Alternative Vote passnotes no.1

As the Conservative Councillor for Sale Moor, Nigel Hooley, is actually a Gorse Hill resident, I ought to pay attention to what he says. He’s my constituent after all.  Nigel is not stupid, so he can do a lot better than the arguments he’s presenting on his Sale Moor website.

Nigel argues that under the Alternative Vote system, a person can ‘finish’ third and still win the seat.

One of the good things about the Alternative Vote, is that nobody can win until most of the voters want them to win. Nigel’s system allows a candidate to win who most voters don’t want. That candidate could be a BNP thug for whom all but a tiny minority would have preferred anybody but the BNP.  This is because it allows a candidate to win on less than a third of the vote.

Under AV if no one has more than half the votes, the race is simply not ‘finished’. The person in last place drops out and we recount the votes based on who’s left in the race.

The alternative vote system simply asks the electorate “Which is the candidate that most of you prefer to be your MP?”

There are positives and negatives about how we get to resolve that question, but to argue that the winner is somehow cheated out of victory by the person in third place is a nonsense.

Mike Cordingley





  1. Cllr Rob Chilton avatar
    Cllr Rob Chilton

    Nigel is ‘a lot of things’.

    What sort of things, Mike?

    1. watching avatar

      Good question Rob, Come on Mike answer please.

      1. MikeCordingley avatar

        I’m not going to add to the difficulties Councillor Hooley is going to have in mounting a campaign to retain his seat. We have a very good candidate in Mike Freeman and he’ll win on merit.

  2. Cllr Nigel Hooley avatar


    I am indeed one of your residents however I do not believe in the age of technology and excellent transport links postcode is a barrier to which ward a councillor represents. After all your own ward colleague is a resident of Flixton is he not? Also Cllr Mrs Bennett is a resident of Brooklands, Cllr Jane Baugh a resident of Timperley…I could go on!

    As for AV, well allow me to quote for you a section of the procedure. I do hope you and your readers are ready for complexity.

    “As the process continues, the preferences allocated to the remaining candidates may not be the second choices of those electors whose first choice candidates have been eliminated. It may be that after three candidates have been eliminated, say when a fourth candidate is removed from the contest, one of the electors who gave their first preference to him/her gave her second, third and fourth preferences to the other three candidates who have already been eliminated so their fifth preference is then allocated to one of the remaining candidates.”

    Compare this with the current one person one vote system. “The person with the most votes wins.”

    Which of these is the most simple and effective method? The FPTP system has operated successfully for hundreds of years and as the old phrase goes “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

  3. MikeCordingley avatar

    Hi Rob,
    Nothing malicious intended. In fact I’ve tweaked the line to remove any misconception.

  4. MikeCordingley avatar

    Hi Nigel,

    Thanks for coming over to post. You’re very welcome. I agree that there’s arguments in favour of the present system, just as there’s arguments against it. One of the attractions of Alternative Vote is that the candidate has to work harder to attract the majority of voters rather than relying on the opposition splitting amongst a number of candidates.


  5. MikeCordingley avatar

    By the way, it is not a criticism that you’re a Gorse Hill resident. I think it is an attribute. In my view we are the centre of Trafford. There is hardly a Trafford publication without at least one photo of one of the many attractions in the ward. Imperial War Museum, football stadium, town hall; even the swing bridge carrying the Bridgewater Canal over the Ship Canal is one quarter in Gorse Hill ward.
    Just for the sake of accuracy, Dave lives just a stone’s throw on the wrong side of the motorway so we won’t hold it too much against him.

  6. Cllr Nigel Hooley avatar

    Mike thanks for clearing that up, there have been many occasions where postcode has been used against a councillor which is why I defended that position. I have to agree as well, Gorse Hill ward does house a great many of the famous features of Trafford and will soon house another in the Coronation Street Studios. I think it is a testament to both the Conservative led council and the Labour Councillors for the ward that so many large organisations wish to invest in this part of our great borough.

I love hearing your views