Posts Tagged ‘no to av’

The No to AV campaign is too unpleasant to support, even if you wanted to

25/04/2011, 07:30:52 PM

by Conrad Landin

In the forthcoming referendum, voters will consider contrasting factors when deciding where to place their crosses.

Some will vote on the merits of the alternative vote system, others on the basis of a long-term quest for proportional representation, for a third group, perhaps “basest of the three”, outlook on the current government will doubtless play a role.

Though there remains the under-discussed likelihood that Nick Clegg would use any Yes outcome to serenade a vindication of the coalition deal between his party and the Conservatives. And vindication it would be – this was, after all, the deal which saw every promise bar electoral reform sacrificed.

But despite my strong feelings on the issue, I can’t bring myself to join the campaign against the reform.

Figures in the Yes camp have suggested that their opponents come from a political spectrum narrower even than the Conservative party. With Labour heavyweights such as Ronnie Campbell and John Prescott weighing in with their endorsements of the campaign, we can see that this is far from the case. Yet there is something about the campaign’s tactics which makes one question whether the critics have it right. (more…)

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The drawing-room Jihadists of the “fairer votes” campaign have won

22/02/2011, 12:00:05 PM

by Dan Hodges

Stop all the clocks. Put away the ballot boxes. Shutter the polling stations.

The great AV debate, which has raged across the land for the last couple of months, is over. The gods have spoken. Thou shall vote yes.

It was fun while it lasted. Actually, it wasn’t. I’ve fought Tories, and wrestled power from their cold dead hand. Been head to head with Liberal Democrats who know more dirty tricks than a Watergate burglar. I’ve even gone up against fascists; real honest to goodness, “Adolf, ‘gord bless ‘im, great lad, little misunderstood”, fascists.

But I’ve never witnessed such a wave of self-righteous, intolerant, self-obsessed,  moral indignation as that cascading from supporters of the Yes to Fair Votes campaign. In fact, Yes to Fair Votes isn’t a campaign. It is a constitutional Jihad.

Leader of the crusade is a man called Jonathan Bartley. He has been prosecuting it with a messianic  fervour. In December, he kicked off by writing the following:

“Once in a while, the church gets a chance to atone for its sins. The referendum on the alternative vote (AV) for Westminster elections is a golden opportunity to demonstrate that, unlike the church of 100 years ago, which opposed the suffragettes, it will back the campaign for a fairer electoral system. The episcopal purple should not be of a notably different hue from that worn either by today’s campaigners, or the women pioneers of the early 20th century. There is a strong theological and ethical rationale for voting for reform”.

Many thought the referendum on AV would be about whether or not we need a new way of counting votes. Nothing so prosaic. According to Yes, whether we put a single preference by an electoral candidate, or rank them in order, is a decision of the same moral magnitude as the emancipation of women. (more…)

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AV – who cares? The whole debate’s a waste of time and money.

31/01/2011, 12:00:18 PM

by Michael Dugher

In September 2009 I was asked to conduct the traditional pre-briefing for broadcasters of the leader’s speech to the party conference. I remember reporting back to Gordon Brown’s other advisers that I had just “had my balls fried” by journalists about a line in the speech committing Labour to hold a referendum on the alternative vote. There was much confusion. The journalists wanted to know why having a referendum on AV had anything to do with the need for political reform after the MPs expenses scandal. They also wanted to know whether Labour would be campaigning for a “yes” vote, or whether we were simply committing to giving people the choice to move to AV or not. “Oh we’re definitely in favour of AV”, said one policy wonk. “No we’re bloody not,” said a political adviser, “large parts of the PLP are against and it hasn’t gone through the NEC yet”.

18 months later, the tedious irrelevancy that is the debate about whether or not to change to the alternative vote system continues. It is striking that the only party to have had a commitment to having a referendum on AV was Labour, the party that definitely lost the election. The Tories were opposed, as were the Lib Dems, who, as longstanding supporters of proportional representation, dismissed AV as “a miserable little compromise”. And yet we are having a referendum nonetheless, whether the public wants one or not. (more…)

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No to AV – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

09/01/2011, 10:30:18 AM

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. (more…)

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‘No’ campaign releases Labour names

29/12/2010, 07:55:11 AM

Following on from the Labour ‘Yes’ campaign publishing its supporters in an open letter to the guardian – the ‘No’ to av camp has published a list of 114 Labour MPs who are ‘backing’ the ‘No’ campaign:

David Anderson, Blaydon
Ian Austin, Dudley North
Adrian Bailey, West Bromwich West
Gordon Banks, Ochil and South Perthshire
Margaret Beckett, Derby South
Stuart Bell, Middlesbrough
Joe Benton, Bootle
Clive Betts, Sheffield South East
Hazel Blears, Salford and Eccles
David Blunkett, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
Russell Brown, Dumfries and Galloway
David Cairns, Inverclyde
Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley (more…)
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