I said a while ago that if this AV referendum was about which electoral system was better - The Alternative Vote (AV) or our present system - First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), then the YES to AV campaign would win easily. I also hoped that millions would get to hear about the intricacies of electoral systems and therefore raise the profile of more proportional systems.
Instead we get nothing, no TV coverage of any substance, no info in libraries or anywhere else and the BBC frightened to use the words 'electoral reform'. What little anyone might have heard is lies from a rightwing press pumping out NO bilge and an extensive well funded NO2AV internet campaign.
The NO2AV campaign realised early on they couldn't win if the debate was about which system was better, so instead they concentrate on smearing prominent YES supporters, and claiming that £250m will be spent on hospitals and defence if AV is rejected. A figure they have just plucked out of the air. The treasury have already set the budget for the next general election and it will be unchanged whichever system is used.
The NO campaign use the tactics of lib dem localists, say different things to different constituencies - so in the Daily Mail AV is PR, but when NO2AV address PR enthusiasists it is not PR. John Prescott says AV is only wanted by fringe parties and extremists while NO2AV websites say AV won't help small parties. NO2AV say AV will exaggerate landslides, yet bring more coalitions. Please make your mind up? Hopefully all this distortion and dishonesty will backfire on the NO campaign. For the record here is answers to some of their most recent claims.
NO2AV say 'AV will not help small parties'.
The Greens, UKIP, SNP, English Democrats and Plaid Cymru all support a YES vote.
The BNP and Communists support the NO campaign.
I think this speaks volumes - basically small parties with potential to win majority support are in favour and small parties with very extremist views are campaigning with No2AV.
NO2AV say 'AV will make no difference to safe seats'.
Out of 400 MPs in the safest seats in the UK, about 380 are campaigning with the NO2AV campaign. I wonder why that is? eh?
NO2AV say 'AV is not a step towards PR'.
The argument that a YES vote will scupper progress to PR and that a NO vote that preserves the present disproportional system will get us PR, is a bit like arguing for no Minimum Wage in preference to one set at £5 an hour just because you wanted it set at £8 an hour. It is rather preposterous.
Nobody knows when we might get another chance to change the electoral system, it seems reasonable to assume that any rejection of change now, will bolster those preferring to keep the status quo and delay change. A vote for AV however shows people want change, win this vote and the argument that we want a wider choice of systems makes more sense.