Broad Left Blogging


Taking a broader perspective…

#No2AV is not ‘in crisis’…..

By Darrell Goodliffe.

Rupert Read, writing yesterday, seems to think the #No2AV camp is somehow ‘in meltdown’. How he reaches this conclusion because some wires got crossed over precisely who supports it is beyond me. If we take the most notable cases, the ‘loss’ of both Barry Sheerman or Michael Gove, they could well have been down to faults on their part as much as any problems with the campaign. Sheerman distinguished himself during the last government by being a disruptive influence and seems clearly to have at least been partially responsible for the confusion over his position. At first he denied he had ever spoken to the No camp then admitted his inclusion on the now infamous list could be down to an ‘informal conversation’ with No2AV organiser, Jane Kennedy. So, comrade let’s get this straight; you have never spoken to the No campaign except when you have had an informal conversation with one of their organisers? Gove’s record at Education doesn’t exactly scream decisiveness either so I can well imagine he would give off mixed signals. Similarly, though it does look like there are instances of genuine and foolish mistakes other factors influencing a retraction could be behind the scenes pressure. The size of the ‘No2AV’ list had the spin-off of making the PLP looking, once again, at a significant variance with a leader it did not elect therefore its not inconceivable that this has played a part.

Even if this isnt the case and in this instance the No camp was guilty of some sloppy research that does not equate to a ‘meltdown’ and to insist it does is the height of melodrama. Far more serious is this charge:

Maybe the problem is in part that the No campaign are in fact run by a bunch of right-wing nasties from the Tax-Payers Alliance and the Tories. Maybe that is why they have no accurate idea about what is going on inside Parties such as Labour and the Greens in terms of AV, and why they therefore not-infrequently, deliberately or as a result of cock-ups (as seems to be the case in this case), spread misinformation about the matter…

Ignoring the unnecessarily personally pejorative nature of Rupert’s remarks (‘nice’ people can have ‘nasty’ politics and vice versa) this is obviously the way that the ‘Yes’ camp will attempt to spin this incident. Of course, Rupert is ignoring the fact that leading Labour figures are on the organising committee of the No campaign and two of Britain’s three biggest trade unions, the GMB and Unite, are committed to the ‘No’ campaign. It would be nice to see the trade unions take a quasi-autonomous role in the campaign and produce their own literature as this would I feel aid the campaign in certain constituencies. Also, it would be nice if they contributed phone banking resources; phone canvassing being something that the No camp should be doing but clearly isn’t on the scale of the Yes campaign.

Rupert is trying to create ‘guilt by association’; a game we could easily play by asking him how Nick Clegg and his discredited Party are getting on as they desperately try to conceal their presence in the Yes camp so as to avoid completely guaranteeing defeat even before a vote is cast.  Speaking personally, I am quite proud to be associated with a campaign being supported by two of Britain’s leading unions (including my own) and have no problem working with those whose politics I do not share on this single issue. Divide and rule wont work and nor will trying to guilt trip the British people and progressives into accepting this truly ‘miserable little compromise’.


Filed under: Electoral Reform, Labour, Trade Unions, , , , , , ,

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