by Dan McCurry
How ridiculous that the pro-AV campaign attacked the MPs who have pledged themselves against. That policy was in the manifesto for the benefit of the Lib Dems, who then shafted us, yet they claim that we’re committed to an obsolete manifesto that has already lost us the election.
Just as silly is their argument that AV would not be good for the Lib Dems. I wish they’d tell the Lib Dems that, because this was the crucial offer from the Conservatives that made the coalition happen.
We’ve waited for generations for a chance to destroy the Liberal Democrats and get British politics back to its natural balance of a two party democracy. Finally, the Lib Dems have been exposed for the shallow bunch they are, and just at that moment when we can finally clean up, along comes this campaign, from within the party, seeking to bring about eternal coalition.
Not only do they want to see us grovel to the Liberal Democrats again, they want grovelling enshrined, for perpetuity, in the British constitution. They want to ensure that every television debate, in every general election to come, will be guaranteed to include cringe-making comments along the lines of, “I agree with Nick”, even though we all know that Nick is a liar. Can’t they see why some of us don’t agree with this policy?
Just imagine the sheer disruption it would cause. We already have David Cameron promising to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 585. Imagine how few constituencies there would be if we also added a whole bunch of “list” MPs not connected to any constituency, as would be required by Nick Clegg’s preferred AV+. We would probably have to reduce the number of constituencies by at least a third, and it would be the Tories deciding what the ground rules would be for those new boundaries.
Every single MP would have to stand for reselection, while a tiny sub-committee of the NEC would choose who gets to be on the list, with all the consequent axes to grind. Yet rather than be supportive of our MPs, Luke Akehurst, in his Progress article, seem to relish that disruption. Which is surely inappropriate because Luke sits on that sub-committee.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The simple fact is that every election I’ve ever known, since the 1980s, has always been won by the party with the best campaign. Even if we agree that John Major’s government was unsuccessful, we must agree that he ran the better campaign.
Sometimes the Tories win through having massively more money than us. Anyone remember the “Labour Isn’t Working” poster? That image slaughtered us. Or maybe I should say Saatchi & Saatchi slaughtered us? The pro-AV campaign argues that FPTP causes the election to be fought out in a few key constituencies rather than every constituency in the country, but that’s the reason why it’s better.
Unlike the Tories, we don’t have huge amounts of money to hire advertising agencies and put up posters across the country. We win elections by knocking on doors and speaking to people. We manage this by concentrating on the key marginals. How is it possibly to our advantage that we should spread ourselves so thin?
Dan McCurry blogs here