I Reject Governments Without Mandate and will vote No to AV.

letter to The Independent opposing their support of AV in the forthcoming voting reform referendum:


With the possible exception of its confusion between feminism and equality, The Independent is normally spot-on when it takes a position on issues. Sadly, it is totally wrong in its support for AV.

Despite all the PR huff to the contrary, AV *will* increase the likelihood of coalition governments. Why, you may ask, is this a bad thing? Coalitions are bad because nobody votes for them. They are unelected and have no mandate for their policies. Nobody voted for the current Coalition of the Clueless, and their policies and positions have all been decided after the election behind closed doors by men in suits. This has resulted in an embarrassingly long list of u-turns, reversals and abandoned promises. Thankfully FPTP rarely produces hung parliaments.

Democracy is not improved when a flawed system where 35% of the voters elect a government gets replaced by a system where a government is elected by exactly 0% of the voters. AV is seeking to replace government by minority mandate with government by backroom committee with no mandate at all.

I would rather see a government I disapprove of but which has a 35% mandate than a government I disapprove of which has exactly 0% mandate.

The current FPTP system is flawed, by all means replace it. But replace it with something better, not worse!


Paul Harper

It got published on Monday 21st Feb 2011:

About Paul Harper
These posts represent the collected thought of Paul Harper. Usually rants, occasionally lucid, always easily ignored. Read, don't read, your call!

2 Responses to I Reject Governments Without Mandate and will vote No to AV.

  1. Melita says:

    Paul do you have any ideas as to what would be better? I’ll bet you do.

    • Paul Harper says:

      Actually, Melita, I didn’t have until a few days ago.

      Then someone explained what they do in Germany, which is a first-past-the-post system like here, and if the winner gets over 50% then that’s it, they’ve won. But if not, then just the top two candidates go though to a second round where the winner gets the seat. Caveat: I haven’t double-checked that this is what they actually do, but I still like the sound of it as a system!

      This seems to be heading in the right direction – no “tactical voting” which is what AV is all about, no undue influence of minor (usually extremist) parties, and all winning candidates have explicit first-preference votes of more than 50% of those voting. There are still issues, I imagine, not least of all turnout drop between first and second rounds, but it seems a good compromise between what we have now and the bloody-awful AV system.

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