Posts filed under ‘thoughts’

Why doesn’t the EU want us to have AV?

Well I’m voting Yes to AV, after all I’m pretty sure I invented it on this blog at some point (it was just coincidence that someone else had invented before me!)

Latest post from Conservatives on AV: here

AV is unfair: With our current system, everyone gets one vote. But under AV, supporters of extreme parties like the BNP would be more likely to get their votes counted more times, meaning their votes are worth more than yours.
AV is unclear: Under AV, the candidate who finishes third can be declared the winner thanks to an unclear, complicated voting process. It’s like someone coming third in a running race winning the gold medal.
AV is unpopular: Just three countries in the world – Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia – use AV, compared to almost half the world’s electors who use our current system.
AV is expensive: Calculating the results is a long, complicated process, which could cost the taxpayer millions.

Here’s my response to that.

AV is unfair, FPTP is unfair, life is Unfair: With our current system, everyone gets one vote. With AV everyone gets one vote.
AV is clear: Under AV, the best candidate who could finish third under FPTP can be declared the winner thanks to an clear, uncomplicated voting process. It’s like winning a match but losing on aggregate.
AV is unpopular: Britain is unique and its parliament the envy of the world, we should choose the system that is right and make it popular around the world.
AV is expensive: Democracy is expensive but as AV and FPTP are similar in cost I don’t think it’s relevant here.

On any logical basis for either stats or science, a test which from the same source can produce a much more accurate and informative result without affecting the source too much, for such a small additional energy cost has got to be right.

The race analogy used by Cameron is either insulting or very telling that he views politics as a tribal, everyone for themselves type affair. Which goes against what he said when trying to get a coalition. I wonder why he’s making himself look stupid and untrustworthy like this – given I would expect it would make little difference his and the Conservative party being elected (AV might improve it I would guess) then I can only assume it has something to do with the EU who seem to be the basis of everything counter intuitive or silly. I’ve just not worked out why yet.

So since doing stupid analogies appears to be the fashion,  I have a fish analogy which I’ll stretch to fit….

Suppose you have 100 various tropical fish but only 1 tank and you want to know how to salt the water

25 Like sea salt.
19 Like rock salt
21 Like a salt mix
35 Like no salt at all.

Under FPTP you’d put in no salt and most of your fish die – not ideal.

OK.. So we’re told FPTP is simple,  maybe for counting but not on the voters (which is the wrong way round seeing as the counters know how the system works and voters may not)  so I’ll take this into consideration…

Perhaps if the fish were smart they could second guess their tankmates and so considering some could handle other salts the voting may go:

12% Sea, 18% Rock, 39% Mix, 31% none
So FPTP has appeared to work (assuming they understand the complex way they have to vote to stay alive) and most of your fish survive.

But you own a pet shop that has 600 tanks and you only want to get one type of salt, or make up one mix.

The majority of tanks have voted for a mix so this doesn’t tell you much.  You either have to just do what you want and risk upsetting a lot of fish if you get it wrong,  or take a guess from the data you do have.

So you’d make a mix using mostly rock salt as this came second of those that wanted some salt and even though you were trying to do the right thing, you haven’t as Sea salt is the 2nd most popular.

Next time round, Sea salters are apathetic and stay home, Rock salters are enthused by nearly beating Mix splitting the salty vote all over the place and making None win again, killing most of the fish and causing the banking crash.

So let’s apply AV:

First round would come close to being their preferences.

25 Sea, 19 Rock, 21 Mix and 35 None.

Rock gets kicked out and 2nd choice is mix, Sea next and goes for Mix and we end up with the Mix winning- Only this time we can see that we’d prefer a mostly Sea salt mix both improving the system and meaning that chances are it will give a well fitting result next time too

Now obviously this isn’t perfect. It could turn out many of the No Salt lot and all of the Sea lot wouldn’t mind Rock salt so that would be  a better answer but this would mean counting everyone’s second vote in the second round and then reapplying this to decide who should have gone out in the first round – this would further simplify the voters job, moving the complexity onto counting which is fine as long as it’s open and obviously fair.
This probably would require computing power and therefore electronic voting machines. Chances are even if we keep FPTP we’d get these at some point but this is irrelevant to this referendum as the AV on offer can be done simply by moving piles around and just redistributing the losing candidates votes.

Perhaps this whole idea of governments being voted in every 5 years is outdated and we should all be able to vote on the internet whenever we feel like it to create a fluidly dynamic system – Of course there will be people that say it will cause unstable government as people would vote them out every time they do something unpopular but necessary but that’s just like saying the printing press should be banned and all learning should take place in church on Sunday… The public as a whole isn’t as stupid as they make out and realise that some unpopular things are actually good for the country and everyone in the long run – If there was an actual general election tomorrow, I’m sure we’d probably end up with a pretty similar result to what we have now rather than some huge labour landslide the polls suggest.  So after some initial violent swings as the system is introduced it will settle down.
The voting site can include a blog for the government to defend against the sensationalist media story of the day.
Perhaps it would be advantageous to only change the Prime Minister on a yearly basis for now though.
It might take the fun out of all the election, but then would mean the parties wouldn’t have to spend loads of time and money every 5 years making stuff up about how they are different to the others or how wonderful they are when that’s about as truthful and useful as judging someone based on just their CV/Interview.
It’s right that we should get to vote bad governments out and wrong that a PM gets to choose when to have an election, so this resolves this issue in a much more democratic way than having to wait 5 years.

OK, I appear to have rambled far from the issue in hand – Time for tea.


April 18, 2011 at 16:58 1 comment

Thought of today

With the increase of surveillance, it is possible to enforce more law, but there is need for less.

For example, drinking on the tube.
Imagine the whole underground is covered by CCTV. This would enable the non-drinking law to be enforced, but there would be no need for it.
The only problem with drinking on the tube is that when some people drink it can lead to antisocial or violent behavior.
This behavior is illegal already and if there was omnipresent surveillance the laws that cover those things can be enforced.

So we should say ‘yay for cctv’? no. Unfortunately people in power want more power, and they will see the ability to put in a new law that wouldn’t have been enforceable before and grasp it with both hands without seeing the consequences.

Such as the talk of making isps retain data
This will mean there’s a whole bunch of stuff they could get you for such as possessing images that they deam are unsafe in the “dangerous images act” or stuff  that they deam “stolen” in the now absurd copyright laws (I’ll prob post about them soon!)
This will just mean that we will do away with the ISP – sharing directly to other home users over wireless making everything untraceful and make enforcing real crimes much harder.

Which in a way is the same as prohibition – making it illegal, making it worse.

You may not beleive in general liberalising and think people should be restricted but in the same way as liberalising the markets with simple but enforced rules has proven to be the best method, so must this happen socially.

It probably won’t though.
Those that are liberal often are less disciplined or power hungry, meaning that they end up being lower earners.
Many lower earners think fairness is that those that have done well for themselves should pay for everyone else. Resulting in people associating free social ideas with restrictive economic policies leading to the vice versa; free marketeers implementing ridiculous authoritarian policies as they don’t want to be associated with another party or side.

May 17, 2008 at 19:30 Leave a comment


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