Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

REFERENDUM DAY. (Democracy is cheap today)

I’m 41, and I have never voted. Nope, thats nonsense, let me re-phrase it. I have never cast a vote that ever influenced anything, ever. That’s because I’ve always lived in a ‘safe seat’ meaning the local MP had nothing to fear, knowing he (and it was always a he) had a job for life, huge salary and expenses to boot.

Today I will be voting in the UK referendum on changing the voting system. I’ll be voting yes, but regardless of my personal views on that, my vote will actually be counted, because it’s not being done on some patronising non-proportional system like constituency voting. I know that AV isn’t PR, but it’s better than FPTP. I have grown incensed by the total lies put out by the No2AV campaign. I’m strongly pro-AV, and I could make a much better argument for FPTP than they did, but they chose to pretend it would cost more (what price democracy eh?) and that the money would be taken from intensive care wards to pay for it. They literally tried to claim that if you vote YesToAV, children would die.


I hear that the No camp will be annoyed if yes wins on a low turnout, which is ironic, because the whole problem of first past the post is that there is no actual post. You can win with 1% of the vote, if every other candidate only gets 0.99%. So if there is a 1% turnout and yes wins, it will be a victory on the terms of FPTP. Bwahahahahaha. I got 3 No2AV leaflets through my door, with the postman, meaning it’s not being done by political activists for free, but being paid for, no doubt by some wealthy people with a vested interest in the current system.

So anyway, back to the voting system cost issue, to prove to them that the cost of Democracy should not be an issue, Democracy 2 is 50% off today with a special code. Check it out:

50% off Democracy2.

Happy voting,

15 thoughts on REFERENDUM DAY. (Democracy is cheap today)

  1. Here in Australia, we’ve had proportional voting for ages. The worst thing about it is that if an election for, say, a State Upper House, has huge numbers of candidates, the ballots become hilariously gigantic. But you don’t have to fill in every one of the dozens of boxes. The giant ballots are actually quite manageable, even if you have to flop them around like a holy scroll in your little cardboard booth.

    Australians are pretty universally bemused by countries like the USA that somehow manage to make a FPTP election complicated and full of unlikely, un-standardised, often highly technically questionable, machinery. Australian ballots are paper, and Australian ballot boxes are cardboard. As Bruce Schneier says, security comes from people, not technology.

    (Paper ballots do take longer to count, and proportional voting necessarily makes the count take longer. If you don’t have that US mania to know THE EXACT RESULT RIGHT NOW JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE TV NETWORKS ARE WAITING, though, this is not actually much of a problem.)

  2. I think the solution to huge votelists would be tougher requirements to get on the ballot. Maybe you need to be part of a party that got 5% of the vote, or get 1% of the district to sign a petition to put your name on the ballot?

    The US does have that, and it works a little too well sometimes.

  3. Thanks man,

    Here in NZ we’re just about to have the OPPOSITE referendum *sigh*.

    We’ve had MMP for the last few elections here, and I think it’s worked really nicely. I vote Green here, and they actually get seats. Seats! The UK Greens only just got their first seat…

    I don’t feel sanguine about the prospects for your referendum, though. Many of the liberal-type people who would normally vote for a better system will be feeling betrayed by the way things have worked out with the Lib Dems, and will not trust coalitions.

    Good luck!

  4. Actually, now that I think of it (like most people, I think about voting only occasionally, even if I happen to be doing it at the time…), the bedsheet-ballot and proportional-voting things are not closely related.

    The ridiculous Upper House ballots are only so huge because proportionality has been extended to every single candidate, even though those candidates are members of a rather smaller number of parties. Remove the ability to express preferences WITHIN a given party ticket, and the ballot would shrink immensely.

    This is what I’m talking about:

    Each column is one party, each box below the line is one candidate. (At least three parties are guaranteed to be something that even political junkies have never heard of.)

  5. I voted yes on AV, but I don’t think we stand a chance thanks to all the bull from the NO camp and using Clegg as an AV scapegoat. I have never voted Liberal and never will under AV, so why are so many people voting against change because of their feelings towards the Liberal Democrats. Just change the system and don’t vote for them!

  6. I will be voting for AV too. The campaigns/debates have been awful though. The politicians tried to make it about *themselves*, like a vote for AV is a vote for Nick Clegg, a vote for FPTP is a vote for Cameron. What a bunch of buffoons, the lot of them. I hope they dont interpret my vote as support for them, but of course they will.

    I dont think AV is perfect, but on balance we have to get rid of tactical voting and ‘wasted’ votes.

  7. Hi Cliff. Your website is very hard to read when browsed with images turned off (which I do to save bandwidth in NZ), you could fix this by added a white background color to the body CSS.

  8. Well, I’m actually voting NO to AV.

    It’s not that I think that FPTP is in any way great or perfect but I feel it’s slightly better than AV or some of the other PR systems which I feel give voters for fringe parties a lot more power per vote than the majority of people who voted for a leading candidate and has the potential for more hung parliaments.

    So I personally think that the only ones in the country who would benefit from AV are the LibDems.

    To be honest, I’ve seen a lot of total BS from both pro-AV and pro-FPTP people, one pro-AV leaflet I saw claimed that voting for FPTP will cause massive unemployment but suspiciously failed to give a reason for that.
    So basically I’ve tried to detune from the campaigning and make my own mind up.

    FWIW, I suspect our differing views come from our locations too, I live in a frequently contested seat where we seem to have labour and tory MPs at different times.

  9. FPTP works in competitive seats. Not every seat is competitive, and at least in the US, there is a perverse incentive to make seats uncompetitive.

    Gerrymandering is a huge problem with House districts (but not Senate). This is why Americans hate Congress but re-elect 90% of their house members every time.

    I don’t think that’s as bad a problem in UK, but not sure. Rotten Boroughs are something you guys dealt with before (and American House districts are like that in many cases)

  10. AV is a fudge.

    One person, one vote.

    its the parties that are the problem not the seats, but the boundries are a massive problem in themselves.

    AV means you get the best loser, its complex, expensive and a sop to the liberals. Even Clegg called it a grubby little deal

    PR would be better or a altered FPTP, anything but AV.

  11. I’d quite happily vote for AV, but I think Iain may have a point about your location factoring in. I’m from a safe seat area, we’ve had the same MP for as long as I can remember and my votes make no difference at all and so AV looks at least like I have have a say. AV is still one person one vote, but if you choose the least popular party in your area, your vote should at least go to someone with slightly better odds of beating the “safe seat” MP. One person one vote, but I want my vote to transfer to where it’s useful.

    Or, full PR.

  12. The problem with this referendum (and also elections) is that there is no “none of the above” box on the ballot paper. I voted yes, but I don’t want AV, I want PR. They will interpret that as people wanting AV, much like elections when people quite often vote against parties by voting for the other one. The other party always interprets that as people wanting them in power, when it’s probably that they’re the lesser of two evils.

  13. I voted yes, but would rather an STV commons and PR lords. FPTP, AV, STV, PR or any other voting system doesn’t increase or decrease the likelihood of a hung parliament – it’s people voting for more than 2 parties that increases the likelihood of a hung parliament in any voting system (pure PR included). We should be ashamed at being selfish enough to vote for anything other than Labour or the Conservative Party.

    I’d love to see the result in Norwich South if AV does manage to win. I doubt the liberal democrats will retain the seat, and the greens are popular enough as a 2nd party, that they could win overall so long as one of the major 3 parties finish below them. It’d be good to see more parties represented in parliament (greens, UKIP etc) and see many of them start to mature into realistic choices for government.

    @Toby G – AV is essentially a modified FPTP, instant runoff would probably have been a better name for it. It’s not complex, nor is it expensive.

  14. My vote would go to “no” because i believe FPTP to be a better system and am not to concerned about proportionality.

    I live in a area where my vote is a failed vote, and always has been. That’s ok, if it really bothered me i’d move.

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