Posts Tagged ‘Alternative Vote’
How different life feels on days like this. The allotments are alive with sunshine, every colour is enhanced and the path that has been covered in ice and then mud is suddenly easy on the feet. Even the dandelions, which should have no place in the home of gardeners, are throwing their heads defiantly in the warm air. If only this could last for ever! Mind you there is a flip side to everything, already the water suppliers are warning of a hosepipe ban. Just months ago there were extensive floods and what I don’t understand is the failure to build more reservoirs. But then again the things that I don’t understand would fill a Cyril Smith-sized book!
And right now the Alternative Vote is right up there. We all received a leaflet from ‘call me Dave’ Cameron yesterday. It even has a picture of the Old Etonian signing autographs with his left hand. perhaps he uses the right one for official business? Either way, he is urging us to vote no on May 5th.
The Alternative Vote, says ‘Dave’, is unfair, expensive and discredited. Discredited by whom? Pass, although he does mention that only Australia and Papua New Guinea use it, so maybe Shane Warne and co no longer see it as fair dinkum. He also mentions that countmg can take days which is a real no-no for those who enjoy a tension-laden booze-up on election night. And he underlines the fact that the candidate who finishes third can win.
And that is the feature that puts me off the Clegg/Miliband dream ticket. It’s as if after the 1oo metres final in the Olympics the spectators are asked to list their favourites in a sequence one to five and eventually we are told that Mr Bolt has been displaced on the winners rostrum by Bert Brown from Croydon Harriers.
That may not make sense to you, it scarcely does to me and I wrote it. But even more puzzling to this simple soul is ‘Dave’s’ claim that supporters of such odious people as the BNP will “get their votes counted many more times than everyone else”. I think I know what he means but it is an odd way to put it.
There is of course in all this an assumption that we all have alternative choices. But is this the case? My dear old Gran was what she called ‘a red hot Liberal’ and hated any candidate that threatened gorgeous Lloyd George and his mates. I suspect there are many who on the left and right who feel much the same and would only tick a second or third choice as a means of tactical voting.
I am open to persuasion on this. Right now, first-past-the-post seems more in line with my approach to life, I certainly disagree with Albert and Jack. they refuse to vote until such time as the ballot paper offers ‘None of them’ as an option. If everyone followed that approach it wouldn’t take long to count the votes, but it sounds a bit unpatriotic to me. And in extremis it would leave the loopy bloke from Bacup who always votes and always votes for the Monster Raving Loonies running the country. On second thoughts, that might be no worse than now!
I’ve just had a final thought. Why is PR guru ’Dave’ so keen to have a no vote? Presumably because he sees disadvantage for the Tories under AV. And I don’t even understand that !
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY: FASHION; “A dress has no meaning unless it makes a man want to take it off”….Francoise Sagan “The Pope. Great guy. But in a fashion sense, he’s one hat away from being the Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan”…..Jon Stewart “Her hat looks as if it had made a forced landing on her head”…..Harriet Cobb “A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat”….P J O’Rourke ”They should put expiration dates on clothes so we would know when they go out of style”…..Garry Shandling “Some women hold up dresses that are so ugly and they always say the same thing. ‘This looks much better on’ On what? On fire?”…..Rita Rudner “I don’t own a dress. I wear skirts but I look like a netball teacher”….Victoria Wood “you have no idea how much it costs to look this cheap”….Dolly Parton “A sweater is a garment worn by a child when his mother feels chilly”…..Nora Ephron “If the shoe fits get another just like it”…..George Carlin “Men who wear turtlenecks look like turtles”…..Doris Lily “The softer a man’s head, the louder his socks”……Helen Rowland “Some women think bikinis are immodest. Others have beautiful figures”….Olin Miller
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Harold Wilson 2. Margaret Thatcher
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Who wrote books about Inspector Morse? 2. In which city was Bertolucci’s Last Tango?
Another lovely morning, the sight of the sun turning the sparkling yellow of the forsythia into a seeming mass of gold was quite something. Thanks to Professor Brian Cox, the new Beeb megastar, we now realise that our sun is a mere speck in the cosmos but that hasn’t diminished our delight when it works it’s wonders. Even Albert was happier in its glow, so much so that he stopped banging on about the England cricketers and turned to a less emotive subject, the forthcoming referendum on an Alternative Vote system.
I had to confess that it makes no sense to me. It represents the concession Cameron made to Clegg, but given that few are likely to support the Lib Dems anytime soon it is hard to fathom how even they benefit. There are full page ads in some of today’s papers and the explanation takes up many a column inch. Confusing to say the least. Less confusing but rather ominous is the news that one of the major sponsors of the Yes campaign is the company that will make a fortune out of the supply of the complex hi-tech equipment required to run an election under AV!
I have always seen sense in Proportional Representation(PR) which would allow all the national votes garnered by a minority party and allocate seats accordingly. But, it seems to me, an Alternative Vote system achieves no such thing. It means that I, an ardent member of party X, have to nominate a second choice and so on. But if I am ideologically ardent about party X, I almost certainly won’t have a second choice. Rather than go down that route I would probably place the main rival to party X at the bottom of the list and opt for those least likely to provide a threat. The result could be that people like Ukip, BNP, or the Monster Raving Party suddenly appear to have far more support than they really have. And the option of tactical voting is already present in our longstanding ‘first-past-the post’ arrangement. If, for example you are a Labour voter in a Conservative safe seat you can decide to vote for their LIb Dem challenger. Not a good example since Calamity Clegg has turned the Lib Dems into a Conservative subsidiary but I’m sure you know what I mean.
Short of full PR the present system strikes me as the best available. When we have a flutter on the National we know perfectly well that the reward for the horse coming second will be, er, second best. A system whereby all the bets placed on the top four were reapportioned could possibly see the winning spoils going to other than the first past the post. It sounds ludicrous to me. As does the cost of staging a referendum on anything other than a straight choice between the present system and PR.
Maybe I am missing something here. If so I am sure you will tell me. But if I am confused I am not alone for all of the major parties are split down the middle on this.
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY: “Never go abroad. It’s a dreadful place”…..Earl of Cardigan “They say travel broadens the mind; but you must have the mind”…..G K Chesterton “I wouldn’t mind seeing China if I could come back the same day”…..Philip Larkin “A passport picture is a photo of a man that he can laugh at without realising that it looks exactly the way his friends see him”……Phyllis Diller “Why is it called the tourist season if we can’t shoot them?”….George Carlin “The wife and I have been arguing about where to go on our holidays. I want to go to Tenerife and she wants to come with me”…..Roy Chubby Brown “They’ve started giving passports to animals now. My cat has a passport. Do you know how that makes Mohammad Al Fayed feel?”……Jeff Green “To be a Frenchman abroad is to be miserable. To be an American abroad is to make other people miserable”……Ambrose Bierce “I hate views. They are only made for bad painters”…..Oscar Wilde
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Margaret Drabble 2. Canada ( Montreal)
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. In which country did Picasso die? 2. Where was Governor Richard Sharples murdered?
Over the years we have often bemoaned the ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system, which has always struck we chicken keepers as less than democratic. It often leads to the government being voted for by less than half the electorate and that has to be wrong. But over time there has been a lessening of enthusiasm for Proportional Representation given that it would involve MPs being allocated from a central pot. We have good reason to be grateful to our local representive who, being himself a local, understands well the issues that trouble us both at the allotments and in our homes. We have therefore reached the view that the present arrangement is the better option. One option we never considered was an Alternative Vote (AV) system of the kind now being proposed in the May referendum.
I haven’t come across many who have any interest of any kind in the referendum so beloved by Nick Clegg. Of those with a view, the majority believe that AV is a non-starter and would only distort democracy by giving more power to those voting for organisations like the loathsome BNP and the dotty UKIP crowd. It would also boost the prospects of the Lib Dems, hence its promotion by Master Clegg.
But by and large I doubt if any of us had even the intention to vote. Now things look a little different, our having read the view of Lord Falconer, the former Labour cabinet minister and patron of the No campaign. Writing in the ‘New Statesman’ this week he contends that if the outcome is a Yes it would be advantageous for the Lib Dems to delay the general election until after AV is introduced in 2015, under the terms of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituences Act. But if the No camapign succeeds we face a quite different scenario.
Falconer contends that should Clegg lose the referendum, there will be no reason for delay – the quicker the Lib Dems get out of the coalition, the sooner they will be on the road to recovery with the electorate. All of which perhaps helps to explain why more than half of Labour MPs are supporting the No campaign despite their leader Ed Miliband pushing in the opposite direction. It probably also helps to explain why the opponents of change are going to great lengths to portray the vote as one of confidence or otherwise in Nick Clegg!
I confess that it hadn’t occurred to me before but now realise that the stakes are high. Anyone concerned by the rapid rate of cuts has the chance to vote No to Clegg and, in so doing, lead to the fall of the government.
Falconer could well be right and if the electorate comes to see this as a verdict on Clegg there could be a dramatic development post-May. At least I now understand why Ed Miliband, who favours AV, is insisting that Clegg maintains a low profile. But that simply won’t wash for everyone understands that the only reason that the Lib Dem negotiators entered a coalition was the offer of a referendum.
It does begin to look as if whatever the result, Nick Clegg is doomed. The Lib Dems are insisting that Charles Kennedy become their ‘face’ in the campaign so win or lose we may soon be spared the implications of the junior partners in the coalition acting as lapdogs before the Cameron throne.
Who knows, even the NHS could be saved by what had appeared to be a non-event!
QUOTES FOR TODAY; “I go to the theatre to be entertained. I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction. I can get all that at home”….Peter Cook “I saw the play under adverse conditions. The curtain was up”……Robert Benchley “You people in the cheap seats clap your hands, and the rest of you just rattle your jewellery”…John Lennon, at the Royal Variety Performance of 1963. “The play was a great success but the audience was a total failure”….Oscar Wilde What is my play about? It’s about to make me very rich”…..Tom Stoppard “I daren’t tell my Mum I’m starring in The Vagina Monologues. I’ve told her its called The Geneva Monologues and is about women in banking”….Maureen Lipman “Nudity on stage is disgusting. But if I were 22 with a great body it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience”….Shelley Winters
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Hong Kong 2. The Professionals
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Where did the Bloody Sunday shootings take place? 2. Which British Army unit was involved?