'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Sunday, 8 May 2011

AV Referendum. Lots of lists of reasons why we lost. But one fundamental question no one's asking...

Olly Grender predicted on Twitter on Friday that there would be a weekend full of clever hindsight about why the AV referendum was lost. In fact by Friday afternoon the Guardian had a fairly full list of 10 reasons to which I'll quickly add two more. It was held on the wrong day (the Tories got their vote out better in the English Council elections); and supporters of the 2 parties that have been in government continously for the 65 years until the last election, worked out that the status quo of FPTP was a better bet for them staying in power than changing it. Hats off to any Labour or Tory supporters who voted 'Yes' as they truly did put self interest aside for the sake of a fairer democratic system. But not enough of them did it. It wasn't small c conservatism. It was self preservation.

But while where are lots of good reasons why the battle was lost, that same Guardian article I linked to above starts off with a different point. That the electorate on Thursday sent a clear message to the politicians that actually they don't have much of a problem with the current system.

I couldn't disagree more.

I don't think politicians are held in any better regard than they were 12 months ago.

In fact, if anything, its probably got worse. The decline of support for our own party (we're no longer the good guys) combined with the dirty, dastardly underhand tricks of the 'No' camapign have probably turned even more people off national politicians.

But not national politics.

It only a month or so since half a million people marched through London alone on a political rally.

So people care about the issues. But they don't trust the politicians enough to change things.

I believe most people didn't see AV enough of a change to make a difference. Indeed we spent so much time telling people that the BNP would lose out under AV (good!) that lots of people who suport other rather more credible and worthy parties - eg. Greens - made the leap that AV wasn't going to help them much either. And people want real change and a more inclusive system that better reflects the will of the overall electorate.

Oodles of number crunching and analysis will now ensue. But I'm guessing that we'll find that people do want change. Real change. Seismic change. They just didn't think AV would be it.

The task we now have to achieve is getting in a position where we can ask a bigger question - like should we have PR? - sooner rather than later. And not let the Tories run with the line that 'Britain doesn't want change'.

It does. It just didn't want AV.

1 comment:

  1. The timing was wrong the Lib Dems should have realized that the referendum would be used to punish them and Labour too
    (for their coalition and helping Tories into Govt which 60 to 70 per cent of electorate didn't want)

    and the tactics of the Yes campaign were wrong too.
    As we know how gullible the public are
    and how easily led by lies and propaganda in papers and on TV news too that has recently mainly been controlled by Tories and their backers
    we should have realized how easily led they would be by the the lies of the No campaign
    so to prevent them being so easily conned we should have been harder hitting in fighting back against the No campaign
    and showed up their lies better
    and clearly explained why this electoral system is so unrepresentative IE that 60 to 70 per cent don't want the conservatives in
    yet we have them ruling over us
    we should have explained why it is 60 to 70 per cent that don't want them in which most don't understand.

    Apart from the stupid timing
    and tactics

    the main reason I think is that there were no TV debates on BBC/ITV about it.

    We should not accept this
    and wait another generation
    or more for another chance

    we should demand another vote soon apart from any other election taking place

    and demand the new vote only happens after these educational debates

    where we can provide evidence to expose the lies of the other side

    and explain why this system has always recently given us Govts with only 20 odd per cent approval from the electorate

    and how 60 to 70 per cent last time did not want the Conservatives to be in Govt

    and discuss with them how most of them must feel betrayed at what happened with the Lib Dems
    and Labour last year to end up allowing the conservatives in.