s out for a generation because there’s not much support for it.
I think the Gowers is unconvincing. It’s far too long, very biased, and reproduces most of the misleading pro-AV spin, though less blatantly then is usual. To find the most serious problems with AV, it’s necessary to read the comments; Gowers either didn’t mention them or made them sound insignificant. He says “most of the arguments put forward by opponents to AV have been clearly wrong, in several cases so wrong that one can actually prove mathematically that they are wrong”. That is also true of most of the pro-AV arguments that have been put forward, but he doesn’t subject the pro-AV side to the same level of scrutiny.
Well evidently you don’t like Gowers’s piece. But you don’t point to the actual arguments where you think he goes wrong, let alone give your detailed reasons. Still, here’s not the place to do that. Why not post specific counterarguments in the comments on the Gowers blog?
I am very pleased with how often you are posting (comparatively) now that are you are nearly retired. Hope that is not somehow offensive!
– Lowly Logic-Loving Undergrad
Thanks! I don’t promise to keep it up, though …