The problem with First Past the Post

First Past the Post is broken. Dan Snow looks at why First Past the Post is broken, and then at a historical perspective of our constitution and why Coalitions are more likely under First Past the Post (as well as AV).

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2 Responses to The problem with First Past the Post

  1. Jay says:

    The point is first choice is first choice – i.e the choice that is preferable obviously. Nobody prefers second choice.
    Second or third choice is just that second or third, NOT the one you prefer.
    That’s why I’m voting NO.

    • Chris B says:

      Thanks Jay for your comment. Many, many people’s first vote under First Past The Post isn’t their first choice – it’s a tactical choice based on the people who are likely to win. If you don’t believe this pick up any Lib Dem leaflet, as they are a party who use (and are very good at it, sadly) ‘squeeze messages’. It normally contains a bar-chart and, so and so [insert Labour or Conservative] can’t win here. The Alternative Vote gets rid of this ‘sqeeze’ messaging and reduces any need for tactical voting.

      If you want to just vote for a one choice under the new system you can do – just put a ‘1’ or an ‘X’ by your candidate. But many people have preferences and the choice isn’t black or white.

      If you always vote for the same party which it sounds like you do? Then under the current system, your vote doesn’t decide elections anyway. It is a small number of swing voters who decide who governs the country (about 460,000 swing voters or 1.6% of the electorate). This number gets smaller and smaller at every election. This means to win an election your party will always be targetting these voters (not you), so their policies will be aimed to win over swing Labour/ Conservative voters. If you ever felt your party had ‘gone off message’, maybe gone to far right (Labour) or too soft (Tory) then this will only keep happening, and probably get worse. Many people say ‘all politicians sound the same’ – this is why.

      Under the Alternative Vote, because there are more marginal seats, parties will have more movement on policy and will be able to target other groups to support them. It won’t completely solve the problem but it will mean you’ll find parties are more interested in listen to you.

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