Big Beasts of Westminster Vs The People – coming to a polling station near you on 5th May 2011!

The No campaign have revealed their list of headline politicians that support their side of the electoral reform referendum debate, while forgetting to ask one of them whether they were actually on the No to AV side! As reported over on the BBC News website, from the standpoint of the “new politics” we were promised back in May, it’s hardly a collection of the vanguard of a new generation of leading politicians. In fact, with maybe a couple of exceptions, it’s a list of mostly old establishment politicians I’ve found pretty disagreeable to say the least over the years regardless of their party alliegance, so to hear that they want to deny the voting public a much needed upgrade to our elections confirms to me that the change we believe in is truly the right way to proceed!

The trumpeted announcement wasn’t without the usual oversight by the No2AV campaign- this time they initially announced the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, as one of the frontline supporters of their cause, only for his advisers to tell them he actually was “undecided”. Whether Michael Gove eventually decides to be pro-reform or in favour of the broken FPTP system is a side-issue for another time, but what is instantly apparent from the motley crew on the bad ship No2AV is that this referendum campaign is turning into an “Us Vs Them” contest between the self-interested establishment & us, the voting public at large.

My hope is that people look at the “star-turns” of the No campaign & remember the expenses scandal that these people & their supporting right honourable friends were fully involved in & the less than principled (& sometimes downright dirty) things they got up to while in cabinet & ministerial posts. I hope people are reminded in the case of the Labour figures in No2AV that they have fought various election campaigns from 1997 onwards supporting a policy of electoral reform & most recently one directly endorsing the Alternative Vote. I truly hope that people fully realise that many of these figureheads for the failing status quo are not to be trusted as their true reason for standing in the way of this necessary reform is pure self & party interest.

As Anthony Butcher points out over at I Support AV

It would appear that NO2AV has forgotten just how unpopular British politicians really are. The public aren’t stupid; they understand that trying to keep FPTP is entirely a matter of self-interest for politicians from the Labour and the Conservative parties. The No campaign has simply reinforced that message for us.

He continues:

If the establishment tells us to vote one way, we are naturally inclined to do the opposite. Today the establishment is telling us that they are scared of a YES vote, they don’t want our electoral system upgraded and they don’t want voters to have more control over them. How will you vote?

At least now we’ve had it confirmed who some of the big targets are against us, & I can imagine from reading some of the quotes they’ve released so far that the main thrust of their argument will be pretty negative & generally smearing of the whole issue. We must remember that we are the grassroots campaign, & that we pretty much hold all the positive cards here. “First Past the Post” is as much on trial in this referendum as AV, & so far I’ve barely heard an actual defence for FPTP from the No campaign- it’s most likely because in British politics today there isn’t a defence for it.

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2 Responses to Big Beasts of Westminster Vs The People – coming to a polling station near you on 5th May 2011!

  1. Paul Perrin says:

    It wasn’t just Gove who wasn’t sure they were #No2AV…

    I heard John Prescott in an interview – he said he fully supported AV and if labour had been elected he would have helped introduce with out a referendum.

    John Prescott said he objected to ‘fixed term parliaments’, ‘reduction of MPs in parliament’ and other issues that were in the same bill as the referendum, but are noting to do with the referendum itself.

    I also saw Margaret Beckett say that her objection included the fact that Fiji had used AV, but have stopped using it — as she was Foreign Secretary for a time you would have thought that the reason Fiji don’t use AV any more is because there was a military coup and they don’t currently have any elections at all!

    Meanwhile David Blunkett explained his objection was that some voters got more than one vote under AV while others didn’t — this is a lie that has been debunked many times already — every voter gets one vote per round of voting under AV. Blunkett is either very poorly informed or out to deceive.

    The No campaign does have names and cash, but I really have not seen a single genuine argument in favour of FPTP!

    But the referendum will be won by peoples votes, not influence or cash – the people can win AV just by turning up on the day and voting for it!

  2. Thanks for the comments & information about how contradictory & flawed some of the frontline Labour anti-reformers views are, Paul- I think we may be writing more very soon about how ropey some of the “Fiji” arguments are against AV, & also Beckett’s untrue assertion that Australia had to introduce compulsory voting because the introduction of AV had caused a drop in voter turnout!

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