Devil take the hindmost


There is nothing new about the idea of an Alternative Voting system.

When the idea was last mooted in 1931, Winston Churchill spoke up against it as elections being determined by “the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates.”

Churchill said of AV “it adds new features of caprice and uncertainty to the conduct of each individual election… Imagine making the representation of great constituencies dependent on the second preferences of the hindmost candidates. The hindmost candidate would become a personage of considerable importance, and the old phrase, ‘Devil take the hindmost’ will acquire a new significance.”

As with so many things, Winston saw the danger to democracy clearly.

I am not too sure whether I believe the statement from the No 2 AV campaign which suggest that around 35 constituencies could have their outcomes determined by the second preferences of BNP voters.

However, if they got only one seat, that surely would be one vote too many?

Hat tip: Guido Fawkes
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