#No2AV Lie of the Week: Part 1

In the top right hand corner of No to AV’s new web site is a box headed weekly reason to vote no. If the tactics of the no campaign so far are anything to go on, there’s no reason to expect that a single one of them will be true. And thus begins a new weekly series here.

This week’s reason is the Lib Dems would always be a part of a coalition government. It’s simply not supported by the facts. There is no reason to expect that coalitions would be any more or less likely under AV than they are under the current First Past the Post system. Australia, which uses AV has had two coalitions in the last hundred years, compared to the five we’ve had here. Canada, which uses FPTP, has had eleven.

As I explained in my previous lengthy blog post, there are two ingredients to a parliamentary democracy: the make up of the parliament and the voting system. In order to change the likelihood of coalitions in the House of Commons you would need to change the way seats are distributed. The proposed change to AV won’t do that. One directly elected MP will still represent a single constituency. Many people campaigning for a yes vote are in favour of a change to a proportional distribution of seats. Many are very much against it. All agree that AV makes MPs in the current system more accountable to their voters, and that it means more people will have their voices heard when they cast their vote.

Of course, it’s very likely this series will end here, when No to AV don’t maintain the weekly updates. There isn’t one reason to vote no, never mind 16, and they can only rehash the seven lies from their campaign leaflet so many ways. Otherwise, see you next time!

Edit, 21:44: it seems that while I was writing this post No to AV did actually update their site. I’ll make sure I write about the new lie before that disappears too.

8 thoughts on “#No2AV Lie of the Week: Part 1

  1. So you do not believe that any labour supporters will pref. Lib dem over Tory in a Tory vs lib dem marginal?
    You do not believe Tories will pref Lib Dem over Labour in Labour vs Lib Dem marginals?

    If not, then I don’t understand why you don’t.
    That is the biggest argument the supports have!

    ‘Under fptp the vote for the opposition is split’
    meaning under AV the opposition will NOT be split and any area where the lib dems normally come second, they will come first as in 90% of cases the two poles of labour and conservative will go for the middle ground.

    You are right though, they shouldn’t say it is a fact, just a near inevitable logical conclusion.

  2. Yes, I do believe that. I also believe that LibDems will second preference other parties in Tory/Labour marginals, and that LibDems will lose first (and second, and third) preferences to Tories, Labour, Greens and even UKIP in LibDem marginals. And that Tories will pick up second preferences from UKIP, and Labour from the Greens, both of whom are more likely to be eliminated than the larger parties. And, of course, that if the current LibDem poll collapse continues, there won’t be any LibDem marginals left!

    In truth, of course, there’s very little hard evidence of how these votes will go, and all this speculation is just an attempt to second guess choices that should be in the hands of the electorate. All the evidence we do have suggests coalitions are no more likely under AV and, unlike No to AV, I prefer my claims to have some basis in fact.

  3. But that is the thing isn’t it. Under AV it doesn’t matter what the Tory supporters put as their preferences in labour/lib dem marginals. It doesn’t matter what the labour supporters put in as their preferences at Tory/ lib dem marginals.

    All that matters is that in most cases Tory supporters will no pref labour above libdems and labour supporters will not pref Tories above lib dem.

    Have you ever asked yourself why we don’t have a more legitimate Tory/labour coalition? Because they are polls apart! Libs are middle ground.

    I know you have a position to defend now but, come on be honest.

  4. Of course it matters. We know Labour and Tory supporters will change their allegiance between those two parties, otherwise Labour/Tory marginals would never change hands! And seats that are two way marginals under FPTP may not be under AV, so it is foolish to make nationwide assumptions about how preferences will transfer. If a candidate is outright opposed by more than 50% of the electorate, she shouldn’t be elected, as she has no mandate to speak for her constituents.

    Of course, the only way to ensure that the absolute maximum number of votes are counted is to introduce some form of proportionality, but since you appear to hold up a fictional two-party system as ideal, I assume you’d be against that?

    Now, stop speculating, and show me some actual evidence.

  5. It really does not matter. Tories and Labour, even when not in the running for the seat, I.e. Tories in labour/LIB marginals or labour in Tory/LIB marginals, generally come third.
    This means by the time their second preferences count there will only be two choices, so the only thing that matters will be whether they have ranked lib dems hire than their historic polar opposite…which in most cases will be yes.

    This will lead to a more even spread between labour lib dem and the tories in my opinion. Which will lead logically to more coalitions.
    Asking for proof of something that hasn’t happened is silly. Like me asking for proof that the sun will come up tomorrow, logically you can show me your prediction, but as a man of science, this could not be accepted as proof.

  6. I didn’t say anything about proof. I was just interested in the evidence that supported your claim. Presumably you have some, given that your claims contradict what has been seen when AV has been used elsewhere?

    I started delving into a whole load of research into the number of marginal seats, and what proportion of those were LibDem, as opposed to Tory/Labour. Hard data from 2010 seems to be pretty difficult to come by (unless you have the time to process the raw results files yourself), but it’s clear that in 2005 there were a lot more marginals that didn’t feature the LibDems than there were that did. So, it’s only in a minority of seats that they stand to be the ones to gain from second preferences.

    Not that it’s really relevant, however, as all the evidence suggests AV will have no major impact on the party breakdown of seats in parliament. You’re not claiming that the sun will come up tomorrow. You’re claiming that it won’t.

    And, just so as we’re clear, No campaign director Charlotte Vere basically admitted to me that this was a lie in a tweet earlier this week.

  7. Well…common sense is what i am using .
    There are 57 seats at the moment held by Lib Dems, who will be backed by Labour or conservatives, depending on who looks likely to win. That is quite obvious.

    There is a list of 50 that are lib tory/labour marginals…. Now in a Lib vs Labour election who do you think the tories will add their support too??

    http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Key_marginals:_Liberal_Democrats

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AgdO92JOXxAOdHRGZmRTOWItcnFDTFpHMzRPRmF6RFE&hl=en#gid=1

  8. Common sense also tells people that homeopathy works and that the world is flat.

    Eight of that list of fifty are at least three way marginals. It also doesn’t say when the data’s from, but it’s clearly not 2010. At least one of those seats fell to the Lib Dems under FPTP! Interesting spreadsheet though. Who’s is it? I notice it says there are 121 Labour/Tory marginal, compared against the 42 you mention featuring the Lib Dems. And it also looks like it’s 2005 data?

    Based on current polls I’m just surprised you think anyone will add their support to the Lib Dems!

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