My letter, printed in today’s INDY:
Andrew Grice (Inside Westminster, 23 April) recycles the conventional wisdom that the introduction of #AV will benefit the Lib Dems. But no one knows what effect AV will have on the Lib Dems.
This is because AV, by eliminating tactical voting attributed to the “wasted vote” argument, changes first-preference voting behaviour too. So it is entirely possible that, where Lib Dems currently win seats, they may do worse under AV, because voters who currently lend them their “tactical votes” will no longer do so.
One thing we know for sure about AV, from the Australian experience, is that AV is terrible news for extremist and racist parties, which probably explains why the BNP are vigorously arguing for a No vote on 5 May. This is because racists virtually never win a majority at the ballot box and a majority, not merely a plurality, of the votes is what one needs to win, under AV.
So it is quite likely that the Lib Dems, quite widely disparaged now, would, under AV, suffer, just as the BNP would. It is quite possible that many angry voters would leave them off their preference lists altogether. If one wants not only to wipe the smile off Nick Griffin’s face, but also to punish Nick Clegg and his “betrayal” in a really clever way, the best way of doing so is to vote Yes, on 5 May.
Cllr Rupert Read