Ed Miliband is dead right not to share a platform with Clegg on AV — but it has nothing to do with the pros and cons of AV. Clegg is simply despised by most Labour voters and it wouldn’t do Ed any good with them, some of whom are not yet too sure about him. He’s also right that Clegg is the wrong company if you’re trying to persuade Labour voters to support AV (which we’re not). The problem for the No to AV camp is that what’s true of Labour voters isn’t necessarily true of Tories. Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home thinks Tory voters hate Clegg too. Some do; some don’t. Maybe he only talks to the wrong Tories.
Tim Montgomerie says in the New Statesman:
If AV is to be defeated, an anti-Clegg message probably needs to be central for the Conservatives. A model is the near-defeat of the Maastricht Treaty in France in 1992. Maastricht was rejected by many French people not because they had turned against the European project, but because President Mitterrand was hated. Opponents of AV need to turn the campaign into a referendum on the broken promises and horse-trading of coalition politics.
At Conservative Home, he produces some pretty appealing possible anti-AV posters (which we show above). They make absolutely valid, democratic arguments against AV. These arguments will appeal to Labour voters; they’ll also appeal to some Tory voters, especially those on the right who are disappointed by its apparent social liberalism, but not all.
Very many Tory voters think the coalition is working well — about 90% in fact, according to the Sunday Times YouGov poll last week. Sixty-eight percent think Clegg is doing well as Leader of the Lib Dems, compared with 26% who think otherwise. Plenty of Tories would be quite happy to see perpetual Tory/Lib-Dem coalition, as we argued last week could well be the consequence of AV.
Nice posters, but they won’t work.