[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Wed Dec 24 06:27:41 PST 2008

I wrote:
> > As I have said many times before, it is my firmly held view that 
> > single-winner voting systems should NEVER be used for the general
> > election of the members of any assembly (city council,
> > state legislature, state or federal parliament, House of Representatives or
> > Senate).  All such assemblies should be elected by an
> > appropriate PR voting system.

Juho replied:
> Ok, sorry for giving the opposite
> impression. I was replying to several
> streams and finding reasons behind why
> people in two-party countries don't
> like methods that may elect candidates
> that have only 5% first place support.

Juho had written earlier:
> > > This approach works for two-party systems,
> > > although PR of those two parties will not
> > > be provided.

I replied:
> > Statements like this are commonly made, but are completely wrong, at 
> > least so far as FPTP (simple plurality) in single-member
> > districts is concerned. 

Juho says:
> My word "works" should be taken to mean
> that voters are able to switch the rule
> from one party to the other when they
> think that should be done.

But even within that more restricted meaning, I would have difficulty in accepting that our FPTP system "works".  No-one can be sure
what the effect of voting will be.  Sometimes we have had a surprising "no change".  All too often when change was really wanted, a
"landslide" occurred, which then had bad political effects on the parliament and the government.  And since 1945 we have had two
very serious elections when the system got it wrong.  On both occasions the government of the day (one Labour, one Conservative) was
in trouble and "went to the country" to seek a renewed mandate for its policies.  On both occasions the government party won the
vote but lost the election.  That doesn't fit within my definition of "works".

The myth that single-member-district voting systems "work well" for assembly elections when there are only two parties in very
persistent.  We must all work together and do everything we can to kill it off because it is just a big, big lie promoted by those
with vested interests in maintaining the status quo.


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