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May 06, 2011


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"Clear, intelligible and correct explanations of AV were very hard to come by"

This is true of the mainstream media, but there were some good ones on Facebook. I think the one with the broadest appeal that I saw went along the lines of "It's like X-Factor - if the one you voted for first gets knocked out, you still get to choose from who's left"

But then I guess most folk with little interest in politics, whose friends have little interest in politics, don't get to see those very often.


"we have more people not voting than voting.

It's a fact that going to a polling station, putting an x on a piece of paper (not to mention having an opinion) has been a step way too far for years for Millions of British people.

'let's not vote, they're all the same, what difference can i make etc........'

Better to stay on the sofa, eat, drink, whine , read comic tabloids, and watch multiple soap's and reality TV.

As Huw points out, it's the electorate that has created and maintained both the political parties and politicians that we have.

And last Thursday the British public showed how delighted they are with it that they voted overwhelmingly to preserve it!


"so what does that say about our democratic system."

It says that people despite having the power to change things, choose not to and then complain about what they did nothing about.

The biggest problem in this country is not politicians or parties, the biggest problem is the disengaged, irresponsible electorate.

Paul Flynn

Sharon, not clear what your point about the % who voted in Newport. More people did not watch the royal wedding on television than watched it. So what? It's stil hailed as a major success.

Both Newport seats had Labour majorities above 50%. My share of the vote last year was low at 42%. In the past it has been 62%. AV is not a personal worry in Newport West. When the new boundaries are drawn Newport is likely to be a safer seat for Labour.

I previously blogged on the 'Referendums of two lies". The campaigns on both sides were public relation deceptions. Nevertheless AV was a progressive reform


more people didnt vote in newport than voted


nobody won the vote

both systems were floored and none of the alternatives made our votes really count.

if the choice was pr not av the outcome would have been a yes vote outcome.

we have more people not voting than voting.
because most people not want labour/liberals or conservatives.

if there was a none of the above on our ballot sheet the dinosaur parties who are not relevant to most people would never get into power in the first place.

even though paul says newport is a labour town ,more people didnt vote for paul flynn than voted.

so what does that say about our democratic system.


Paul, let Guto have his moment of joy, after all as he points out he and the no to av lot got 35% of people in his own constituency to vote against their own best interests and seriously hamper their chances of ever electing to parliament someone they actually want, it is a stellar achievement.

Paul Flynn

My constituency is one of the largest in Wales with 63,000 voters. The Newport seat after Cameron butchery is likely to be even safer for Labour than now. If it was self-interest my vote would have gone the other way.

You fail to notice that Cameron is destroying a quarter of Welsh seats while creating 117 new peers. Democracy?

I do not know the details of your double expulsion from the party that has welcomed Ron Davies with open arms. Their standards are not high What on earth did you do?

Guto Bebb

Paul, rather personal comments which indicate a degree of passion on the subject of AV which would surprise a majority of your fellow Labour MP's let alone your Labour voters.

You are correct that the Conservative Party won Aberconwy on 34% of the vote. However those 52% of Plaid and Labour voters you mention must also have voted no to AV since the result in Aberconwy was 69% against change. So much for alleged self-interest beind the basis for the result.

As for my alleged self-interest again a charge you know to be false. I voted to reduce the number of Welsh Members of Parliament to ensure that one person over votes means an equal vote. As a result Aberconwy will go and thus my 'alleged' safety as an MP under the current system. Of course, you voted to keep a situation that sees myself representing 45,000 voters but most English members representing 70,000. So much for your concern for equal votes!

Of course, your defence of 40 Welsh MP's had nothing to do with the self-interest of the Labour Party.

Finally, I did not leave Plaid. I was kicked out twice. But why let the truth get in the way of a cheap shot eh?

As I said, sour grapes never looked good but it is in ample supply on your recent comments.

Paul Flynn

About time you confessed to bit of self-interest in your No vote campaign, Guto? The elected AM in your constituency won a mere 33% of the vote. Her Labour and Plaid Cymru opponents had 26% each. Under AV very few of the Labour and Plaid voters would have given the Tory their second preferences and the Tory would probably have lost. As the figures were similar in your election, you were named as an MP who is most likely to lose your seat under AV. You were elected only because the radical Labour and Plaid votes are evenly split.

That 33% was by far the lowest winning % in any Welsh constituency. Your NO zeal is a coincidence?

Do you kid yourself that yours is a principled position or crude opportunism like your move from Plaid?

I have no personal axe to grind expect as a 'Chartist" MP continuing the electoral reforms that Chartists in Newport sacrificed their lives for in 1839. As both Newport seats were won this week by more than 50% by Labour, I can be absolved of any self-interest as AV will have no effect on my next election campaign(s).

Guto Bebb

Some sour grapes here Paul.

Great result - people in Wales saw through the silly claims made by you and othes in favour of AV.


"You didn't win so the electorate must be thick. Deeply insulting and anti democratic which is ironic given your alleged reasons for wanting AV.

Of course the whole point of AV was we didn't win so we want to change the system. So nothing suprising here."

It was a simple choice Mark, the electorate could have representation closer to their actual preference or keep things the same.
Whoever you support, presumably the tories but possibly labour depending on where you are it might benefit you currently for the system to be unfair but it will eventually bite you in the backside.

For people to reject more control is dumb, it is stupid; and the majority lost as a result of this referendum because large numbers of them voted against their own and their countries' best interests.

It is not anti-democratic to criticise people for making a stupid, uninformed and ignorant decision, someone who objects to criticism as being anti-democratic has little or no understanding of democracy, which, fair enough; is the position and level of understanding of the majority who voted in the referendum. Which does not make it any less sad or pathetic.

Wyn you are right, AV was not PR and it was not what we should have been voting on but it was still a better system than the one we have and would have laid a marker down that reform was something desired by the people, unfortunately simple numbers were too complicated for many who find that marking paper with an X taxes their intellect to the maximum.

The circumstances that led to the opportunity to push for a more democratic system will be unlikely to arise within the current generation or the next, this really was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The major 2 parties have a vested interest in not debating the issue so while I would support any better system than the one we have now and would do anything I could to help we would have to be amazingly lucky to find the opportunity to make any real progress arrive again while we are still walking the earth.


Paul the fact is that those who wanted to change the current electoral system FAILED to convince the majority of those who voted, and FAILED to convince the majority of those eligible to vote to support a change.
You can use as many excuses, and well worn they are e.g. tabloid press, self interest etc., as you like. But all your whining and whingeing will not change the truth that those who wanted a change should first look in the mirror and not blame the electorate or try to hide behind their trite excuses.
Frankly spitting out your dummy when the electorate have rejected your case for change is neither democratic nor persuasive.

Paul Flynn

of course a proportional vote is a better prospect Wyn. But if the establishment strangled AV at birth, they will do the same for any proportional system.

Paul Flynn

An alternative view is 'The lobbyists have it.'

Referendums solve nothing . The 1975 Euro referendum was one when both sides were wrong. Neither of the dreaded or hoped for outcomes happened.

Again both sides in this referendum asked their PR people what gimmicks will play the best with the voters -regardless of the truth of the case.

The NO campaign was naked self-interest by the Tory and parts of the Labour Party. A useful reform has been lost for a generation.

Wyn Hobson

"This was our chance to make the system fairer. There will not be another one."

History does not support such a conclusion. We need look no further than the history of referenda in Wales, where claims that a particular result has 'ended the debate once and for all' have consistently been proved unfounded within a few years.

Think of the series of seven-yearly local referenda on Sunday Opening of pubs in Wales between 1961 and 2003, which ultimately opened them all; or the 1979 referendum on setting up a National Assembly for Wales, whose 'No' vote was reversed by the referendum of 1997.

Nerve should be held, and the campaign for STV should begin now, starting with clear and intelligible explanations of how STV works. One of the reasons for Thursday's 'No' vote was that clear, intelligible and correct explanations of AV were very hard to come by.

Contrary to what most 'Yes' and 'No supporters claimed and believed, AV is not a system of proportional representation; and the Australian experience shows that it favours the two largest parties, depriving smaller parties of fair representation, to an even greater extent than First Past The Post.

The irony of the result is that Conservative and Labour supporters who wanted to see their parties' power bolstered in even more flagrant violation of natural justice should have voted 'Yes'.

Mark Sutton

You didn't win so the electorate must be thick. Deeply insulting and anti democratic which is ironic given your alleged reasons for wanting AV.

Of course the whole point of AV was we didn't win so we want to change the system. So nothing suprising here.


No wonder why we have largely rubbish politicians.

It is a resounding fact that we have a bin quality electorate.

All my life i have listened to stereotypes complaining that 'they're all the same', 'I can't change anything' etc.

They are right! Give them an opportunity to make a change and 58% of them decide not to bother even voting at all.


Incredibly disappointing that when asked if they wanted to have more control over who gets elected to represent them, the people of Britain gave the resounding answer "NO".


"FPTP has unfairly kept the Tories in power for much of the past hundred years. This was our chance to make the system fairer."

From my point of view though (and this is what puts me off parliamentary politics), is both sides have been transphobic for the past hundred years etc. - to the extent that they dare not acknowledge that anyone outside of their precious gender binary even exists.

Thus, people who don't conform (or even are judged by others) to not conform to certain (as some would say artificially-constructed) gender stereotypes would never stand a cat in hell's chance of belonging to one of the three main political parties.

So yeah, lab/lib/con same diff when it comes to 'certain' issues?

But perhaps someone whom the con/lib/lab wannabe triumvirate wouldn't consider conventionally gendered might just have been the person with the propaganda skills to help either of these now lacklustre cadres gain power?

So yeah, the consolation prize might just well be that now we're not the only sorry ones.

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