The AV referendum has provided the most conclusive proof yet that those who use the term ‘Progressive* Majority’ should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act. 68% of those who thought a referendum on electoral systems was an issue worth taking a detour for, voted NO.
Liberal Vision’s Angela Harbutt has written an excellent blog explaining way the YES campaign choked on its own groovyness.
“The YES campaign was eminently winnable. But it ended up being run by readers of the Guardian for readers of the Guardian. Readers of this newspaper are about 1% of the voting electorate – and are also a statistically extreme group. Their views do not chime remotely with mainstream British opinion. There is no purist Guardian editorial proposition that could ever come close to winning a referendum in the UK.”
Tim Montgomerie, proving that the instant draft of history is now done by bloggers, has also produced another excellent blog analysing the strengths of the NO campaign.
“(Matthew)Elliott fought a national cross-party campaign that was universally derided by the Westminster commentariat until it was obvious that it was working… The campaign provides a new model of how campaigns should be fought. Elliott ignored the talking heads and ran a campaign that chimed with voters, not the metropolitan elite.”
Richard Dawkins (“If you want to help Tories vote NoToAV. I cannot see how any sane democrat could do so.”), Billy Bragg (“Don’t let our anger at Clegg prevent us from clipping Cameron’s wings today – vote Yes to AV”), Ed Miliband (“A yes vote would improve our divisive political culture and give expression to this country’s genuine progressive majority.”) your boys took one hell of a beating… because you forgot what people actually care about.
The AV referendum result contained good news for all three parties.
- For the Conservatives it was evidence that the vast majority of the electorate is not purely motivated by giving you a kicking.
- Labour can take comfort from the fact that the majority of MPs and Councillors (if not your leadership) listen to their constitutions, rather than the Islington dinner party set.
- Lib Dems need to understand that if the coalition gets the ‘meat and potatoes’ issues right (i.e the economy, education, health, opportunity, freedom NOT constitutional reform) then a lot will be forgiven.
*’Progressive’ is still a valid description for ones political beliefs – if that’s how you roll – but don’t be blinded by the fact that because all those you choose to hang around with are ‘progressive’ that a majority of people consider themselves in such geeky political terms.”