In a previous post having another go at the horse race analogy used by supporters of FPTP (First Past The Post) electoral systems, I tried to compare AV (The Alternative Vote) to a tug-of-war:
Initially the die-hard supporters of the two established foes (usually Labour and the Conservatives) take an end each. As they start pulling they scream out promises and threats to bystanders to try to persuade
- their stay-at-home supporters to pick up their end of the rope and pull
- supporters of minority parties to lend their weight (if only to stop the other side winning)
- the apathetic to look at how things are going and if they don’t like what they see to also lend their weight.
As all of this happens you may find a few people changing ends, but the result is determined by who has the greatest weight of support and can pull themselves over the line at the close of polls.
I also suggested that STV (the Single Transferable Vote – usually in multi-member constituencies) might be a multi-dimensional version of this tug-of-war with each candidate having a rope. I have since been trying to visualise this! Continue reading