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Sometimes it’s the small things

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I find that often when judging a person’s character it is the smaller things that are more revealing. It is in these seemingly less significant moments – a throw-away comment, an instinctive gesture, etc. – that one drops one’s guard and reveals oneself more authentically than intended. I think that this holds just as firmly for organisations such as the BBC, whose members (due to the forces of groupthink, socially enforced self-censorship etc.) are perhaps better thought of as being components of one collective mind rather than a collection of truly individual, separate minds.

Anyway, that said, I’ve been thinking a bit about the Alternate Vote system recently, and whilst I am in favour of the change I must admit it has yet to really stir my passions. So I thought I’d read up a little, and I came across this overview from the BBC: . And whilst the broad aim of the piece is to give the reader a broad overview of the parties’ positions (hey, they’re providing a valuable service dontcha know?), it is in the smaller details that the writer cannot help but reveal something of the BBC collective(/ist) mentality. As far as I know – and as the article points out – the positions of the Greens and UKIP are basically the same on the AV question. But see how this is conveyed:


The Greens will be supporting the “yes” campaign although AV is not their preferred system.

The party supports the additional member system, currently used in Scottish Parliamentary elections, and its leader Caroline Lucas – elected as an MP under the first-past-the post system in May – wants voters to be able to choose between a range of different systems in the referendum.

But the Greens have urged their members to put their “full weight” behind the pro-change campaign.

“A Yes vote would bring a step in the right direction and demonstrate an appetite for change,” says deputy leader Adrian Ramsay. “Greens and others who want a fair, inclusive proportional way of voting will then continue to campaign for further reform.”

Under the additional member system, each voter typically gets two votes – one for an individual, and one for a party. The exact proportion of constituency representatives and list representatives varies from country to country.

vs UKIP:

Party leader Nigel Farage backs a switch to AV, saying first-past-the-post is a “nightmare” for UKIP.

The party’s central policy making committee has decided to campaign for a yes vote in the referendum although some of its MEPs are believed to be sceptical.

The party failed to win a seat in May’s general election. But under the regional PR system used for European elections in 2009, UKIP came second in terms of the national vote.

Mr Farage has acknowledged AV is likely to make “little difference” to the party’s electoral fortunes, believing only the separate AV Plus system is likely to see “plenty of” UKIP MPs to Westminster.

Under this system, recommended by Lord Jenkins, most MPs would be elected via constituencies under AV. But about 10% would be chosen from party lists in a separate vote from designated regions.

Notice how the noble Greens seem to have arrived at their position through a balanced consideration of principles, whereas UKIP have come to the very same position through a self-interested assessment of future electoral prospects. Hmm…

Very revealing.


Written by theunfashionabletruth

February 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm