1 March 2011

Lies, Lies and More Lies from #No2AV

Here's the first thing you'll see on No2AV's website today:

I've pointed out three unequivocal lies that they are peddling. I'll go through them:

LIE 1: The Electoral Commission (which runs elections) don't say we'd need buy expensive voting machines - Channel 4 News has looked into this and rated it as 'Fiction'. Even if we did, they wouldn't have to be bought from Electoral Reform Services Ltd (the commercial arm of the Electoral Reform Society, which has been campaigning for change to the voting system since 1884 and is helping to fund the Yes campaign). A quick Google found plenty of other providers.

LIE 2: First, Nick Clegg is not going to be Lib Dem leader forever. Second, the Lib Dem leader only gets to "choose the government" if there's a hung parliament, and as Prof John Curtice has pointed out, "only in 2010 – when first-past-the-post also failed to deliver a majority – would a hung parliament have occurred under AV" since 1983 when pollsters started asked about second preferences. Third, it will be you who decides whether or not there is a hung parliament. Fourth, the Lib Dems are only in a kingmaker position if Labour and the Conservatives refuse to work with each other.

LIE 3: No2AV have made up the figure of £250m. £130m of it is for those fictional voting machines. £90m is the cost of the referendum itself (and that doesn't magically get refunded if you vote No), and the rest is for "voter education", based on the education costs of STV, not the simpler AV.

I also take issue with the suggestion that AV is "unequal" and not "one person one vote". AV elections have multiple rounds until the winner with over 50% of the vote is found. In every round it is one person one vote. I won't call this a lie, as it's more spinning the truth.

No2AV have had all this pointed out them repeatedly. For instance, I left a comment a week ago on their 'blog' piece attacking Nick Clegg. (Why can't they play the man not the ball?) It was instantly "flagged for review" and still hasn't been published. I've contacted them repeatedly on Twitter to ask why not, to no reply.

Despite all this, No2AV say they act "the spirit of open and honest debate". There's little sign of it so far.


Chris Phillips said...

Thank you for a expose of the emotional and illogical No2AV campaign.

Imogen said...

It's also possible to have hung parliaments that don't hang on the Lib Dems at all. It used to be an unnerving prsopect that a Northern Ireland party could be involved in govenment or in pact to not bring it down, but now it might lead to some much needed attention to Northern Ireland - as a larger party could look to other minor parites if they asked too much.

Another scenario is where the Lib Dems hold a balance of power but the strength of the 2 parties is so different they dont have much choice as to who to form the government with 2010 was a good example of that. Just 5 seats difference and an alliance with Labour would have been absolutely impossible and the Lib dems would have had to decide whther to go into coalition with next to no negotiation power or stay outside in an unstable situation with the Tories likely calling another General Election and winning outright.

tern said...

By some graphs I remember in the Independent 1992 would be hung, which is meant to be a good argument for everyone who was shattered by the actual result then. It was actually a parliament that became hung in mid term and without giving the Lib Dems any power as a result, Tories survived in minority government, same as in Scotland the SNP has for the last 4years, and between the 2 1974 elections Labour did. You can have those outcomes too, it's not always Liberal rule. Certainly agree it will be healthier when AV helps there to be more than 3 predominant parties because smaller parties's supporters e.g. Green are no longer scared of wasting their votes, so that when there balance of power situations come the Lib Dems could no longer monopolise them: that is another reason why AV will be fairer.