AV or not AV – that is the Question?

jew_voting

An Israeli voter casting his ballot under the country's PR list system

A number of England First members and supporters have asked for our view on the referendum for ‘AV’ and how they should vote, that’s if they bother to vote at all.

In our view AV will NOT help nationalist parties and neither is it in principle more democratic than the present system. Only a form of Proportional Representation would satisfy both of these objectives.

Nationalists can win local council seats with not much over 25% under the present first past the post. We would NOT be able to do that under AV, though of course under a PR system we would win seats in proportion to our growing electoral support.

Very few countries have true pure PR – i.e. a system where if you get 1% of the vote you get 1% of the seats, and so on. Even those countries with some form of PR generally have a “threshold”, whereby you must for example win 5% support (in Germany) or 2% (in Israel) to gain any seats at all. Some countries such as Portugal have no threshold but have a list system similar to our European elections, broken down into large regional constituencies. Any of these systems would be better than our present system, but AV has none of their advantages.

So on Thursday May 5th, if you do bother to go out and vote in the referendum – VOTE NO to AV. Not because we love the present “first past the post” system, but because at the moment it’s the best we have got.

see also the detailed analysis of AV’s implications published by The Guardian

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