David Deutsch, quantum theorist, libertarian and a man with a brain exceptionally huge even for a libertarian, has posted a video on youTube of himself discoursing against AV (thanks to Sarah Fitz-Claridge for passing news of it on to me).
It is a beautifully clear 15 minutes of listening. He argues that AV, by making proportions of MPs more closely reflect the proportions of electors supporting the parties, doesn’t succeed in its purported aim of making the electoral system fairer. Rather, by making coalitions almost inevitable, it gives king-making power to the third party. Not only does that have nothing to do with numerical ‘fairness’, it makes it virtually impossible for electors to influence the third party and hence for it to learn from experience – Popperphiles will love his introduction of the great Karl into the argument near the end. First-past-the-post is less bad in this respect. The implication is that any proportional-representation system will have the same weakness.
I always participate in elections. I almost invariably spoil the ballot paper with a libertarian slogan. I try unsuccessfully to make my kinfolk and friends understand that this symbolic act is no more ineffective than the votes that they cast and is just as morally responsible. One of the rare votes I did cast was for a UKIP local councillor. I could actually detect a difference between UKIP and the other parties, and I approved of it.
Now I think David Deutsch might have persuaded me to cast a vote again – against AV.