Thursday, 24 February 2011

Fiddling with AV?

On the Coffee House blog Ed Howker would appear to have uncovered yet another scam being perpetrated on the British electorate. In a nutshell, it would appear that the company in charge of administering the referendum on AV is itself funding one side of the campaign.

For those interested the last annual accounts of Electoral Reform Services Ltd can be viewed here and the website of the Electoral Reform Society here. Also by viewing this website and clicking on individual names it can be seen to which other companies the Directors of Electoral Reform Services Ltd are associated. At first sight there would appear to be no 'cross-jobbing' twixt ERS and ERSL, which would be a tad too blatant - even for those who appear to be auditioning for the string section of an orchestra.

If, as Ed Howker maintains, it is indeed true that a little 'assistance' has been provided to one side of the AV referendum debate then it makes a mockery of this statement by Ashley De, Director of Communications, Electoral Reform Society:
"History won't look kindly on mischief makers who could still stand in the way of the coming national debate. The future of our voting system should rest in the hands of voters next May."
If the future of our voting system should rest in the hand of the voters next May, then should not they be presented with a fair and unbiased set of information. Should those who are involved in this process not refrain from influencing the views of the voters?

Just thinking.................

16 comments:

john in cheshire said...

Here's my influence - Vote NO to change the system. Vote Yes to change the method of candidate selection.

William said...

So glad I am not on the electoral roll.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic: For the first time, you have lost me.......

w: Not much point really is there, seeing that those we elect cant govern the country!

john in cheshire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john in cheshire said...

WfW, sorry for not being clear. I was trying to say that I don't think it is the electoral system (used by us the electorate) that needs to be changed. I do think the method that is used by political parties - the 3 main parties, actually - to select candidates for election to Parliament is what needs to be changed ( the wrong people are standing for election). The problem we have is with the 650, or whatever it is/will be, who sit in the HoC, and not how they were put there by us. AV is not going to change anything, in my opinion. Does that make sense?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic: Ah, Open Primaries - now you're talking! That and a proper 're-call' system that is outside the control of the politicos would make a difference!

James Higham said...

Or even a way of dismantling parliament and leaving the EU, in no particular order.

Mike Spilligan said...

What is certainly needed is the final space on the voting form to give the option, "None of the above".

WitteringsfromWitney said...

JH: Agreed - personally I'm not fussy which comes first!

MS: I am fast coming round to the idea of your suggestion

Woodsy42 said...

Having people with a one-sided interest running the voting is about par for the course. It simply underlines the fact that the entire AV fiasco is simply a pretence, a bit of stage magic, designed to divert and deflect critics with some pretend democracy.
It matters not how anyone votes because the entire system is rigged to always produce a government that does what the EU, UN and banking families want.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

W42: Exactly - which is why I really believe we need to hang them!

Anonymous said...

Thinking is not encouraged by the Coalition and is viewed as being politically incorrect as we do not all think alike.

You will not need to think about AV because it is a system promoted from time to time by all three parties and even though they do not all agree at the same time; as they are clearly at the helm, so to speak, it is they who determine whether we go left or right or fast or slow.

Whether we go for AV or not will be largely determined by which of the proponents is the most active and that will be determined, in private, between the three leaders.

So, you see, the government can now organise your thinking for you in order that you might be released to do other, more pressing things.

Edinburgh said...

It is most unlikely there will be any "financial conflict of interest", much less any "of the very gravest kind".

Why not? Because the adoption of AV is unlikely to bring any new business for Electoral Reform Services Ltd.

Why not? Because AV ballot papers can very easily and quickly be counted by hand. There is no need for machine or computer counting and no need for specialist services like those provided by ERSL.

It was and is a non-story. But it does show just how desperate the "NO to AV" campaign must be - to clutch at any straw, not matter how bent.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

A: Valid points indeed.

E: Actually ERSL are testing an electronic voting system for future use in elections, plus they already have the contract to conduct the next London Mayoral election...

Of course there is a conflict of interest, go read the story!

Edinburgh said...

Witterings
The possibility of our using an electronic voting system for some unspecified future elections has nothing whatsoever to do with the referendum on AV. If we do have AV elections any time soon, it is certain that the votes will be recorded on good old-fashioned paper ballot papers with the traditional stubby pencil. And it most likely that those AV ballot papers would be sorted and counted by hand.

I'm afraid I don't see the link between ERSL having the current contract to conduct the next London Mayoral election and the proposal to introduce AV for elections to the UK House of Commons. And of course, ERSL is not the only commercial contractor being paid to conduct elections in the UK.

You'll have to try harder if you want your smear to stick.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

E: From the article:

"Last week, the Electoral Reform Society – the organisation really in charge of the referendum campaign – admitted to making a donation of £1.05 million to it"

"So the company in charge of administering the referendum on AV is itself funding one side of the campaign."

So yes, there is a conflict of interest! Anyone running a vote must be - and be seen to be - impartial.

The reason for raising the London Mayoral electronic voting is that AV is a much more complicated system than FPTP, so it stands to reason that if that process can be 'simplified' by means of electronic voting, those with 'expertise' in that field must stand a good chance of getting future contracts, which is no dounbt why ERSL are 'pushing' AV.

In any event, I am not attempting to 'smear', merely highlighting what I consider to be an unacceptable situation, from which people can draw their own logical conclusions.