One of our colleagues from Aberdeen writes to the BBC Any Answers team as part of their coverage of the Alternative Vote Referendum putting the case for the Alternative Vote succinctly.
Dear Any Answers Team,
Last night Margaret Beckett trotted out the irrelevant truism that some votes count more than others under AV. Of course they do: the only system under which all votes count the same is PR.
The important point is that more votes count under AV than under First Past The Post. Under First Past The Post, the only votes that count are those that bring the winner 1 vote past the runner up, typically around one third of the votes cast. AV ensures that at least 50% of votes are reflected in the selection of the MP.
No To AV supporters are terrified that the additional approximately one sixth of votes that will count under AV will remove the unfair advantage currently held by their party. This motivates all their arguments, most of which are spurious.
Having mentioned PR, I have no patience with those who will vote No because AV is not PR. They are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Having chosen AV and its advantages being more widely appreciated, the electorate is likely to ask “Why don’t we reflect the FIRST preference of EVERY voter in the composition of the parliament?”.
(phone numbers supplied but deleted on forwarding to Edinburgh YTFV)