Interesting to ponder what the AV (Alternative Vote) system might have produced in the recent Oldham East & Saddleworth by election.
Whoever won it under AV would be thanking voters from almost every other party for their victory ! (And in some future elections it could be the Monster Raving Loony Party faithful that swing it !)
AV at Oldham? Well, either a Labour win (courtesy of BNP & UKIP) or a Lib Dem win with the victorious Lib Dem candidate starting their acceptance speech with the words:
“ I wish to thank all the Conservative supporters for voting twice…..”
How come? Because AV kicks in until one candidate reaches 50.1% of votes and the second preference votes of some (not all) being counted from the bottom up.
Here’s Oldham’s actual vote :
Labour 14,718 (42.1%)
Lib Dem 11,160 (31.9%)
Con 4,481 (12.8%)
UKIP 2,029 (5.8%)
BNP 1,560 (4.5%)
Green 530 (1.5%)
Monster Raving Looney 145 (0.4%)
English Democrats 144 (0.4%)
Pirate Party 96 (0.2%)
Bus Pass Elvis Party 67 (0.1%)
Nobody with the magical 50.1% majority that AV requires.
So let’s add now add AV to the mix.
Let’s assume that EVERYONE who voted for the Green Party; the
Monster Raving Looney Party, the English Democrats Party, the
Pirate Party and the Bus Pass Elvis Party ALL ticked Labour
as second choice. Unlikely, but let’s say so for now.
An extra 2.6% of the vote puts Labour on 44.7% Not enough for an AV victory.
Where will the 4.5% BNP vote go? L et’s assume Labour pick up an extra 1.5% (about a third of the BNP voters). Labour now on 46.2%. Not there yet.
Where will the second preference votes of UKIP now go? Here again, we can assume a split – but certainly Tory biased. Let’s give Labour another third of the UKIP voters (approx 2%).
At this, Labour still has only 48.2% . Still not good enough.
So now, finally, we move up the list and count the second preference votes of the Conservative supporters – who pledge their allegiances towards,er, the Lib Dems, obviously(?).
Ergo, a narrow Lib Dem win thanks to almost four and a half thousand Conservative voters getting two goes at it.
Or, if there were slightly more Labour second preference votes than outlined above, we would have a successful Labour candidate only in place because UKIP and the BNP put them there.
And they would know it. In fact, we all would.
Personally speaking, this is nonsense. How is it democratic to give some folk two votes? Even worse than football introducing the ridiculous ‘way goals count double’ rule.
In a close run thing between say, Labour and Conservative, would you want the local MP elected thanks to votes of those whose 1st preference was the Monster Raving Loony Party or keen to give Elvis a bus pass?
And here’s a conundrum: let’s assume everyone’s second preference vote was BNP. Does this mean a candidate eliminated earlier now ‘re-appears’ on the list because they’ve now got more votes than the original second-placed candidate?
What a damned mess. Raving Loony time.
The nation decides in May.