I’ve decided that ‘electoral reform’ is an issue so utterly pointless in the modern British polity that it deserves me taking the piss.
For your pleasure and mine, I’m going to provide alternative answers to Yes2AV’s FAQs.
Q: How does AV work?
A: It destroys even the fig leaf political parties have to wear of possessing a consistent, unified ideology about how governing should take place, and instead replaces it with a system in which contradictory, populist vote-chasing sets of laughable ‘policies’ are constitutionally enshrined and pursued by all political parties at one and the same time.
Q: So what’s the point?
A: There is no point. You’ll still only get to vote every four years, and the Government will still do whatever the fuck it wants, manifestoes be damned.
Q: Isn’t that too confusing?
A: Only if you possess insufficient intelligence to observe that even under AV, your ‘fairer’ vote won’t necessarily deliver a candidate or Government of your choice.
Q: Isn’t it fair that the candidate with the most votes wins?
A: Nothing is fair when ‘fair’ is defined as ‘not losing, ever.’
Q: Doesn’t that mean that some people get two votes?
A: Yes. In fact, more than two; some people might get as many votes as n-1, where n is the number of candidates on the ballot paper. And even then, the candidate in second place still loses.
Q: Don’t you end up with the Least-Worst candidate?
A: You end up with a Labour or Lib Dem candidate. Whether you consider that ‘Least-Worst’ is up to you.
Q: Do I have to give a 2nd preference if I don’t have one?
A: Not yet. But it’s only a matter of time before all of this shit becomes compulsory in the name of ‘fairness.’
Q: Will my ballot change?
A: Yes. Right now the ballot is designed so that even the illiterate and innumerate can vote. Do you really think that a voting system that requires people to be able to count and write in actual numbers won’t result in a total re-design of the ballot to make it more accessible? Get real.
Q: Who uses AV?
A: Almost no other democratic country in the bloody world. The one that does—Australia—has had a hung Senate for 25 years. In its House of Representatives, the same two factions exchange control every couple of elections. But I guess this regularly alternating result, identical to what happens in the UK, is okay with the voters, since at least their votes were ‘fair.’ (UPDATE: Their votes were also compulsory.)
Q: Who benefits?
A: Whichever two of three main political parties are the most similar to each other.
Q: Who loses out?
A: Everybody else.
Q: Wouldn’t AV mean more hung Parliaments?
A: Probably. But surely that’s the idea? No winners = no losers = ‘fair.’
Q: Wouldn’t AV mean more tactical voting?
A: All voting is tactical. Get over it.
Q: What about the constituency link?
A: MPs who actually care about their constituents will do so whatever the electoral process. MPs who don’t, won’t. This is true even in marginal seats.
Q: Wouldn’t reform help minority parties like the BNP?
A: Of course not. Extremists don’t deserve ‘fair’ votes.
Q: Doesn’t the current system let us ‘kick the rascals out’?
A: Not really. But then, if Australia is any indication, neither will AV.
Q: Won’t election night take longer?
A: Yes. It will also be more susceptible to unintentionally spoilt ballots (“Hey, this one has two 1s! DOES NOT COMPUTE.’), mistakes (‘Are we on second preferences now, or third? I’ve been counting for 15 hours straight and I’m bleeding to death from paper cuts.’), and fraud (‘That 2 totally looks like a 1. Yay, another vote for Labour!’).
Q: Will AV boost turnout?
A: No. AV won’t make busy people less busy, apathetic people less apathetic, or disenfranchised foreigners, prisoners, and homeless people less disenfranchised.
Q: Will AV change things on the campaign trail?
A: Yes. Candidates will promise even more of the bland sameness than they do now. Good luck with your Hobson’s Choice.
Q: Why a referendum?
A: Because even though we elect representatives to make every other decision about our lives, our country, and our money, and this is considered right and proper in the case of (for instance) letting the people determine Britain’s role in the United States of Eurasia, whether we put Xs or numbers on a ballot paper every four years is way too important to be left up to those jokers. After all, this is the one instance in which the public choice problem is admitted to exist.
Q: Isn’t First-Past-the-Post a British tradition?
A: Yes. Which is why it MUST GO. You fucking racist.
Q: Do the public even care about voting reform?
A: No, which is why this referendum doesn’t require over 50% of the electorate to vote in it for it to count, and why it’s being held at the same time as notoriously low-turnout local elections. If the public really cared, as represented by their representatives, we’d get a special Referendum Holiday with voting booths on every street corner.
Q: Isn’t electoral reform just for Lib Dems?
A: No. It’s for Labour too.
Today’s episode has been brought to you by the colour There’sStillOnlyOneWinner and the letter GTFOverIt.