Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Voting Reform 9: The Best Argument for First Past The Post #referendum

I was happy with the result of the 2010 election.

Why? The country got the government it voted for, more or less. The nation's mood was definitely against Gordon, but many were still against the Conservatives (Thatcher inspired long memories). After the first TV debate, everyone agreed with Nick - so we ended up with a coalition built on compromise.

But it was all a bit of an accident. The Lib Dems actually got 23% of the vote, not far behind Labour's 29%, but had 57 seats, compared to Labour's 258. Yep: 201 more seats for an extra 6% of the vote. Gower's Weblog discusses the historical figures in more detail.

No2AV's best argument is that AV would result in more coalitions. It's probably right - because that's what people would vote for if they voted honestly instead of tactically.

But, they say, coalitions are weak! This government shows that a coalition can govern strongly. Unfortunately, governing strongly is not the same as governing well.

FPTP's 'strong' government are often minority governments, in the sense that a minority of voters choose them. When they tell you that AV will result in more coalition governments, they're telling you that they don't want a majority of people to decide on a government. They're happy with a minority deciding, as long as it's a 'strong' one.
'I believe in First Past The Post and I will be voting yes to AV as I think the post should be at 50%.' (Ray Wilkes, writing in to The Independent.)

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