Lessons for Football from the AV Referendum: Why I feel sorry for (most) Manchester City Supporters Part II (an Apology)

So no AV.

I don’t have a new voting system to look forward to when the endgame of coalition politics finally arrives, but I did learn something this week.

Apart from offering an object lesson in not hitching my star to the wrong wagon (see below), the AV debate as well as another equally significant, though more local, event provided me with an interesting new perspective on the demographics of football fandom.

Nick Clegg: a very, very sad man.

Last week’s post on Manchester City fans wasn’t my finest. The reaction it evoked, however, was akin to that which will likely meet Mr Clegg’s next set of pre-election promises. One poster-protester in particular got me thinking…

Let’s be honest, CiTyBlUe (I don’t imagine that’s his real name, but then he did seem pretty into his team and people do strange things by deed poll) was the real star of last week’s post.

Here’s his dogmatic response to my last challenge to his objections:

Dont make me laugh Callam, if you right now swapped the word City for United and targetted United fans right now I probably would never of even visited your poor excuse of an article.

You show your level of childishness by pathetically picking at others mispelling and mis-punctuation, that is the act of a typically stuck up and self righteous human being.

See anything about United I tend to evoid like the plague, for me despite the fact half my family are United fans. To even think of clicking on anything to do with United is a sin in my book, lets be honest here that you would not slander any other club or fanbase right now other than City because your a City hater full stop.

You have took advantage of the situation just to vent your anger and hatred for City, you hide behind the subject of abusing chanting just to get your kick which makes you no better than the abusive chanters.

It may not look like it, but there’s an interesting point hidden in this – a point that I knew was there when I started the article, but which I couldn’t uncover. That’s where AV comes in.

Part of the Yes-No debate that dominated the buildup to Thursday’s referendum surrounded how it would affect Nick Griffin.

The cold, hate-filled heart of the AV Debate, or just a negligible little prick?

Griffin’s British Nationalist Party, the No Campaign claimed, would be a major beneficiary of the proposed change to the Alternative Vote system. This was because, No campaigners like the nation’s Prime Minister claimed, AV would force mainstream parties to court the vote of extremist individuals (such as BNP supporters) who ‘could get at least six chances to have their vote counted’*!!!

The Yes campaign countered this claim by pointing out that Griffin himself was campaigning against AV. This was because, they reasoned, he knew that his party would literally never get the 50% of votes AV requires; a change to AV would pretty much guarantee that Griffin, or anyone else in his party, would never take up a seat in Parliament.

Rather than having six votes, as the No Campaigners sneakily suggested, votes for the BNP and other extremist parties would simply be diluted. Extremist views would be chipped off of ballots until, eventually, an extremist’s vote eventually counts for a good old traditional party with centrist views.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the representation of football fans worked the same way?

The Lib Dems ill-advisedly bet the house on AV because in the last General Election they needed to win almost 120,000 votes in order to secure a seat (contrasted with just under 35,000 for the Tory and just over 33,000 for Labour). Their views, essentially, are too mainstream to prosper under a First Past the Post electoral system.

The same is true of the mainstream views of a Man City supporter (or a supporter of any other club), what I called last week the squeezed middle. For every Munich (or Hillsborough or anti-semitic or homophobic) chanter, there are several thousand liberal, democratic and generally pleasant supporters whose voices are being drowned out by the extremist voices of the minority in their midst.

Football needs some sort of Alternative Vote, or perhaps Alternative Voice, system whereby the views of extremists are diluted into those of the mainstream.

How this would actually work is, of course, tricky.

Perhaps some kind of device could be fitted to the unrepresentative minority (like the electronic tag once worn by Jermaine Pennant) which converts the hateful ‘Who’s that lying on the Runway’ into the harmless ‘Blue Moon’, or transforms the phrase ‘piss poor excuse for an article’ into ‘what a well-written and thought provoking piece’.

Or perhaps the mainstream media, and wannabes on football blogs, could exhibit better awareness of the actual situation and present the bile recitors as the pitiful little minority that they actually are.

Check back tomorrow for more good stuff, and don’t forget to follow @calumcm and @gdfeet4abigman on Twitter.

* http://www.no2av.org/why-vote-no/av-myth-busting/

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1 Response to Lessons for Football from the AV Referendum: Why I feel sorry for (most) Manchester City Supporters Part II (an Apology)

  1. Jude Ellery says:

    “Stuck-up up and self-righteous human beings”, I think he means. Come on CiTy BlUe, hyphenation’s a cinch.

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