This week, both sides of the voting reform debate will screen TV spots putting forward their arguments either or the Alternative Vote. Both portray politicians as untrustworthy idiots, the No video portrays voters as idiots too. Otherwise they’re quite different. Here’s the yes video:
Misrepresentations in this video:
1) AV is a “small change that will make a whacking great difference”. Not really. It’s a small change, and it makes an equally small difference. I’m still voting for it, but let’s not get carried away.
2) AV is the same system that the parties use to elect their leaders. Not quite. Labour have an electoral college with blocks of votes. The use a Single Transferable Vote, and so does the house when selecting a speaker (STV can look a lot like AV when used to elect one candidate, but would use multiple seat constituencies if used in a general election). The Conservatives have run-offs that whittle it down to two candidates. Again, a process that AV vaguely replicates without the need for further rounds of voting, but not the same thing.
And here’s No:
Misrepresentations in this one:
1) AV will mean more coalitions. Not so. The n that declining support for mainstream parties makes a hung parliament more likely under first past the post.
2) AV means that politicians who come third could still win. True in theory, but Australia used AV and that , so that’s just scaremongering.
3) AV isn’t ‘one person one vote’. Nonsense. Your vote is only ever counted one time. If you vote for a minority candidate, your first vote is discarded and your second preference counts instead – but it’s still only one vote.
Since neither side has made an entirely honest video, I’m going to have to go with the Yes video because it’s got a duck in it.