Thursday, 5 May 2011

Too little too late from the Yes campaign

So on Tuesday,  the Yes campaign finally decided it might be an idea to actually explain AV (albeit in a necessarily wooly way). Two days before the referendum may be a tad too late.

I received an addressed leaflet from the No campaign a few weeks ago and Mrs. L received one from them last week. We have received nothing from the Yes campaign. I really hope the Yes campaign has some clever targeting strategy although I'm not at all confident.

(UPDATE: I also realised I got a lovely Take a Break style booklet from the tories about AV:
Your guide to voting 'NO' in the referendum
Exclusive: David Cameron: Why I'm voting 'No'
Why can't everything be a simple as First Past the Post?

I hear from a source in another tory local party that the local parties had to pay central office for the privilege of these anti-AV booklets. Clearly tory local parties have a lot more money than we LibDems are used to!

Also on Tuesday, I had a load of last minute addressed Yes letters dumped on me from someone who in turn has had a greater number dumped on them who in turn has had them dumped on them by someone who has an even greater number dumped on them! I managed to deliver the vast majority (phew!) whilst they are still of some use but it will be no great surprise that some of the more geographically difficult ones will inevitably be ending up in the recycling bin. Also I'm not sure their targetting is that great as the chances of anyone voting from one long street I delivered is approaching zero!

Anyway this letter (from that nice Mr Richard Wilson apparently) was again, IMHO, concentrating on politicians not people. The 3 reasons it gives in order are:

1. MPs working harder for you
2. Tackling 'Jobs for life' in Westminister
3. Giving you a stronger voice

Shouldn't these be the other way round in order of importance? Isn't empowerment of the voter the most important aspect?

Throughout this so-called campaign the Yes campaign have followed the No campaign in concentrating on politicians and outcomes rather than the actual system and the benefits for the voter.

Off the top of my head:

Real Benefits to the voter/the people:
- The result more accurately/farier reflects the will of the people in a constituency
- No more voting tactically
- No more wasted votes
- Genuinely popular independents have a better chance of breaking through

Debatable "outcomes":
- MPs will work harder
- MPs will reach out beyond their core vote
- Fewer safe seats

Why the hell haven't the YES campaign been concentrating on the clear-cur benefits for the voter rather than the rather dubious claims for the political outcomes?

The vast majority of people have no experience of an MP "working" for them, so this will hardly resonate. Yet this is the Yes campaign's number one point.

Also, the more important consequence of not concentrating on the system is that NOBODY UNDERSTANDS IT! Yes, saddos like myself who have made time in their busy lives to think about such things do but I'd suggest it doesn't go much further than that. Where were the mass mock AV elections up and down the country? The Yes campaign seems very proud of their facebook app to do this but where was the non-facebook equivalent? Not everyone is going to want to install yet another app and allow it to have access to all their details and to harass their friends. And, whille we're at it, why is it that googling "yes2av" until recently didn't return the Yes campaign page at all?

Understanding and education was the only defence against the lies of the NO campaign and people are not going to vote for something they don't understand if there's even a hint that it has anything to do with politicians.

Anyway, back to Mr. Wilson, he'll explain it for people...

"The new Alternative Vote system is simple - you can just put the people you want to vote for in order of preference - 1,2,3 and so on. It's a small change that will make a big difference.

No one can win unless they receive more than half the votes. It couldn't be fairer. Your vote will always count and every MP will have to work hard to get more people on side" . This will read to your average person as:

1) Put the people you want to vote for in order of preference
...some magic...could be a politicians' fix....
5)  Someone receives more than half the votes

That's not to mention the whole half the votes issue.

If, by some miracle, the polls are confounded and the result is a yes, I will be delighted of course.