Best post ever on “Is AV better than FPTP?” by Timothy Gowers

I recently read the best piece on the AV referendum question. No mud-slinging, no lies or half-truths. No false analogies. Just some facts and some logic, and then a few slogans for those more accustomed to twitter than essays. And it is an essay – I believe in the region of 10,000 words. But then it is written by Cambridge mathematician and Field’s Medal (you know about this prize from Good Will Hunting, I expect) winner Timothy Gowers. Despite the length, it’s easy to understand. For me, a clear discussion of the question “is AV better than FPTP?”, i.e. dissection of their strengths and weaknesses, plus some debunking of blatant lies in the No campaign, is just what I was after. The aim was to be impartial and dispassionate, and you’ll see if you read it that it’s a bit difficult to not get drawn to one side if you are a logical and fair person seeking the fairest voting system (given the choice between First Past the Post and the Alternative Vote, that is).

The full original post is at:
http://gowers.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/is-av-better-than-fptp/

A shorter version (with an even shorter version at the bottom of the post) is at:
http://gowers.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/av-vs-fptp-the-shorter-version/

As a taster, here are some slogans from the post:

FIRST PAST THE POST IS NOT FIRST PAST THE POST!

And to those who think it is, how about

WHAT IS THE POST? (…or WTF IS THE POST?)

UNDER FPTP A CANDIDATE IS OFTEN ELECTED EVEN THOUGH MOST PEOPLE PREFER A DIFFERENT CANDIDATE.

AV MAKES IT EASIER TO GET RID OF UNPOPULAR GOVERNMENTS!

and my personal favourite:

VOTE YES TO AV UNLESS YOU LIVE IN BASILDON!

For all the information backing up these slogans (and much more), see the original post.

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