Monday, 4 April 2011

The AV Lark

The stench of battle is all-pervasive here in the lovely county of Northumbria. Perhaps I ought to say at this point that I'm not actually referring to the brutal and imbecilic activity of opposing tribes, beating each other to a pulp and hacking off each others' heads. Nevertheless, this particular field of conflict is equally moronic - even though the bloodshed and the resulting death count is zero. The battle lines are drawn concerning the issue of the Alternative Voting system - and the rhetoric is heating up. People on opposing sides are making provocative and pugnacious statements about their opponents.

Voting for your local illusionist to (pretend to) represent you in the Witangemot used to be such a simple affair; you went to the polling station, where your name was taken. You were handed a stick, and were then told to deposit it into the box of your choice - one box being allocated for each candidate aspriring to the pantomime we call Witangemot. At the end of the day, the boxes were separately emptied, and the candidate with the greatest number of sticks in his (or her) favour was duly elected to the Greatest Show On Earth. Simple.

Well, it was simple - until some groups started to bellyache and whinge that the process wasn't fair - particularly if the voters supported the Liberationists, who always received a minority vote (I wonder why?). Then the Northumbrian National Faction started to make the same whining noises. Then the Northumbrian Fun Factory Faction. And the One Red World fanatics. And the One Green World fanatics. It simply wasn't fair. All those votes for them were wasted, and the aspirations of the losers were simply swept aside as the winner took all. Get your tissues out, children. Have a good blub. It's a hard, hard world out there.

So, some bright spark from the Liberationists decided that the way to keep everyone happy was to have an Alternative Voting System. Instead of one stick to put into one box (or into the latrine if you wanted to spoil your vote), why not give every elector a number of sticks with different colours? Then the process to elect someone to the Magic Circus then would be to put the black stick into the box of your first choice, the white one in the box of your second choice and subsequent shades and colours according to rank of preference. Colour schemes to be agreed. That'll take a long time, then...

I think it's a great idea. It's an inspired idea. For the stickmakers, that is. They'll get unlimited work at taxpayers' expense. Happy days are here again. Whoopee. But there are some problems with this magic mushroom-inspired system. Suppose I'm colourblind? How would I know that I was voting for the right person with the right stick?

Suppose I want to vote for the Redistributionist (if I'm deranged enough)? Why would I want to cast my second preference stick in the box of someone I can't stand? Why should I? If I want Edweird the Demented Milliner as the Head Honcho, why should I cast a vote for Caedmeron if I hate his guts? (I don't - I simply don't trust him.) I wouldn't want to dignify him with my vote at any cost. Anyway, it's too much hassle and aggravation having to run through a list, deciding how to rank my preferences. Could take all day if I were indecisive. If I were allowed to vote as an intelligent, politically-minded cat, I simply couldn't be bothered.

And then there's the counting. How's that going to be simple? I can see nervous breakdowns on the horizon for those unlucky enough to have to tally the votes up. A night's work should then take a fortnight, with stomach ulcers as an added bonus. Hmm. Sounds like a tasty deal. If this is going to become standard practice, I'm going to suggest that the voters only cast one stick as before - and I'll drop a curly, malodorous stick into the Liberationists' box to send them a resounding message. And I'll campaign to make sure that every cat in the Kingdom follows suit. We cats fight dirty when the mood takes us...

1 comment:

  1. May 4th - should be about the EU. Is about some voting system.