Saturday, May 07, 2011

The geeks shall inherit the earth - but not yet

In the world of IT, for example, they already rule - but when it comes to the reform of the voting system, it seems they're a little ahead of the zeitgeist. Now the referendum debacle is over, they'll be reaching for some kind of explanation. Here's Tom Clark, for example, with 10 reasons why the Yes2AV campaign lost.

It's a surprisingly long article that at no point mentions some of the unbelievable toss-pottery coming out of the Yes camp as a mitigating factor. Keep telling yourselves you only lost because your opponents fought dirty if you must - but in the meantime I trust we've seen an end to posts that conform, more or less exactly, to the following template:
"I'm a supporter of AV. However, my enthusiasm for democratic renewal has not blinded me to the obvious fact that most people, and especially those who disagree with me, are substantially less intelligent than I am - so I'm going to explain how AV works so that even a simpleton could follow it.

Imagine there's a group of friends who during discussion when they're slightly sauced in the pub on a Saturday afternoon come up with three options of what they could do in the evening. The two from Liverpool want to drink more, get a gramme of coke and then if they can't pull on their own merits, get a couple of hookers. The three from Islington would rather go for a meal and discuss the future of the Middle East. It's difficult to know what the four Glaswegians want because they're already so pissed they can hardly talk but it seems they want a kebab, and then vomit in a mini-cab.

So here's what they do: they order their preferences..."
Oh fuck off! Honestly!

Ed Miliband won on AV, for crying out loud. That should have been enough to end the argument. But since I feel the need to hammer the nails into the coffin of this ridiculous affair, consider this: Salmond has won an overall majority within a system specifically designed to prevent such a thing happening. Imagine what things would look like today if we Scots had adopted AV, with its well-documented tendency to exaggerate landslides, as a mechanism for choosing our representatives. Scotland said no to AV too, by the way. Despite suggestions that we were more likely to favour reform in general, turns out that we could tell the difference between the PR we have already and the slightly different majoritarian system we were being offered as a sop to Tory supporting Liberal Democrats.

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