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AV: Have Your Say with Victoria Derbyshire

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Imogen Crump Imogen Crump | 13:19 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

Victora Derbyshire asks a question while on an outside broadcast

On Wednesday 30 March, Victoria Derbyshire will be holding a mock general election at a constituency in west London and we want you to join us.

We're holding OUR election ahead of the referendum on the Alternative Vote on 5 May. We'll have party candidates competing for your vote - and then we'll count up the votes using both first-past-the-post, which is the current system, and the Alternative Vote. We'll find out how much of a difference it could potentially make and analyse the results with senior politicians from the Yes and No to AV campaigns.

If you're free on the morning of March 30th and you'd like to take part in our experiment - click here to email the programme and if you're selected the team will be in touch.


  • Comment number 1.

    How will people be selected for this event?

    I foresee this event being extremely partisan and fatally flawed.

    Are referenda subjected to the same balance requirements as elections?

    I hope David Jordan is on alert.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi ryanw - why not apply to go along and see how you get on? I would suggest that the main criteria is enthusiasm for the subject matter.

    Re: AV Referendum. The Electoral Commission has now formally announced the designation of official "yes" and "no" campaigns for the forthcoming AV Referendum. The Referendum Guidelines make clear, fairness and impartiality are not necessarily achieved by the application of a simple mathematical formula, but the objective must be a broad balance between the two arguments irrespective of indications of levels of support. If you'd like more information on the Guidelines ryanw, have a look at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/news/news-2011-02-17/

  • Comment number 3.

    Thank you for your reply.

    I work, in part to help fund the BBC Imogen, so I cannot attend.

    What on earth do you mean, "see how I get on"?

    And, you didn't indicate how people will be selected for this event. Heaven forbid you employ the typical Question Time methodology! If these people are 'voting' you'd want to ensure a balance audience wouldn't it?!

    I think it is extremely unwise to have have a 'real' mock election parading the parties, policies and politicians this close to the local elections.

    I've asked David Jordan's team to take a look at what you have planned as I have concerns, however laudable your ambitions, that this will turn out to be an impartial and non-partisan exercise.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm afraid Victoria Derbyshire doesn't known the meaning of the word ' impartiality '.She is another reason why I gave up listening to 5live ! Such a blatantly biased presenter.I wonder constantly how on earth she keeps her job ? No don't tell me , I think I already know.

  • Comment number 5.


    The picture of the Bury woman above, looks like a scene from "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." She has aged well, hasn't she?(rhetorical)

  • Comment number 6.

    looking forward for 2moro show victoria derbyshire is the best on 5live

  • Comment number 7.

    Looking forward to this debate, I have yet to make my mind up how to vote.

  • Comment number 8.

    The whole system is pointless because politicians (partys) are permitted to write what they like in their manifestos and there is no requirement in law to adhere to the manifesto content. This should be rectified first.
    John in Grantham

  • Comment number 9.

    PR is the only way forward at the present time. it is a fairer system, gives people motivation to vote as they know each vote counts. First past the post can be very dictatorial and percentages do not show fair representation and as it has shown can lead to a two party representation, which most people are unhappy with the policies behind the cutbacks.

  • Comment number 10.

    Why are the bbc inviting a facist party on to its programmes, therfore giving it legitimacy? Would the bbc allow a platform to a pro-paedaphillia party?

    Secondly, why are the NUJ not refusing to work on the the progsamme and for that matter, the other guests! The national socialists in 1930's germany, were elected!! They were given legitimacy just like the bbc is doing with the bnp.

  • Comment number 11.

    If you need 50% of the vote to elect an mp under av, is the same standard not being set for such a fundamental change to our voting system,

  • Comment number 12.

    commrnt no. 8 - spot on.

  • Comment number 13.

    BBC 5Live Covering Up The AV v FPTP BOGUS REFERENDUM ?

    1.UK Electoral Law - NOT 'fit for purpose'.
    2.UK Electoral Registers - NOT 'fit for purpose'.
    3.UK CERO cross constituency scrutiny powers - NOT 'fit for purpose'.

    See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2011/02/second_home_voters_-_dont_hold.html

    A 'One Person-One Vote' AV v FPTP Referendum in May 2011 is NOT POSSIBLE.

  • Comment number 14.


  • Comment number 15.

    A complete lack of balance on AV this morning.

  • Comment number 16.

    The winner did NOT have 50% of the vote. What a farce !!!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    How can Charles Kennedy know that had this been done for previous elections there would only have ever been a hung parliament at the last one?...surely no-one ever gave their 2nd choices at these previous elections, so he cannot possibly have the figures to prove that.

  • Comment number 18.

    These questions were sent to Victoria Derbyshire via e-mail by another party:

    'Here are some key questions you should be introducing into your programme (if you're not engaged in pulling the wool over everyone's eyes!) perhaps by asking your studio ‘CERO’ Alan Rennick:

    1.How many people in the UK are registered on multiple electoral rolls? (potentially millions under current Electoral Law)
    2.What Chief Election Returning Officer cross constituency scrutiny powers are in place to identify and eliminate multiple votes in multiple constituencies by multiple electoral roll registrants to ensure no-one votes more than once?
    3.What GUARANTEE is there that the proposed AV v FPTP referendum will be based on GENUINE AND VERIFIED 'One Person-One Vote'.

    You will find - if you dig hard enough - that there are NO satisfactory answers to these questions.'

    They have yet to be answered.

  • Comment number 19.

    The 'Fixed Fee' paid to Chief Election Returning Officers for running elections/referendums is in the region of £20,000-30,000.
    Most of their work is delegated to underlings.
    Most commonly the CERO is a local authority Chief Executive on a salary of £150,000-250,000.
    For all this remuneration CEROs have been signing off elections as 'free and fair' when they have been actually unable to do so - not having sufficient cross constituency voter roll and voting record data to identify and eliminate illegal multiple votes by multiple electoral roll registrants.

  • Comment number 20.

    It is obvious that very few of your commentors have ever worked in a polling stations. I have worked on general, local, mayoral & EU elections. my experience of these various systems can be very confusing to a significant number of people just explaining even how to vote using the current system takes a considerable amount of time. When it comes to EU & mayoral ones it is difficult to relate to the voter the system.

  • Comment number 21.

    Only one answer to this. If Nick Clegg wants it, vote against.

    The man changes his mind like his socks.

    Not to be trusted

  • Comment number 22.

    As usual with VD the majority of e mails and texts she reads out just say how great her programme is and uses comments to enlarge, even more, her over inflated ego.Absolutely no balance at all with her on anything.She just feels the need to be the centre of attention regardless of others who are there.

  • Comment number 23.

    ...and shout very loudly.

  • Comment number 24.

    Surely the count of the mock AV referendum was not carried out correctly. How can you have only 2 candidates in the final round with neither getting 50%? The count should only have been for those remaining ballot papers that had selected either of the final 2 candidates as their 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc choice. The final 2 candidates in the final round of counting only had 90% of the vote between them which means that the other 10% of the vote must have been from ballot papers that should have been discarded earlier.

    The correct procedure is that at the end of each round of counting, any ballot paper in support of the bottom candidate is discarded and no longer used if it does not have a 2nd, 3rd etc choice to allow it to be put into the next round of counting.

    If the BBC in their small, mock election cannot follow the correct procedure, what hope is there when it comes to a full scale general election!

  • Comment number 25.

    Spot on Binkie and darlogas. The celebrity of the presenter must be to the fore at all times. Witness Vic, Bacon, Campbell and Murray. Always make sure they are front of house. It's al about getting on the TV. And witness how bad Murray and Campbell are.

  • Comment number 26.

    @Tom Adustus (Comment #16): "The winner did NOT have 50% of the vote."


    The winner did have more than 50% of the votes counted in the final round!

    Obviously those whose votes did not express a transfer preference cannot be taken into account at that stage so they are eliminated automatically from the process - I think you're just trying to avoid facts here, which is that the winning candidate was obliged to connect with a wider audience across the electorate and therefore derives increased democratic legitimacy from that process - I was encouraged by the views expressed in the programme.

    It seems that some - with a vested interest to maintain? - are willing to exploit confusion and doubt amongst the public for their own narrow tribal advantage - doesn't that tell us all we need to know about their underlying motivations - win power and keep it (by shutting out effective challenge courtesy of a fatally flawed voting system) at any cost?

  • Comment number 27.


    Actually I think it's you who doesn't understand how AV works - of course the final round of counting will only include preferences for either of the final two candidates, because all the rest have been eliminated!

    I tend to believe that Alan Rennick knows what he's doing - it might have been instructive if he had expressed the results in each round as percentages of the votes counted in respective rounds rather than as values measured against the original total cast at the beginning - votes with no ranking expressed clearly cannot be transferred because the individual concerned has deliberately opted to express no preference - that's how democracy works surely?

    So expressed as percentages of the final round total, the winner did gain more than 50% of those votes!

  • Comment number 28.

    @Philprinter (Comment #21): "Only one answer to this. If Nick Clegg wants it, vote against."

    Good because Nick Clegg doesn't want AV, he wants STV

    It might have escaped your notice but AV is official Labour Party policy (it was in their election manifesto) whereas STV is official LibDem policy (ditto for their manifesto)

    If you really want to punish those evil duplicitous LibDems, vote YES to AV and empower all voters to sanction them more effectively at the next general election. If you want a real world example, just pop over the Irish Sea, where they also use a preferential (1,2,3) voting system. The Green Party were widely perceived as propping up a discredited Fianna Fáil administration - so they were hammered by the electorate and lost all of their seats in the recent election - doesn't that sound a bit like the LibDems here in the UK?

    The forthcoming referendum is our historic (only the 2nd ever UK wide plebiscite!) opportunity to choose how we elect our Westminster MPs, plain and simple - the correct mechanism to make a judgement on the actions/policies of the present administration is the next general election!

  • Comment number 29.

    @baw (comment #17): "How can Charles Kennedy know that had this been done for previous elections there would only have ever been a hung parliament at the last one?...surely no-one ever gave their 2nd choices at these previous elections, so he cannot possibly have the figures to prove that."

    Yes he can @baw, because scientifically valid polls have been taken for years to collect details of peoples 2nd, 3rd and 4th preferences - psephology is an exact science which may not excite the general public but it attracts an avid, largely academic, audience of followers!

    It is this data that has been used to extrapolate projected results in previous election under different systems - go and check out the Electoral Reform Society website if you really want to acquaint yourself with the facts!

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing?

  • Comment number 30.

    If this mornings example was an example of AV, I think I would rather have the current system......

    and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

  • Comment number 31.

    These 'BOGUS REFERENDUM' FACTS remain:

    1.UK Electoral Law - NOT 'fit for purpose'.
    2.UK Electoral Registers - NOT 'fit for purpose'.
    3.UK CERO cross constituency scrutiny powers - NOT 'fit for purpose'.

    See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamsmith/2011/02/second_home_voters_-_dont_hold.html

    A GUARANTEED 'One Person-One Vote' AV v FPTP Referendum in May 2011 is NOT POSSIBLE.

  • Comment number 32.

    If anyone missed Victoria’s demonstration election, I recommend them to visit http://www.aveasyas123.com where they can see for themselves whether AV is as complicated as the “No” campaign says or as easy as the “Yes” campaign says.

  • Comment number 33.

    Democracy is not just about voting at a secret ballot once every 4/5 years, regardless of whether its a First Past Post system (FPP), Alternative vote(AV) or Proportional Representation(PR) albeit the latter two are slightly more realistic than the current system.

    However neither of their applications will solve the underlying problem that afflicts UK politics today and that is identifying what fundamental differences in ideology and policy (hence real choice) exist between the main parties which was well manifested in the House of Commons last week when 547 poodle career MP's unashamedly voted to take military action against Libya to supposedly protect their oppressed citizens. Of course like all war, its all about economics and resources and nothing to do with upholding democracy whatsoever and because all three parties are united on the general thrust of economic ideology they are all united on everything else so in reality voting by mrerely putting a cross against a candidates name and party whether by FPP, AV or PR is just a sham which masquerades as democracy and deludes most of the masses that it is!

    Ideally, if we have to persist with this limited form of ballot box democracy once in a while before we merely swap one capitalist party over with another a far more realistic system would be to dispense with candidates names and their party affiliaitions and resort to a multi-choice form of questionairre on actual alternatives (if at all) the main parties are proposing. This at least will compel the parties to provide some sort of choice bereft of all the nausea of personality politics and the normal stage managed scandal stories that are normally rigged up by the corporate media (like the Brown 'bigotgate saga at Rochdale) to brainwash the generally apathetic voting public away from the real issues.

    Lastly Binkie Huckaback, you gave up listening to 5 Live because of the blatant bias of Victoria Derbyshire. Just sheer coincidence you happened to be listening to it this morning then but anyway, whether she is bias or not, you should explain why you think she is and your own point of view!

    As for the BNP yes of course they should be allowed to take part in these programmes. How will anyone know how vacuous and deluded their members are if they don't?

  • Comment number 34.

    A very good impartial review... http://goo.gl/BkTtG


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