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April 24, 2011


Alistair Bull

I will take no lessons from Simon Hughes on clean tactics or not lying in an election campaign (anyone remember Peter Tatchell?)

HOWEVER, Warsi has been a disgrace and the No2AV campaign has been telling a few porky pies during this campaign (and I'm a no voter!)

Let's treat the electorate as adults.

And, above all, let's get Warsi off our screens!

Phil Kean

Err, did he say...."huge benefit to Britain having Liberals in Coalition"?

Hold on, did he also say...."2/3rds of Liberal manifesto is included in Coalition agreement"?
And he ADMITS it? An acknowledgement that will feel like a full-on goolie-kick to those of us who saw the substantive content of the Tory manifesto flushed down the drain to appease the Socialist Liberals.

Did he also complain that Dave & George had received bigger Easter eggs than Nick & himself?

Martin Marprelate- A Man in the Street!

I also reject out of hand Hughes' assertion about "The huge benefit to Britain having Liberals in Coalition"? I hope to see the Coalition collapse ASAP and be swept from office along with Cameron's Counterfeit Conservatives.

I do however agree that Warsi, the "Triple Token" Cabinet Member is an absolute disgrace and a waste of space. Her shrill utternaces drive people in the opposite direction to which she and her party desire! After May 5th, when the Referendum and and other elections are done and dusted, I would feel that Cameron needs to have a reshuffle and drop her and a few others who have been of dubious efficacy in their offices.


The awful Simon Hughes and the Liberal Democrats in general fight dirty and even in government continue to do so.

Martin Marprelate- A Man in the Street!

Robert, the Lib-Dems, before them called The Liberal-SDP Alliance" and before that the Liberals (and before that The Whigs although I am not that old to remember them personally), always DID fight dirty. As a former Councillor I have personal experience of that! I have always loathed them and hope that when the Coalition falls and is defeated at a subsequent General Election, the Lib-Dems are reduced back to the handful of MPs they had in 1970 or even fewer than that. If they ended up with only one MP, in Orkney and Shetland, I would be delighted!


Ha ha! "The Straight Choice" Hughes can get lost.

We can't worry about playing nice- AV needs to be defeated by hook or by crook.

Replacing a system where someone gets elected with 30% isn't going to be improved by having a system where the guy who finishes below him on 26% gets in instead.

Martin Marprelate- A Man in the Street!

" AV needs to be defeated by hook or by crook." = Matt @ 01:48pm


That sums it up for me and is why I am glad to have voted already by PV for YES2AV. "By hook or by crook" Why does Robert Mugabe's face come into my mind as I read that? I saw a piece of such policy as this earlier today after I got up from bed however I pulled the flush!

I feel so disgusted by the Counterfeit Cameron Conservative Party and attitides such as this which was NOT the way of the once noble Conservative Party I knew and supported that I would like to see it suffer a defeat similar to Labour in the 1931 Genreal Election when only 52 Labour MPs were elected!

Bad cess to those who would stoop so low as to try to win by foul means and chicanery!


Martin, I'm not saying the No side are perfect. Both sides have been lying and making poor arguments. The most important thing is that AV is defeated- I'm pretty relaxed about how that happens. There will probably be some push-calling happening on polling day and some scare leaflets, most of it untrue, but again, as long as this leads to the right result and a defeat for Clegg and Cable, I'm prepared to support those tactics.

Martin Marprelate- A Man in the Street!

"I'm prepared to support those tactics"

And that is the difference! I as fervently wish YES2AV to win and that we scrap FPTP as you would seem to be to retain the current system but I would NOT be prepared to support such dodgy tactics!

"...some scare leaflets, most of it untrue, but again, as long as this leads to the right result and a defeat for Clegg and Cable, I'm prepared to support those tactics." What next? Intimidation or "Treating" of voters? Other practices that thankfully have been declared illegal or corrupt in UK Elections? We are NOT a Banana Republic were the General in Charge or El Presidente rigs elections to suit, with his "lads" ensuring compliance by the voters!

Now I know where I draw the line, do you? Had I not decided last year to back AV, and had been dithering how to vote, then the campaign so far by the NO Camp would have driven me into the hands of the YES side!


Sayeeda Warsi was quite correct that the AV system will favour the BNP. Other candidates will have to take into account the policies of the BNP in order to encourage the BNP to select them as their second preference candidate.

Martin Marprelate- A Man in the Street!

Robert, please give me the correct figures for the next Euro-millions Lottery draw on Friday 29th April, or possibly tell me how I can find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I'll even go halves with you on the money! Perhaps you can give me Usian Bolt's exact time for the next race he runs?

Seriously, do you believe and regurgitate everything you are told? I think for myself and make my mind up accordingly and do not take as Gospel what politicians and so-called experts tell me. I also try to find my own examples to back my case, a far as possible from real life and history, not use off the shelf "instant whip" ones.

Tell me, if the BNP are going to do so well out of AV, then why the hell are they so set against it and backing your No lobby? I know many politicians hold the BNP and its supporters in very low esteem, but are they REALLY that stupid?

Denis Cooper

Why spend £120 million, or whatever, on machines to do AV counts when humans can do them perfectly well and the additional cost over and above a FPTP count would be about £2 million for each general election, every four or five years?

Here are the tabulated results for an Irish parliamentary by-election held under exactly the variant of AV we would have here:


Ballot paper and pencil followed by a manual count, and what's the problem?

Perhaps a couple of hours delay on average in each of the 600 UK constituencies, unless the number of tellers was increased to speed it up, but that's all.

Gary Farrimond

The Electoral Reform Society, states that AV will eliminate the need to vote tactically, it further states you can vote for your first choice knowing your vote can still decide the winner. So in my view tactical voting is not eliminated just moved from first choice and will apply to second preferences. Further it suggests 1 person multiple preferences/votes!

It has been argued by the Yes campaign that our MP's will have to work harder to win the trust/respect/support of more voters, nothing wrong with that. However, how does that MP breakdown the tribal loyalty to one party that is not theirs in order to win more support? Further what is to stop parties forming pacts to secure 2nd preferences? Clearly we do not know what might happen in the event of us having AV but it is a possibility and sorry but I see this as reducing choice not increasing it, indeed Cable spoke of an alliance of left leaning parties keeping Conservatives out, how is that democratic?

As for the BNP & extreme parties, the Electoral Reform Society states AV would shut down extremism, since these parties would not appeal to the wider electorate. Under the last Labour government BNP candidates got elected as they appeared to speak up for voters when mainstream parties were ignoring their concerns. I'm delighted their appeal is in decline but the electoral system will not eliminate extremism the mainstream parties have to do this and engage with people's concerns. Indeed AV would not stop the BNP if people felt it was the best way to send a shot across the bows of the main parties.

This referendum was demanded by the Lib Dems as their price for supporting Conservatives to form a government. How is the national interest being served by this? The Lib Dem interest is being served but little else, seems all the LD's are concerned with is gaining office. The scandal of MP's expenses will only be resolved by people not voting systems.

I have decided to vote No as the Yes campaign has not addressed my concerns. The campaign has been at best bad tempered but Simon Hughes outburst decided my vote, sorry but given his background in the infamous Bermondsey By Election (in which I campaigned for the Conservative Candidate) I feel he has no moral right to complain.

Further UKIP's stance has decided me to vote No. In the event of a left leaning coalition being elected using AV, which would likely be Euro friendly, how would they help advance UKIP's cause? Unless of course UKIP is a left leaning party of Liberals & Socialists which I have to say I have suspected.

A Public Sector Worker

I still fail to see how it eliminates the need to vote tactically when really using AV you are always voting tactically, well if you're from the left - there's little you can do tactically on the right. AV will benefit Labour and the Lib Dems and that's about it.

Gavin M

How on earth does he think preferential ballots can be counted by hand? Does he want counters to create a pile for each candidate based on first preference, and then physically redistribute ballot papers?

This would probably be even more expensive (and certainly more time consuming) than counting machines.

Denis Cooper

Gavin M - Preferential ballots would be counted here in each parliamentary constituency pretty much as they were in this Irish parliamentary by-election held under AV, that is by hand:



I do however agree that Warsi, the "Triple Token" Cabinet Member is an absolute disgrace and a waste of space. Her shrill utternaces drive people in the opposite direction to which she and her party desire! After May 5th, when the Referendum and and other elections are done and dusted, I would feel that Cameron needs to have a reshuffle and drop her and a few others who have been of dubious efficacy in their offices.

My wife was going to vote no, (I'm a yes) until she saw Warsi, then she changed to a yes.

Denis Cooper

Some people have been deliberately misled into imagining that a manual AV count must be a difficult and protracted affair, possibly with all the ballot papers having to be sorted and counted again and again with the risk that it will descend into chaos.

That isn't the case in practice, as is clear from the real-life example of this Irish parliamentary by-election held under AV:


There were nine candidates and it needed eight counting rounds to finally identify the winner, with these numbers of ballot papers being sorted and counted in each round:

1. 28,412
2. 203
3. 528
4. 676
5. 893
6. 3,621
7. 4,420
8. 6,537

Total = 45,290

In the first round, the count of the first preference votes, the tellers had to sort and count all 28,412 valid ballot papers, just as in the single count under FPTP.

But the second round after the elimination of the bottom candidate, O'Loughlin, involved sorting and counting only the 203 ballot papers in his pile, which would have taken very little time; and similarly with the next three counting rounds, each of which involved less than 1,000 ballot papers.

Only after that did the number of ballot papers to be dealt with in each successive counting round start to become significant, and so start to create a significant increase in the work and time required.

Overall because of AV the tellers had to carry out 16,878 additional sorting and counting operations, an increase of 59% over those needed for FPTP.

It may be argued that the tellers would be slower picking out the correct number 1, 2 etc than a single X, but on the other hand it may be argued that on average we would not have nine candidates in each constituency and some of the results would be decided on the first count.

It should also be borne in mind that the tellers are not active for the whole of the period between the polls closing and the result being declared, and that the transport of ballot boxes, the verification count, the fiirst count proper when ballot papers were actually sorted between candidates, and the delay after completion of the count before the result was finally declared, would all be essentially the same under AV as under FPTP.

So it would probably be a generous estimate to say that on average the declaration would delayed by maybe 2 hours under AV compared to FPTP, unless more tellers were employed.

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