The referendum on May 5th.

johnnydod By johnnydod, 20th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Here is a short explanation of the forth coming referendum on May 5th. In the UK, Why are we having it? And just what is AV?

We vote on May 5th.

We here in the UK are about to have a referendum on whether we want to change our voting system or not. We use the “First past the post system” and have done since 1882, and it seems to have served us well, the only party’s that wanted change were the ones who never got elected.

During the last election the government had to form a collation with one of these parties and part of the deal was to hold this referendum. The choice is, to keep the current system or to change to AVS (Alternative voting system)

With the system we have now, you vote who you would like to represent you in parliament, by voting for just one candidate, after counting, the candidate with the most votes wins, this is the “First past the post” system.

With AVS you the voter have many votes you must then put in order of preference who you want to represent you, If a candidate receives a majority of first-preference votes (more people put them as number one than all the rest combined), then they are elected.

The choise is yours.

If no candidate gains a majority on first preferences, then the second-preference votes of the candidate who finished last on the first count are redistributed. This process is repeated until someone gets over 50 per cent. So in fact you could be voting in somebody you don’t really want. At the moment only three countries use the AVS to vote for their governments, these are:-

  1. Australian House of Representatives (Australia is moving to abolish AV)
  2. The national parliament of Papua New Guinea
  3. And the Fijian House of Representatives

If the UK votes yes then it will join this illustrious list, think about it.! Australia are already getting out.

What you will be asked

I quote:-“ AVS breaks the principle of one person one vote, because supporters of fringe parties end up having their vote counted several times while supporters of mainstream parties only have their vote counted once. Under AV the candidate that comes in third place can end up winning. People have a right to know where their vote goes. Voters themselves should decide who the best candidate is, not the voting system.”
Again I quote: - Only three countries use the complicated system – Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea – and Australia has compulsory voting to make sure people turn up. AV would also be expensive, requiring councils to spend more time and money on vote counting, which would increase your council tax. AV is a big change, so you need to make sure that you have read the small print before voting on 5 May.

The question you will be asked is this.

"At present, the UK uses the first past the Post system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the alternative vote system be used instead"?

Referenda are as rare as hens teeth.

Referenda are rare here in the UK, only nine referenda have been held so far and of these, only one covered the whole UK. That one was in 1973
The question asked in 1973 was:-

  • " Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market or now called the EU)?

The result returned was

  • Yes 17,378,581 67.2% of the electorate
  • No 8,470,073 32.8% of the electorate

If after reading this you are still confused (And I can understand why) It all boils down to this..

  • If you want to change to AV vote YES
  • If you want to keep it the same as now vote NO


Alturnative Voting System, Australian, Elections, Northern Ireland, Uk-Politics, Vote, Voters, Votes

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author avatar johnnydod
Writers write while dreamers procrastinate.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
27th Apr 2011 (#)

I'm not in a position to comment on this issue Johnny. You have presented it quite well. An excellent job as always.

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author avatar Greenfaol
3rd May 2011 (#)

A great article and it cleared up my lack on knowledge on this subject.
As well as voting on this, in Scotland we are also voting in our new First Minister and our Scottish MPs.
While I don't know exactly how it will go, I do know Conservative will be lucky if they get even 1 seat and the Lib Dems will have far fewer votes than they ever had before, due to their coalition with the Conservatives.
I am not expressing my views here, this is fact. Scotland has a very bad history with the Conservative Party - we just don't like being used (much like the N of England, Wales and the SW).
As to AV - I really don't know how that will go.
A great article, Johnny :D

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author avatar TNT_Brian
5th May 2011 (#)

Good informative article Johnny. The AVS isn't much better than the FPtP system but it was the only compromise the conservatives were willing to reach on voting reform. What the lib dems and wide areas of the population wanted was the Propertional Representation system but that would be too damaging to the conservatives in future elections so they would never go for it. The current system and the AV are both flawed as currently several of the seats in parliament are held by MPs who did not gain a majority in election so really more people voted against them than for them. That is the main argument the Lib Dems are using to push AV.

Like Greenfaol, I too am more interested in the Scottish Parliament Elections taking place today as, being Scottish and living in Scotland, the result will affect me more than the referendum. I really hope the SNP get in for another term. They have done some great things in the last four years and have only been prevented from doing more by not having a majority and having a lot of their policies voted down, yet the opponents main arguments revolve around the SNP not doing more (even though they are the cause)
I always like to point out that the SNP is the only real Scottish party while all the others are just Scottish departments of British (but really English) parties. Thanks for posting this article :)

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author avatar johnnydod
6th May 2011 (#)

BREAKING NEWS: It is official. The UK has voted no in the AV referendum, rejecting change to the electoral system.
Counting continues but more than 9.8m people have voted to keep first-past-the-post, more than 50% of votes cast.

The No campaign is on course get a decisive 69% of the vote - leading AV campaigner Chris Huhne conceded the rejection had been "overwhelming".
This is for TNT Brian
The SNP won a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the first party to do so

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