Saturday, April 23, 2011

The current voting system just isn't cricket

I see that the No to AV campaign wheeled out cricket stars Darren Gough and David Gower a few days ago as their latest converts. Which is intriguing, given that the No side have had such a predilection for sporting analogies about 'losers winning' and so on. Perhaps, given the circumstances, they'd care to explain how the following things can - and regularly do - happen in cricket...

1) The team that scores far fewer runs over a five-day Test Match 'draws' the game.

2) The team that scores fewer runs in a one-day international or Twenty20 match actually wins the game, courtesy of the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Does this mean that the game of cricket itself is not a "level playing field", to use Gough's own words? Quite the reverse. It would be utterly insane to automatically award a win in a rain-interrupted one-day international match to the side with most runs, regardless of whether they had also batted for more overs. It would be an incomplete picture. Just like the current voting system for Westminster uses an incomplete picture to award a win to a candidate with as little as 26% of the vote, taking no account of whether the majority of the electorate would have much preferred a different candidate. A vivid example of this problem is the Belfast South result in the 2005 election -

Unionist vote (DUP/UUP) - 51.1%
Nationalist vote (SDLP/Sinn Féin) - 41.3%

Under the current system, a nationalist won. Under AV (or indeed under any run-off system), a unionist would have won. Which would have been fairer? In what sense did the nationalist who was elected truly have a mandate?


  1. Ezio Auditore da Firenze - Alex Salmond for First MinisterApril 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    I never thought I'd see the day when this esteemed blog would see a Unionist win (especially an overly-crazy Irish-Unionist win) as a Good Thing.

    Florence is in uproar, James!

  2. Ah. Perhaps I can soothe the uproar with this alternative example...

    Fermanagh and South Tyrone, 1983

    Nationalist vote - 51.3%
    Unionist vote - 47.6%

    Unionist won under current system, nationalist would have won under AV or run-off system.

  3. Ezio Auditore da Firenze - Alex Salmond for First MinisterApril 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Much better, James!

    The people of Florence now sing your praises and see you as the morally upstanding man that you surely are!