Yes campaign collapses into contradictions

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 3 May 2011 in News
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Voting Yes is no longer about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our voting system. It's now about beer vs coffee, which makes even less sense, argues Harry Cole

The final AV referendum broadcasts are set to go out tonight and tomorrow. Yes have chosen to explain their “miserable little compromise” of a system through a beer vs coffee analogy. But how does such a simplistic attempt to demonstrate a messy and anti-democratic system fit with the rest of the campaign?

From the start there have been some outrageous, grand, sweeping statements about what AV could do and what this referendum means. I heard this was meant to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the way we elect our politicians.

I heard from Yes that AV that it will make our MPs work harder and longer and stop them being crooks.

Apparently this is our only chance to ever reform the system, yet also a stepping stone to something else.

I heard that AV would mean that my vote counted and I would get what I wanted. But it turns out their final message is that AV can barely organise a piss-up in a brewery.

Given that the suffragettes, Reforms Acts and even the enfranchising of the working class and the Catholics have been invoked as comparisons of significance to Thursday’s vote, this is a massive change of tune.

We even had dog-whistle attempts to conflate the fact that that Nelson Mandela didn’t like First Past the Post when a new South African democracy was set up, so anyone who votes No must be pro-apartheid.

So what happened to the blue sky hyperbolic nonsense? Did they take a look at the polls and realise they were being laughed at. Apparently it's all about beers now. (Young people like beer right?)

Frankly those lofty historical comparisons were as intellectually insulting as they were laughable, so the change in tune is appreciated. However it’s clearly going to the wire over at the Yes HQ. Their final broadcast shows they are in a state of panic, disorganisation and lacking a clear and coherent message. Not a good place to be with just a few hours to go until the polls open.

It looks like there are going to be a lot of long faces on Friday night with the Lib Dems, the Electoral Reform Society, Ed Miliband, all the lefty bloggers, Jessica Asato, Blue State Digital (who did the Yes online campaign) and even little Eddie Izzard staking their reputations on the “a miserable little compromise”.

Oh and by the way, pretty much every pub I’ve ever been to serves coffee.

See Yes to Fairer Votes latest referendum broadcast here:

Tags: AV referendum, Blue State Digital, Yes to Fairer Votes

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