Tony Blair famously pulled the Labour Party well to the right of most of its membership and was always 'up for a fight' with the membership to demonstrate his credentials to the right wing press. He knew that Labour voters and members really had no other place to go. For all its faults they had to keep voting Labour and supporting Labour and just hoping that they could get 'their Labour' back.
Tony Blair knew the only power Labour voters had was to put one 'X' in the box. Choose Labour as the only party capable of stopping the Tories or choose another party and end up with a Tory MP. AV would have scuppered his plans, because suddenly those 5 million Labour voters who got so fed up they were willing to either sit on their hands or vote elsewhere would be important and so would many millions more who voted Labour through gritted teeth. He would need their second preferences and the voter would be free to show exactly how they feel AND still stop the Tories.
This is why Labour voters and members should vote YES today.
But what about all those 137 Labour MPs and many councillors who are arguing for a NO? We now know sadly that most of the parliamentary Labour party cares more for themselves than the health of the party. Credit to the leader Ed Miliband for sticking his head out and all the 83 Labour MPs who are campaigning for a YES. But to the others, maintaining their safe seat is the priority over the long term health of the party, let alone the millions of those on below average earnings (£21k) who rely on the Left to protect them from the Tories. This is a bigger scandal than their blind acceptance of unjustifiable expenses, at least that was small fry compared to the billions the poorest will pay for the continuance of the status quo and continuance of big Tory majorities elected by just a fraction of the electorate (39% of the vote gave the Tories 55% of the seats and 100% of the power in Canada).
AV is not the system we PR enthusiasts want, but without it we are accepting the arguments of David Cameron, John Reid and David Blunkett that our present system is 'entirely fair'. I urge you to vote YES today whatever your party afiliation if you believe our democracy needs to be improved, and I tell you, there is no worse system than first-past-the-post, well apart from dictatorship (but at least a dictator doesn't pretend to be a democrat). Vote YES to change this corrupt system. History will judge us to be right. We will not get PR without a change now to AV. But more important than that, we will not get reform of the Lords, local government. If we vote NO, then FPTP will have been lent some legitimacy and they might change the electoral systems for Europe or London or Mayor elections - (all of which use a more democratic electoral system) back to 'fair' FPTP. We cannot let that happen, please vote YES today.