There seems to be a certain amount of confusion over at Orphans on AV. I’ve seen many fellow bloggers’ takes on it and some are right.
In Australia, where they have preferential voting [same thing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially someone who hasn’t lived under this system], it is fair, in that the person is elected whom the least number of people wish to see defeated. For example, if my choice here were UKIP [because there was a true conservative as a candidate] and he clearly isn’t going to get in, then my next might be independent Conservative and he won’t get in either.
So, my third preference would go on the Tory pile. Now, by the end, it comes down to Tory and Labour. The Tory gets in and he is the one, of the two last candidates, I wish to see defeated less. The good thing is that one can protest vote for one party, knowing that another will get in, according to your preferences.
So, you’ve voted with your heart but your head has put the Tories third [in the example above] and you know you’ve actually helped them get in. The problem with FPTP is that I can’t protest vote. In a two horse race, if I vote for an independent Conservative, I’ve cost the Tories a vote and if enough do that, then Labour gets in, which is not the result anyone sane wants. Plus, it’s been a wasted vote and might as well have been put in the dustbin.
There are two reasons only I’d vote tomorrow for FPTP. One is to stick it up the pollies. The other is that it would give the Tories a chance of government, whereas, under AV, Labour and the LibDems would gang up and the Tories would never be in power. Apart from that, it’s not a very good system, as it produces minority governments.
As many have pointed out though, both are rubbish systems because, in neither is there direct democracy.