This blog is amused by the latest polls for the AV referendum, especially as aggregated by political betting. We have been regaled with tales of dogs and cats, along with wonderful explanations of why it is not a good idea to let representative government to fall to the former. Its all very entertaining but it is a fantastic example of exactly why the “yes” vote is destined to lose; because it panders to the idea of a progressive-majority and ignores the fact that their are multiple ‘dog’ candidates too.
This presumption of ‘virtue’ has prevented the “yes” campaign from communicating with, and persuading, those people for whom the principle of proportionality or ‘vote-power’ simply is not a significant priority.
In a piece for the Sunday Telegraph titled; “The Tories have made success look like a train crash” Janet Daley asks a question but fails to realise the obvious answer. She notes; “Believe it or not, the welfare reforms are proceeding with remarkably little serious obstruction. The liberation of schools from political domination by local councils is positively whizzing along. And, to top it all, George Osborne’s plan to reduce the deficit as rapidly as humanly possible is now generally accepted by all authoritative bodies as sound.” She asks; “So why do we have the impression that this is a government in deep – possibly terminal – trouble?” She puzzles; “Bizarrely, politicians who shamelessly describe themselves as having learnt all their formative political lessons from Tony Blair have achieved the precise opposite of the Great Role Model.”
I think you miss the obvious Janet; why give the appearance of turbulent chaos while policy progress slides beneath the surface with the inexorability of the gulf-stream?
In May 2011 there will be a referendum in Britain to answer the question; should the electoral system be reformed from First Past the Post (FPTP) to Alternative Vote (AV), this being the price the Conservatives paid to bring the Lib-Dems into government with them as a coalition. The Lib-Dems want a proportional electoral system rather than a variation of the plurality method currently employed, so they aren’t exactly delighted with the choice on offer, but are at least willing to campaign for a change in order to break the stasis of electoral subjugation that they believe FPTP imposes. However, Lib-Dem members and activists are ideologically a lot further left than Clegg’s merry band of orange-book reformers, and are unhappy be seen as ‘collaborators’ even if it brings power, so there is suggestion that a failure to win the AV plebiscite could result in rebellion or even split the party, and in doing so dissolve the coalition before its time. This eventuality is unlikely, the Lib-Dem’s are after all in the process of convincing the electorate that they are a serious party of government, the problem with AV however is that no-one really wants it, but perhaps that is the point…..
Is the referendum merely a vehicle to enable proportional reform that his party can win?