Monday, 24 January 2011

Labour leadership election 2010, and AV

Labour's leadership election produced the right result. There is plenty said by people about how the wrong man won, how it was David's win stolen by Ed...I don't particularly care, both to me lacked the direction I wanted to see from the party.

What irks me is the claim that AV as a voting system is shown to be bad because of this result. Utter tosh, on three levels.

1. The result was conducted in terms that everyone understood, as has happened in the past, with a defined electorate - all of which have the right to a say
2. The AV election for the Labour leadership is a weighted system, so not every person's vote counts the same. A Labour MP has a bigger say than a member, who means more to the result than a union member. This is incomparable with the system proposed for the UK General Elections.
3. The result was, on a person by person, one person one vote basis Ed's win with a clear margin anyway. So Ed won not only under the system as designed (as wrong as that weighted system may or may not be), but he'd have won under a normal AV election too.

Round 1: 114205 votes for David, 125,649 for Ed.
Round 2: 118175 (+4370) votes for David, 137599 (+11950) for Ed.
Round 3: 127389 (+9214) votes for David, 149675 (+12076) for Ed.
Round 4: 147220 (+19831) votes for David, 175519 (+25844) for Ed.

Is that simple enough to understand? In FPTP terms, without weighting, Ed won. In AV terms, without weighting, Ed won. In AV terms with weighting, Ed won. The only situation that Ed didn't win was the fictional, and completely redundant argument of if FPTP had been used with the weightings. Ed even gained more support every round compared to David!

Should only MPs and Members be able to vote on who leads the Labour party, that's what this result *really* asks. The voting system is not even in question, the only "problem" here is that those who are directly involved with, and directly pay money to, the Labour party clearly wanted David more...but the union's bought in vote changed that. If the result was unpalatable it wasn't because of the system, it's because unions have had the right to let their member's voices be heard in the leadership election too.