Monday, 2 May 2011

Voting under FPTP isn't as easy as it looks #Yes2AV

Gerry always seems to face a problem when it comes to casting his vote under FPTP. He's been a life long supporter of the Sorbet Party, but everywhere he has lived they have been a distant third or fourth in the  polls. This is the party that he really believes in but they never seem to be able to win a seat wherever he can afford to live near to where he works.

He's quite partial to the Ice Cream Party, but they have never stood in a seat where he has lived, partially because they suspect they will fare even worse than the Sorbet party.

The Cherry Tart Party are currently the party of government. They have been doing terrible things over the last 5 years coming up with half baked ideas, or policies without any substance or filling. Gerry may in the past have been inclined to vote for them ahead of some of the others but they seem to have gone away from the commonness of what they and Gerry believed in. The Blueberry Muffin Party are across the whole country most likely to beat the Cherry Tart Party, but where Gerry lives they came fourth last time behind his own cherished Sorbet Party. But Gerry isn't really a Blueberry Muffin sort of voter, he would only be doing for them if they could win and give the Cherry Tarts a right licking.

The party that is most likely to defeat the Cherry Tarts are the Roast Beef Party. But their key aim is to do way with desserts all together, and Gerry is very much pro-dessert. He therefore faces a dilemma.

Does he
  • a) vote for the Sorbet Party because that is who he believes in?
  • b) vote for Roast Beef even if that may mean elsewhere in his region that they do away with dessert altogether if they do well enough and stop the dominance of Cherry Tarts locally?
  • c) vote for Cherry Tarts a party he depises, but not as much as Roast Beef, because if Roast Beef do well enough he may find he is done out of desserts because other people wanted to vote for them to give Cherry Tarts a lesson?
 Gerry knew exactly how he would have voted under AV

  1. Sorbet
  2. Ice Cream (if available)
  3. Blueberry Muffin (but maybe only this time)
  4. Cherry Tarts
  5. Roast Beef

This is based on a real conversation that I had ahead of the 2010 general election with someone who was considering whether they should vote for me or not. The names of the parties have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.


  1. I've seen many of these bizarre analogies put forward by supporters of "YEStoAV"; this one is just one more in the series. In your world-view which of 'cherry' and 'tart' might best approximate to the two component parts of the present government? ;)

    Inreasingly bizarre resort to examples of this kind only adds to my feeling that the correct way to vote in this referendum is "NOtoAV".

  2. Bill sadly you've read too much into my anology. The current government is not the Cherry Tart.

    This seriously though was a conversation that I had with a real voter last year about why he was saying why it was hard for him to vote with his heart, because of the single preference only with FPTP he had to use his head to work out how best to use his vote. He had to second guess voters not only in his own area but across the country, to try and get a balance of where it was best to but that X.