Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Say NO to AV tomorrow

Nick Griffin and the British National Party have a clear, strong message for you: "Turn out and vote in large numbers to bury AV on May 5."

Under AV, voters would be able to rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority of first-preference votes, then they are elected.

If no candidate gains a majority on first-preference votes, then the second-preference votes of the candidate who finished last in the first count are redistributed.

This process is repeated until someone gets over half the votes.

AV will not benefit the British National Party or any other anti-establishment groups. The only people who will benefit are the Liberal Democrats. If they get AV, they will have no reason to support a move to Proportional Representation.

Nick Clegg said he “flatly” disagreed that AV is favoured by the Lib Dems because they would be the party most likely to benefit from the system. There is never any certainty how people will vote, but academic modelling shows us that AV “always boosts the Liberal Democrats” (PSA). As a party that presents itself as Centre, the Lib Dems are likely to win many second-preference votes under AV. On that basis, the Lib Dems’ share of seats would be boosted, at the expense of the other establishment parties.

Ipsos-Mori states: “one thing that is pretty certain is that AV won’t always help Labour, or always help the Tories, under all circumstances. But it will probably always help the Lib Dems”.

The argument that AV would be a "stepping stone" to a better system is flawed. Nationalists (like the Third Way think-tank) who put this argument forward are wrong. The Lib Dems would have no incentive to move to a fairer PR system as under AV their share of seats would increase. AV is about dividing power between the Political Class not about giving a voice to anti-establishment groups or the many disaffected.

Nor would AV help the British National Party win any seats. Even the secondary votes of British National Party supporters alone are unlikely to swing a seat for any other party. In a politically very divided constituency, we actually have a better chance of winning a seat under First Past the Post (FPTP) than under AV.

The change in electoral systems which would benefit the British National Party is a move to PR (proportional representation). This would give us (and other parties like the Greens) seats in proportion to the share of the vote we achieve. Of course, that is not offered in this referendum.

One of the most disgusting features of this referendum is how supporters of AV have sold out their principles on the hope of a bigger share of the cake. Originally, many of them saw it as a poor substitute for “proper” proportional representation: Nick Clegg called it a “miserable little compromise” as recently as last year. Yet he has been busy trying to con us into voting for it ever since.

Your choice is between a bad system (FPTP) and a worse system (AV). It is vital that all those opposed to AV go to the polls and deliver a resounding No vote on May 5.

BNP News Team

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