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“Make it 50” and the Janus-faced Yes Campaign….

The new Yes to AV slogan ‘Make it 50’ is dreadful on so many levels. It’s obscure and people who are not immediately aware of the 50% argument won’t have a cat in hells chance of knowing what it means. Nor, I suspect, will they have much inclination to find either. For Yes it rather reinforces the impression that their arguments are based on distant concerns and it adds to the elite and ‘politicswonk’ feel to their campaign. This isn’t a problem if you want to appeal to fellow wonks but as a lever to excite the masses to turn out and vote in this referendum its hardly a brilliant device. However, above everything else though it simply isn’t true.

It’s perfectly possible for a MP to be elected under the Alternative Vote system with less than 50% of the vote. This occurs when not everybody uses their preferences and actually happened in an experiment conducted by the BBC’s Radio Five Live during a debate it held on the referendum. Yet again this slogan is an example of the Yes Camp wanting to have their cake and eat it because supporters argue, as Rupert Read did here, that AV is ‘just like First Past the Post’ because you don’t have to use all your preferences. The only catch being that if you don’t you make a mockery of the Yes camps new slogan.

The mess Yes are in over this highlights a wider tension in their discourse – on the one hand they insist AV is some kind of ‘radical change’ which will ‘save our democracy’ while the other Janus face says ‘dont worry, it barely changes anything at all’. The former line of reasoning is precisely what will kill stone dead any chance of a Yes vote leading to further reform – why should people demand further reform if AV is such a radical change? The latter line of reasoning shows why it was right for supporters of Proportional Representation or indeed any further reform to describe the referendum as a ‘cup of cold sick’ as I saw one Tweeter do recently.

In totality, the only conclusion from both lines of reasoning is that AV is the worst of all worlds and should be voted down on May 5th.

2 Comments

  1. Steve Kelly says:

    Couldn’t agree more. What’s more, if it is true as even the Yes campaigners believe, AV will lead to perpetual coalition, then that’s enough reason for me to vote no. Not to mention it has Nick Clegg’s grubby little paws all over it.

  2. @Steve,

    Thanks for the comment. Not sure it would on that score, though PR definately would and thats why I dont like a fully proportional system. Lol ye that is true….

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