With less than two days campaigning left, the AV referendum campaigns are really scraping the barrel for metaphors. The “No to AV ice cream van”, stationed outside an event with William Hague and Theresa May, tells us that with First Past The Post it is:

“One person one scoop”

But with the Alternative Vote:

“Who knows how many scoops you’ll get?”

On the plus side, the ice cream was free.

UPDATE: The No campaign has been in touch (twice) asking us to issue a clarification with regard to the illegal act of “treating”, serving food, drink or other refreshments as a method of influencing people for political gain. To get an ice cream, punters had to sign a disclaimer “saying that the campaign isn’t coercing or bribing them to vote one way or another.”

  1. Surely if FPTP gives you one and only one scoop whereas AV gives you at least one scoop if not more, AV is unarguably better? Unless they’re serving chocolate ice-cream of course (Bllllhhhhhh).

  2. Seems a perfect opportunity to wait until they’re out of something and then apply Will Straw’s “if you ask for Stella but they’ve only got Carling, you’ve still only had one beer” maxim…

  3. Laurence, the ice cream stunt requires a person to sign a form saying that the campaign isn’t coercing or bribing them to vote one way or another. The stunt is for YouTube and newspaper photos. Please correct your post as I feel you’re suggesting we might be breaking the law.

  4. @No2AV: If we were going to accuse you of treating we’d have been less subtle than that! We knew about the form. The ice cream was still free though.

  5. Lewis Parker says:

    Some of the No campaign is so dumb that you’d have to have a brain softer than a Mr Whippy to fall for it. It’s a metaphor that has to be inferred from the van’s slogans, but it’s pretty clear nonetheless.

    Or they are trying to numb our brains before the vote with their cold treats.

  6. “Do you have Tutti-Frutti?”


    “Oh. Well then, can I have strawberry?”


    “But you have strawberry.”

    “You still can’t have any.”

  7. Graham Ward says:

    This may be a “light-hearted” stunt, but its clearly misrepresentation. I don’t get three scoops under AV – I get one scoop – I ask for Greengage ice cream. If there’s no Greengage, I’ll have Redcurrant. If they’re out of Redcurrant, I’ll take Orange. Anything but Blueberry.
    I still get one scoop. If I could have three scoops, as this implies, I’d go for three Greengage – but that wouldn’t be fair.

  8. AV or not to AV:

    I have some comments, I’d welcome feedback:

    1)The YES campaign state that an MP has to work harder for my vote, yet only those whose 2nd choices are amongst the mainstream parties will have their vote counted. For example:

    If I voted Labour, with my second choice as Green, I can almost certainly guarantee that the Greens will be eliminated in a round before the Conservatives or Lib Dems, so my 2nd choice will be irrelevant.

    2) Also, imagine if for example, in a random constituency, the Conservatives won the 1st round with say 25% of the vote, Labour came 2nd with 23%, and the rest of the field had 52%. If of those 52%, a quarter of the vote were redistributed to each of those two parties after successive rounds, and half the voters didn’t include a preference for either of those parties, then the result would stand at:

    38% – Conservative
    36% – Labour

    Now as far as I can see from all the advertising, I am being told that that an MP MUST have 50% of the vote to win, yet in the scenario I have just gone through, the winning candidate has just won by only 2% of the vote and not only that, but 62% of the electorate have confirmed that of all the candidates, they definitely don’t want that one to win.

    3) And although over the past 20 years, there have been many occasions when Labour supporters may have voted Lib Dem to keep out the Conservatives, and vice versa, that certainly won’t be the case in the near future, so the chances are that there will be a lot of people only putting one choice on their ballot paper, so we’ll be in no better position than we were to start with.

    4) The only benefit I can see to the AV system is for fringe parties. Those parties that may get the electorate to put them as a number one choice (perhaps as a protest vote, as has benefited the BNP, and Green party in the past). Those people that think, “I will vote for the UKIP as my 1st preference to protest to the Government that I am not happy with our stance on the EU, but it’s okay, because they won’t win and the Conservatives will get my vote as usual”. Yet this backfires, because the 10,000 other voters put the BNP as their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th choices, and the Conservatives are knocked out in the 5th round. The BNP then win because the importance of someone’s single vote has been diluted to the point that they start playing ‘chicken’ with politicians, and they thought they would use their ‘back-up’ vote to protest to the current Government.

    Of course all of this is hypothetical, and each scenario relies on specific circumstances, but I’ve just spent the evening talking to my brother, coming up with plenty more scenarios that follow the same lines.

    I just think that this system isn’t quite what we’re looking for, and the common argument that ‘it’s a step in the right direction’, may work for the likes of equality laws, and healthcare reforms, but that argument shouldn’t be employed for the foundation of our democracy. If we’re gonna change it, it should done right.

  9. Graham Ward says:

    Plus the BNP is a very poor example – they’re no-one’s second choice. Protest vote or hardcore racist, they’re unlikely to pick up many redistributed votes under AV.

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