By Stephen Palmer – For a referendum that is supposed to be about “fairer votes” and “more democracy”, it is ironic that the choice on offer in the coming AV poll is practically no choice at all.
Rather than giving the British public any real options, the AV referendum will instead afford us the privilege of choosing between a bad system we already have and a slightly worse one.
As previously stated on this website, the British National Party urges its supporters to vote “No” to AV. We would like to see a referendum that at least gives people the choice to vote for a real change.
A true referendum would let us choose from the below voting methods.
First Past the Post (FPTP)
FPTP is the most used electoral system in the world, and is the method by which MPs and councillors are elected in England and Wales. Although it is a simple system, it results in a lack of proper representation, as parties with fewer votes nationally are often rewarded with more seats.
For example, in the 2010 general election, the British National Party polled 563,743 votes but won no parliamentary seats.
In contrast, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, Sinn Fein, the Democratic Unionist Party, the SDLP and the Alliance Party all polled lower than the British National Party, yet they all won seats.
Although the system is punitive to smaller parties, the British National Party still recognises it as a fairer system than the Alternative Vote.
Alternative Vote (AV)
AV allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, by putting a number 1 next to their preferred choice, and, if they so choose, and number 2 next to their second choice and so on.
At the end of the poll, the candidates are ranked in order of the amount of first-preference votes they received. If the highest-ranked candidate scores 50% or over, he is elected. If not, the candidate who finished last is eliminated and his second-preference votes are redistributed to the other parties. This is done until one candidate passes the 50% threshold.
AV is fundamentally unfair to smaller parties because it redistributes their votes to larger parties while knocking them out of the running.
As the “Yes” campaign loves to boast, their “fairer” system will have the “benefit” of shutting out “extremist” parties. In other words, parties that disagree with them. In other words, the British National Party.
AV will mean more seats for the Lib Dems, which is why they back it, and fewer seats for the Tories, which is why they oppose it. It has nothing to do with “fairer votes” or “more democracy”; it is to do with one group wanting to get more power and the other trying to retain the power it has.
The Greens have admitted they are only backing AV because they see it as an “initial step in the direction” towards proper proportional representation. UKIP are of the same mind: they are backing the “Yes” campaign even though they admit that they are “not at all happy” with AV.
Like the British National Party, UKIP and the Greens realise that FPTP is an extremely difficult system for smaller parties; however, they have foolishly bought into the rhetoric about “fairer votes” and “democracy” repeated ad infinitum by the “Yes” campaign.
The truth is that a LibLabCon government will never give the people of this country the option to switch to proportional representation, because it would mean dozens of seats for the British National Party, and that simply cannot be allowed.
Single Transferable Vote (STV)
STV is similar to AV in that voters rank candidates in order of preference; however, unlike AV, more than one candidate is elected, making it more favourable to smaller parties.
Depending on the number of votes cast and seats there are to fill, a vote quota is calculated that the winning candidate must reach to be elected.
Once one candidate reaches the quota, their “spare” votes are redistributed to the other parties listed on their ballots, and a set amount of runner-up candidates are also elected.
STV is used in Ireland and Northern Ireland at local, national and European levels, and at local level in Scotland. It is a complicated system but ensures a greater diversity of candidates elected.
Additional Member System (AMS)
AMS is a mixture of Proportional Representation and FPTP. It is the system used in the Scottish Parliament and the Wales and Greater London assemblies, in which some candidates are elected via FPTP, to constituencies, and others are elected to regional seats via a party list version of PR. It is widely seen as a compromise between both systems.
AMS is used in Hungary, where the nationalist Jobbik party now has 47 seats in parliament. It is also used in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, and in New Zealand, Mexico, Bolivia and Lesotho.
Party List Proportional Representation (PLPR)
PLPR is a system that attempts to assign a percentage of seats to a party relative to the percentage of votes it receives. It is therefore widely regarded as the most democratic electoral system.
PLPR can broadly be split into two types: open and closed. Open lets voters select an individual candidate on the ballot paper, whereas closed only lets the voter choose a party.
Translating votes into seats within a PLPR system can happen using a number of different formulae, the most common being the D'Hondt method, the Sainte-Laguë method, the Huntington-Hill method and the largest-remainder method.
PLPR is the second most used voting system in the world. Significantly, it is used in countries that have recently seen large gains for nationalist and anti-Islamification parties, such as Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland.
It is also used by most countries when electing MPs to the European Parliament, and allowed the British National Party to win two seats in 2009.
It is the best system for democracy and the best system for the British National Party, which is why it, along with AMS and STV, will never be offered to the British public.
It’s the same reason there won’t be a referendum on anything else important – like leaving the EU, stopping foreign aid, halting immigration, the BBC licence fee, banning ritual slaughter or stopping the Islamification of Britain – because the government knows it wouldn't get the result it wants. How’s that for democracy?