…or, “please can we have the AV vote in a couple of months time?
I’m starting to believe that the tide is turning again in the AV debate. Earlier this year, it seemed as though ‘Yes’ was slightly ahead – although between the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ there was a great sea of ‘Don’t Know.’ Then the Tory big bucks backed No campaign unleashed its attack dogs. Anyone wondering how the No campaign intended to justify the obviously unfair status quo was left in no doubt: by shouting misleading and downright dishonest propaganda so loudly that the undecided would buy it in sufficient numbers to swing the undecideds into the No camp through fear. But the No campaign is like the emperor’s new clothes – a veneer that is easily chipped away by fact. It’s just that it takes time. Anyone out canvassing at the moment will be aware of two things. 1. Most of non political public don’t really know enough real facts to make an informed decision. They DO know what the No campaign say about it though! 2. Most non political people are pretty fair-minded. They would prefer fairness to unfairness in our electoral system. In my experience, you can swing a lot of people just by explaining what AV really is, and why it is fairer – and importantly why it won’t actually lead to more extremists being elected or cost the taxpayer a fortune. Trouble is, most of us also have other elections to fight and a limited time per doorstep.
But I do feel that the longer the AV campaign goes on, the more people will come over to the Yes side. The frailty of the No camp’s arguments means that the don’t stand up to close scrutiny. How the Tories must have cringed as Baroness Warsi was comprehensively taken apart by Adam Boulton. That clip does more in five minutes than a Yes campaign video ever can. I also believe that the sheer nastiness of the No campaign’s vilification of Nick Clegg is beyond the pale. For Cameron to try to distance himself when his party bankrolls it is outrageous. Whatever anyone might criticise Clegg for, he has been a loyal coalition partner and deserves better. Given a few weeks, I think the public would see through the No campaign. It is treating people like fools.
Saddest of all is the limp and pathetic leadership of Ed Milliband. His party supported AV at the last election, and yet half of his MPs are working for the Tories thinly veiled ‘apolitical’ No campaign. If only Labour could wake up and smell the coffee. A strong Labour leader could get his party to support reform. Milliband is neither strong nor a leader. Labour campaigning in the local elections is so lazy, they appear to expect as of right to pick up hundreds of council seats based entirely on people’s disaffection with the Government. Their local literature is the same in every ward, and totally ignores relevant local issues. Labour is a rudderless ship, drifting – and letting the Tories and the Daily Mail set the agenda.