Today’s vote: How is it fair?

re: letters to the Gazette in support of the Alternative Voting system

Some people seem to think that AV would be somehow ‘fairer’.

How can it be fair that the people who vote for the party with the lowest score (the one that least people want, the one that’s knocked out first), then have a second vote, and then probably a third or fourth?

Those who vote for the party which most people actually want will not have a second turn until much later in the proceedings. If there are lots of candidates, the counting of the losers’ votes goes on, just like pass the parcel, until the music stops and the whole sorry mess is unwrapped leaving only the lucky prizewinner.

It will be very difficult to vote tactically, as very few people, excepting the professional pollsters, will be able to unpick the system.

At the moment, you vote for the person who has the policies that you agree with – but under AV all the parties are liable to cater to every point of view because they will be after your second and third votes, so that all of the parties are likely to present broadly similar policies to put to the electorate. We won’t have a real choice.

It’s good to choose, I happen to believe that most people have the brains to think plans through, and ordinary people are quite capable of deciding by a simple vote what policies they would like most.

If AV had been in place in the pas,t there would have been no minimum wage or statutory holiday entitlement (must not upset the business voters), no NHS (must not alienate the health insurance industry voters), no homes for heroes (what will private landlords say?) – and the list goes on.

We need intelligent, innovative policies from parties that will let us choose between alternatives, not AV policies, neither one thing nor another, devised by computers that spend their time in polling and in media and voter analysis.

I like to know that if I vote for something, then that change will happen if enough people in my neighbourhood vote the same way as me, and so it’s up to me to try to convince my neighbours if I believe in something strongly enough.

But I also know that, currently, my vote will register as a protest if the result goes against my way of thinking, and that my vote will be on record and not get lost in some bean-counter’s reports.

And if a party breaks its policy promises, then I want to be able to vote against it next time, and to be sure that this vote registers too.

I will be voting No to AV, and supporting First Past the Post, the current, flawed, adversarial, but locally-accountable, understandable and workable system.

Nell Atkin,