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The truth about AV [Apr. 21st, 2011|03:41 pm]
There is so much mud-slinging and misinformation being thrown around about AV, it is really sickening.  So, I thought I would do a post that was about the genuine pro's and con's of the electoral systems on offer at the May 5th referendum. 

I admit that I am planning to vote yes to AV, but I am trying not to be biased here.  I am also not going to discuss any other electoral systems (e.g. PR), as they are not being voted on in this referendum. 

+ vastly reduces tactical voting
+ works with multi-party ballots (and can still work for two-party ballots)
+ need a majority of (non-exhausted) votes to win
[EDIT - debunked, see below] can take longer to count, especially in marginal constituencies (may not get some results for a few days)
? can lead to more hung parliaments (I'm not sure that this is a con if it representative of the population's views - isn't that more democratic?)

[EDIT] + faster to count (get all the results on the night)
- similar candidates split the vote, leading to tactical voting being very prominent
- less than third of MPs in the 2010 UK election had 50% of the votes (data from here:http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/may/07/uk-election-results-data-candidates-seats#data
? less likely to result in hung parlianments (not sure this is a pro, isn't it less democratic)

Please add more points and corrections in the comments!!!

Also, here are some common claims from these campaigns that are wrong:

Did AV lead to compulsory voting in Australia due to reduced turnout? No
Antony Green has a really good post about this here: http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/03/no-link-between-alternative-vote-and-compulsory-voting-in-australia.html

Will electronic vote counting machines be needed under AV? No
Australia doesn't need them, so why would the UK? (http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/03/does-australia-use-counting-machines-to-count-the-alternative-vote.html)

AV is too complex
I find this one really insulting.  Ok, the explanantion takes a paragraph, not a sound bite, but it really isn't that complicated!  I like this: http://www2.b3ta.com/host/creative/67427/1302893882/AV.jpg

AV is why Australia doesn't get results on the night of the election
Thanks to puzzlingspiv  for this link: http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/04/a-summary-of-the-misrepresentations-of-australias-voting-system.html

If you have any others, please comment and I will add them!
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Quotas for women on boards [Mar. 8th, 2011|01:31 pm]
Tony Abbot says women should earn board positions
He says that he has "always been cool on quotas" because "if we give them [women] more opportunities to show their merits we'll see more success".

That is perhaps the arguement for why quotas could be useful, at least in the short to medium term.  We have been trying the "we'll hire women on their merit" approach for over 50 years, and although there has been progress, it has been glacial.  The cultural change that is needed to provide these opportunites to women just isn't happening on its own.  Perhaps quotas can kick start the chagne.

I believe that there is a fairly well documented tendency for boards to appoint other board members like themselves (I'll try to hunt down some references later).  And as board members are overwhelmingly male, white and wealthy, it follows that they hire other wealthy, white men.  So if they were forced (for example by quotas) to appoint someone different, they might finally see that there is merit outside their mould.  I'm sure that it isn't a dearth of suitable women, it is the opportunities that are lacking. 

I do agree that quotas are not ideal, and that's why I would suggest they are at best a medium term option.  But as a tool for cultural change, they could be effective.  Thoughts?

PS Happy International Women's Day!
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Voting dilemmas [Apr. 10th, 2010|05:20 pm]
This will be my first UK general election so I'm looking at how I want to vote (as I am definitely going to vote).  It is actually quite weird that I don't actually have to vote, but as far as I'm concerned, it is my responsibility as a member of this democracy that I do.

I live in the Glasgow South electorate, which is a very safe Labour seat (it hs been held by Labour since 1979).  Last election the Labour candidate receieved 47.2% of the vote.  The next nearest candidate was the LibDem with 19.0%.  The incumbent member is standing again.  As the system here is "first past the post", the likelihod of any other candidate receiving more votes is almost inconceivable.  It is quite disheartening to think that my vote is almost totally ineffectual.

I don't like the FPTP system.  It is entirely possible (and possibly even likely) that the majority of people may actively not want the candidate who wins.  This seems to be less of a problem in my electorate since nearly half the votes are likely to go to the winning candidate, but it doesn't sit well with me in general.  I also don't lik that "strategic voting" becomes important. 

For example, say Mr A is the favourite, but I don't like him.  My preferred candidate Ms B, but she is not very popular and  Mrs C is more liklely to be able to get more votes than Mr A.  In Australia, I would be able to indicate my preferences, B, C then A.  Assuming B does indeed receive the least number of votes, my vote passes to C and my preference against A is counted in the final tally.  Here I only get to vote for one person.  Do I vote for B, or do I vote for C in the hope that they will get more votes than A?  And how many other people are trying to make this decision, and which way will they go?  If everyone who actually preferes B votes for C, then we have the greatest chance of getting our preferred candidate between A and C.  This somehow feels wrong.  Why should I have to second guess how other people will vote in order to for my vote to count effectively.  It could be worse, what if B drops out of the running in order to try and prevent the split vote, then I don't even get the choice. 

The preferential system may seem more complicated at first glance, which I think is what turns off the UK from making the change.  They even refer to is as the "alternative voting" system, which seems to make it seem even less clear.  But as someone who is trying to make an informed vote, it would certainly be easier if I could simply list my preferences, and know that my vote will be counted the way I want it to be counted. 

Of course, all of this is moot in my particular case, as I don't think there is any combination of candidates that could try for a strategic vote to beat the incumbent.  I also don't dislike the guy we have.  I can almost see why people don't bother; it is all too hard and my vote probably won't change anything anyway.  Given my current feelings of democratic powerlessness, it is hard to raise the motivation to research the candidates (and their parties) that are standing in my electorate. Good thing I've got a few weeks yet to get around to it!
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(no subject) [May. 16th, 2009|10:54 am]
I have stopped the twitter updates :)
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bullet point updates [May. 15th, 2009|10:05 pm]
  • 10:28 I'm thinking of trying this twitter
    thing again. Hopefully I have managed to stop it automatically updating facebook #
  • 13:05 Testing my new selective facebook and twitter integration part 1 #fb #
  • 13:06 Testing part 2 #
  • 13:10 I've just realised that all my tweets still go to my lj. I wonder if it will annoy people too much? #
  • 13:16 Is really enjoying her iPhone :) #fb #
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I ran (jogged/walked) 10 kilometres today! [May. 10th, 2009|07:14 pm]
1st kilometre: things went well, I was feeling good
2nd kilometre: felt a lot longer than the 1st k, but still going well
3rd-5th kilometres: each one felt longer than the previous
6th kilometre: gave up and walked for a while
7th kilometre: we were in Pollok park, and I much prefer running in parks. Things were looking much better :)
8th kilometre: Hill! more walking
9th and 10th kilometres: home stretch! I made it! Yay!!!

I don't know my official time yet. The clock was saying about one and a half hours as I ran under it, but as I was in the second last group to start, I think my actual time will come in about one hour and fifteen minutes. Not great, but not too bad :)
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bullet point updates [Mar. 16th, 2009|10:03 pm]

  • 19:56 just had a really good session at the gym #

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bullet point updates [Mar. 15th, 2009|10:03 pm]

  • 20:25 is half way through the Haydn concert #

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bullet point updates [Feb. 4th, 2009|10:09 pm]

  • 09:06 I love the way frost makes everything glitter #

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The view from my office window at the moment [Feb. 2nd, 2009|02:06 pm]
[Current Mood |workingworking]

I'm glad I'm inside right now!

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