Friday, 18 February 2011

Why the BBC (and others) are wrong

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
I was watching The 10 O'Clock News Live tonight on channel 4. As part of it they had a supposed debate about AV. For the No campaign there was a former Tory minister and for the Yes campaign you had Sally Bercow. Bercow proceeded to butcher the arguments for AV and even went as far as to claim that no one was particularly enthusiastic about it. Well I, and thousands like me, would beg to differ. If we were apathetic then why did you have thousands of people on the streets demanding electoral reform as far back as the 8th of May last year?



Or why did we see thousands of people turn out again just a few days later?

Since last summer thousands of people have been campaigning for AV up and down the country - I happen to be one of them and in Surrey we've been going from strength to strength.

So, thoroughly disheartened I switched over to BBC 1 to watch This Week. Here we had Mr Andrew Neill baldly state that both the campaigns had only just had lacklustre launches this week and that no one really cared about it. This is wrong as, though the No campaign has indeed only just launched (and launched with spectacular lies about the cost of AV), the Yes campaign has, by contrast, been up and running since the summer. I know this since a) I joined a local campaign group just after May, b) because my girlfriend spent the summer holidays campaigning with the North London group and c) because I've been campaigning since September and distinctly recall our official launch being the 25th of November when we held lots of bonfire night related events.

In short, it pisses me off that the media continue to completely ignore the grassroots of both the No and Yes campaigns whilst making insulting statements about what we think - and let me tell you, I have yet to meet a single campaigner out of thousands who isn't enthusiastic about the referendum. Nor does it please me that they keep on getting morons from inside the Westminster bubble to talk about AV instead of official spokesmen for both the Yes and No campaigns.

I get the distinct impression that the media are trying to talk down the importance of this referendum and to completely ignore the real arguments over AV. Well, let me tell you something, it's not going to work. Even if I have to pour a bucket of purple paint over Mr Neill to do it, we will make sure that they take notice of us and let people judge the evidence for themselves.

9 comments:

  1. Oh, I would love it if we could pour purple paint over Andrew Neill. Letting the people choose their MPs is the way we rebuild faith in our political system, not rebuilding the grammar schools.

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  2. LOL, AV has got from a miserable little compromise to the last hope of British democracy according to you libdems.

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  3. @Anonymous

    Firstly, let me applaud you for the courage to hide your name so that people can't see what an ignorant individual you are.

    For one thing, "miserable little compromise" referred to Brown's political deal to back AV instead of PR - AV isn't a miserable little compromise, Brown's deathbed conversion to it is.

    Secondly, I do think that AV is a compromise, it's not my ideal system. But I do believe that FPTP is the worst possible system and a change to AV will be a massive step forwards.

    If you're being beaten up by some muggers in an ideal world a policeman will come along, rescue you and catch the muggers. However, you'd also be happy if the policeman just turned up and rescued you, even if meant letting the muggers escape for the time being. It's the same thing with AV - in an ideal world I may want STV but in the meantime I'm perfectly happy to get AV to end the undemocratic failure of a system that is FPTP.

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  4. @GP

    "Firstly, let me applaud you for the courage to hide your name so that people can't see what an ignorant individual you are."

    Yawn. Don't accept anon comments on your blog if you don't want people commenting anonymously but given you're hardly overwhelmed with comments on your musings that probably isn't a good idea.

    "For one thing, "miserable little compromise" referred to Brown's political deal to back AV instead of PR - AV isn't a miserable little compromise, Brown's deathbed conversion to it is."

    ROFL!!! Okay, I'll admit I was ignorant of this pathetic bit of libdem spin. I really have to hand it to you guys for the sheer brass neck of trying to spin a direct quote like that.

    "Secondly, I do think that AV is a compromise, it's not my ideal system. But I do believe that FPTP is the worst possible system and a change to AV will be a massive step forwards."

    AV wouldn't have changed the outcome of any previous election except maybe the 2010 GE but given Clegg's right wing leanings that is debatable. How can it then be a massive step forward? It wouldn't have changed anything.

    "If you're being beaten up by some muggers in an ideal world a policeman will come along, rescue you and catch the muggers. However, you'd also be happy if the policeman just turned up and rescued you, even if meant letting the muggers escape for the time being. It's the same thing with AV"

    What a crazy analogy! A little tip for you, if you're canvassing in support of AV don't use that, your'll scare old people.

    "undemocratic failure of a system that is FPTP."

    FPTP isn't perfect but then neither in AV or STV. No system is democratic as long as politicians are prepared to liar to get elected, Clegg on tuition fees, Cameron on cutting the NHS and Blair on a lot of things all undermine democracy.

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  5. @Anonymous

    In case you haven't noticed, this is a blogspot blog. That means that I do not determine how people can leave comments on here, google does. However, because of my preference for non-Anonymous comments (a preference based on the fact that it enables people to distinguish between each other) I have the following comment policy which you see every time you fill in the comment box:

    "Comments are unmoderated and do not represent the opinion of the blog owner. However, I would ask that you do not make anonymous posts as it is difficult to have a debate when you don't know who said what. Thanks."

    Look up the "miserable compromise" quotation in full. Read it in context and then maybe I'll be prepared to debate about it with you.

    AV may or may not have changed the outcome of previous elections - it is impossible to say because people vote differently under AV. But the main reason I support AV is because it ends wasted votes. Everyone can vote with their heart for the candidate they want rather than the candidate they dislike the least who is likely to win. It means that everyone's votes are counted equally and that every voter has an equal say in who their MP is.

    It will force MPs to seek the support of all their constituentsd rather than just target the swing voters. Only 6% of voters decided the outcome of the last election. That's wrong and AV will help fix it by forcing each MP to get 50% support to be elected.

    Since you don't like that analogy, here's another: At the moment we have coffee ice cream, which I hate. I want chocolate ice cream but that isn't available but I'm perfectly happy to get vanilla instead as it's far better than sticking with one which I hate.

    Above everything else, FPTP just no longer works:

    http://www.ippr.org.uk/publicationsandreports/publication.asp?id=798

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  6. "In case you haven't noticed, this is a blogspot blog. That means that I do not determine how people can leave comments on here, google does."

    No it doesn't.

    "Look up the "miserable compromise" quotation in full. Read it in context and then maybe I'll be prepared to debate about it with you."

    LOL, there is nothing to debate. Your argument has zero logic, Clegg called AV a miserable compromise then settled for it to get into bed with the tories.

    " But the main reason I support AV is because it ends wasted votes. "

    No it doesn't. A 1st pref vote for some minority party is still wasted.

    "Since you don't like that analogy, here's another: At the moment we have coffee ice cream, which I hate. I want chocolate ice cream but that isn't available but I'm perfectly happy to get vanilla instead as it's far better than sticking with one which I hate."

    Fair enough but why don't you just say that? Rather than making out AV to be something it isn't, i.e. a proportionate voting system.

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  7. @Anonymous

    1. Yes it does, start your own blog using blogspot if you don't believe me.

    2. If you're not even going to look it up then clearly it is you who have no argument or logic.

    3. A first preference for a minor party isn't wasted as it will help the party build up support over time whilst your second and third preferences etc still help to decide who represents you. It's certainly far less wasted than it is if you vote for them under FPTP.

    4. Where have I ever said that AV is a proportional system? I view it as a fairer system than the current one and a stepping stone to PR and as such I eagerly support it. It seems to be you who is confused as to what it really is.

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  8. "1. Yes it does, start your own blog using blogspot if you don't believe me."

    I have and no it doesn't.

    "2. If you're not even going to look it up then clearly it is you who have no argument or logic."

    FFS Clegg called AV a "miserable little compromise", that is the quotation - find me the wider quotation where he puts it all into context otherwise stop trying to spin it.

    "3. A first preference for a minor party isn't wasted as it will help the party build up support over time whilst your second and third preferences etc still help to decide who represents you. It's certainly far less wasted than it is if you vote for them under FPTP."

    So you concede that a 1st pref for a minor party is in fact wasted, just less so than in FPTP.

    "4. Where have I ever said that AV is a proportional system? I view it as a fairer system than the current one and a stepping stone to PR and as such I eagerly support it. It seems to be you who is confused as to what it really is."

    You cited the Take Back Parliament protesters as evidence for the grass roots support for AV but neglect to mention they wanted Clegg to demand a ref on a full PR system.

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  9. @Anonymous

    1. I could indeed disable Anonymous posts but that would also necessitate forcing anyone commenting to register with OpenID or a google account or some other method. I believe in free speech so I prefer to allow a system where people don't have to register - however, that doesn't mean that I can't request people to sign their comments as a common courtesy to allow better communication.

    2. "The Labour Party assumes that changes to the electoral system are like crumbs for the Liberal Democrats from the Labour table. I am not going to settle for a miserable little compromise thrashed out by the Labour Party." As you can see, he is referring to the political deal as a miserable little compromise and wants a better system. This is not the same thing as dismissing AV as an electoral system.

    3. No, a vote for a minor party is not wasted as it allows you to show them that you support them which will encourage others who dismissed them this time to vote for them in future. You are not being forced to have your vote recorded as a "vote for Labour/the Conservatives" when in reality you want it to be recorded as a vote for, say, the Socialist Party/UKIP.

    4. I am a TBP member. The Surrey Fairer Votes campaign started out as a TBP group. We do want PR and we campaigned to get a PR referendum from the government, however, we voted amongst ourselves, as a national group, and agreed to support AV whilst continuing to campaign for PR. It is a fair to say that the majority of those in the TBP protests are supporting AV and my personal experience whenever I've met fellow TBPers is that they are just as excited about AV as they are about PR.

    I went to the protest on the 8th of May, shortly after the coalition agreement had been signed. Even back then, the mood of the crowd was supportive of AV, even if it was a milder change than we wished. So, to put it bluntly, you're wrong.

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I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.