Friday, April 01, 2011

Another argument for AV

I've sure I've used this analogy elsewhere; but I'm going to expand it here. Imagine our election system is like going out for a meal with a club or other large group of friends. The menu comes around and on offer are:


The waiter takes the order and discovers that it falls out to the following percentages:

Chicken: 39.0%

He takes this to the kitchen and the chef looks at the list and says "Everyone's getting chicken". Now the majority don't want chicken, in fact it's possible that the majority hate chicken and won't eat it. Nevertheless everyone gets a chicken meal plonked down in front of them. That's the First Past the Post system in action.

Now consider the same percentages. The chef looks at the list and says "With that low number of Beef meals it's not worth cooking, beef's off the menu" The waiter then goes back and informs those who ordered beef that it's not available and would they prefer to choose something else. Some might and some might chose not to have a meal at all. This action gets repeated until the chef decides there's enough of one meal to cook and that's the only one he'll do. In this instance though we now that of all those who have a meal placed before them the majority are willing to eat it. That's AV.

Sure it's possible the majority might not be getting a meal, but at least they were offered the opportunity to do so.

Before anyone tries to turn this into an argument for Proportional Representation I'll offer that too:

The orders are taken and the matching number of dishes are made up. However the first 39% of the table the waiters reach get Chicken, the next 16.9% get the Vegetarian and so on regardless of what meal they actually ordered. That's PR.