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

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sat Dec 27 09:34:25 PST 2008

At 07:43 AM 12/27/2008, James Gilmour wrote:
> > > > Abd ul-Rahman Lomax   > Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2008 8:32 PM
> > > > Yes. You are English.
> > > At 09:55 AM 12/25/2008, James Gilmour wrote:
> > >NO, I am not English.  I was born in the UK and I am a subject of
> > >Her Majesty The Queen (there are no citizens in the UK), but I am
> > >not English.
>Abd ul-Rahman Lomax   > Sent: Saturday, December 27, 2008 12:31 AM
> > The distinct matters to you and to some, not to me, here. You are
> > expressing a view that might be expected to be roughly typical for
> > those from your environment. You could say the same thing about me
> > with respect to write-in votes.
>Abd, your arrogance is breathtaking and you comment is deeply 
>insulting with regard to personal identity and nationality of any
>contributor to this list.  From the tone and content of most of your 
>posts on this list I had expected better of you.  I had put
>your original comment down to American ignorance ("England " = 
>"UK"), but I now see it is really a manifestation of the worst kind
>of American imperialism.
>Sad,  very sad.

My, my, my. "The distinction (between English and being a citizen of 
the U.K.)" matters to some. To some it matters a great deal. It 
doesn't matter to me, but neither do I assert that they are "equal." 
It's rather obvious that they are not, in general. The term 
"American" and "English" in the discussion came from usage almost a 
century ago, relevant to the overall discussion, because Bucklin was 
called the "American system," and STV-single winner the "English 
system," even though the inventor of single-winner STV might be 
ascribed to an American. (There is some doubt about this.... but it's 
the conventional wisdom.)

"Imperialism?" That is indeed quite a stretch! It *could* be 
attributed to ignorance, perhaps, but imperialism? I think somebody 
has gotten caught in relatively local disputes. Yes, we see this kind 
of dispute on Wikipedia, not uncommonly. Various communities are very 
attached to the names of things, for political and social reasons. 
"British Isles?" People edit war over it, are blocked over it, rage 
over it. "Palestine" or "Israel"

The place is actually *both,* whether we like it or not.

Absolutely, there are citizens of the U.K. who are not "English." Plenty.

However, "English" in the context refers to the voting systems in 
use, to an experience shared by a relatively integrated culture or 
nation. And "English system" was the name used a century ago, at 
least here in America. What that ignorant? Perhaps, because those 
using the term weren't involved in the disputes and struggles for 
ethnic identity of the non-English involved.

In any case, it seems that Mr. Gilmour was personally offended, more 
by this, even, than by my warning him that he might look like an 
idiot if he persists. Therefore I apologize, since it was never my 
intent to insult his ethnicity or other identity, but only to note 
that his view wasn't surprising *given the context of his birth and 
experience.* Many similar things could be said about me. That I favor 
write-in votes, as I noted and as he did not quote, isn't surprising 
given that I'm an American.

With more sensitivity perhaps, I could have written, "Because he is 
from the U.K." That, for my meaning, would be quite equivalent. 
However, I've never encountered this particular sensitivity before. 
Does he think I'm asserting some "imperialist" view? I.e., that the 
"English" own the place and not everyone else? But in my meaning, 
everyone who lives there is "English," as ignorant as that colloquial 
usage might be, just as everyone from America might be called a 
"Yankee," even if they aren't in another sense.

"Yankee" has somewhat of a perjorative edge, now, though obviously it 
didn't have that for Mark Twain. Does "English" have that edge? Not usually....

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list