NO2AV thinks the public can’t be trusted

For anyone wondering, I don’t intend to only write about AV.

The NO2AV campaign offer some interesting reasons for opposing AV. One of them is that it might help the BNP’s election performance. They say “A no vote stops minority party voters – like BNP supporters – getting more than one vote when the votes are counted”.

Why that might be the case? As a small party with less chance of being elected they might suffer from the bandwagon effect I’ve previously mentioned. Those who might wish to vote for them may not because they think it will be a wasted vote and instead vote for one of the larger parties.

The problem comes when you consider that the same “benefit” of FPTP would also affect other small parties. The Greens, UKIP, the Pirate Party, the English Democrats Party, or the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. These are all examples of smaller parties which I don’t support but should our voting system be effectively rigged to protect society from those that may do?

What the NO2AV campaign are effectively saying is that the voting public can’t be trusted to not vote for the wrong party and we need protecting from ourselves by FPTP. NO2AV want to insult us whilst telling us how we should vote in the referendum.

This does rather call into question some of the other statements from NO2AV, such as their suggestion that “A no vote will defend fair votes and is a call for real reform”. Reading that one might think NO2AV want us to vote no to signal that we want something better than AV, STV perhaps? However, if NO2AV don’t trust us to vote for the right people under AV, why would they support proportional representation?

NO2AV talk about defending democracy, people power, and real reform. It is hard to see how that fits with their opposition to having an AV referendum at all and their fear of the public voting incorrectly in elections.

They say a ‘no’ vote “is a call for real reform” but it is difficult to imagine what real reform they might support which would be an improvement on AV. If the public do vote ‘no’ then are we realistically going to see other proposals for voting reform brought forward? Then, if we did, would the NO2AV camp be prepared to accept spending more money on another referendum? The choice might either be changing the voting system without a referendum or just sticking with FPTP. So much for democracy, people power, and real reform.

A vote ‘no’ is not a call for “real reform”, it is a vote for the status quo and would probably just sweep voting reform under the carpet for years to come. In a truly fair and democratic society we must accept there will be some minority elements we will despise but trust our fellow citizens to make the right decisions.

As for NO2AV’s declaration that it “is not a party-political campaign”, they don’t seem to have got off to a particularly good start. Their campaign director Matthew Elliott has received the rather interestingly named “Conservative Way Forward’s One of Us” award, chairman Rodney Leach is a Tory peer, and Charlotte Vere, said to be the national campaign organiser, was the Tory candidate for Brighton Pavilion in the general election. Rather ironically, Brighton Pavilion is the same constituency which elected the only Green Party MP. No surprise then perhaps that Vere doesn’t want the potential of smaller parties getting any more votes.

Whilst NO2AV say their “fight for fair votes enjoys support across the political spectrum”, their current team does seem to be somewhat biased towards one end.

Part,Respect Part

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5 Responses to NO2AV thinks the public can’t be trusted

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention NO2AV thinks the public can’t be trusted | Adam Brookes --

  2. One fact the No campaign & some Conservative MPs seem to forget when using the BNP & other political extremists as ‘bogeymen’ to scare the voting public into sticking with the current broken electoral system is that the BNP have had electoral success with the current FPTP system at council elections in various town & cities. The unholy alliance of voter apathy, low turnout & being able to win with about 30-35% of the vote under FPTP-run elections has combined to help let the BNP win in these cases.

    This No2AV (& some Conservatives) view of how our democracy should be is rather skewed & seems to be summed up as “everyone should have a vote, as long as they vote the way we want them to”, which isn’t very democratic at all.

    A lot of the people who vote BNP aren’t new people who’ve suddenly appeared on the political radar, they are more likely working or lower-middle class people who have voted Labour or Conservative in the past but who now feel totally abandoned by mainstream politicians & that their interests & needs are completely forgotten about.

    Electoral systems shouldn’t be used to force these people into returning to the major parties or to totally force their favoured parties out of the running- the politicians of major parties need to work harder to convince these people that they will be listened to again by mainstream politicians. I believe that the AV system is part of a positive step towards political parties actually doing more to engage with a wider public audience, especially if they want to gain preference votes from people who aren’t their core support.

    • dave thawley says:

      I was about to write but you have just said enough of the truth here. Thanks for taking the time to correct this erronious piece of rubbish.

  3. JHSB says:

    You only have to look at the European elections in the North-West to see how non-preferential voting benefits the BNP. The 8th round of d’Hondt voting was effectively a FPTP battle between the BNP and several other parties, each of which advertised themselves as the “anti-BNP choice”. The anti-BNP vote was split, and Griffin was elected. Ditto Salford and Eccles constituency and the anti-Hazel Blears vote.

    With preferential systems, you don’t have to worry about wasting your vote voting for a minority party… but you also don’t have to worry about splitting your vote against one.

    • dave thawley says:

      …. BUT, the minority party needs 50% of the popular vote which the no campaign conveniently forget while they are busy trying to scare people. FPTP has the best chance of getting BNP in, it is only a matter of time before our broken system does this unless we change it. Under FPTP parties can get in with 25% of the vote which is probable – in fact I would say certain, under FPTP. This shows the depths the no campaign will go to. They get the truth about AV and FPTP, distort it and feed it back such that FPTP is given the virtues of AV and AV the problems of FPTP. Terrible if you ask me. They certainly are not doing it for the population’s benefit, if they had our interests at heart why bend the truth like this.

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