Tuesday, 22 February 2011


I have had some dealings with the No2AV campaign and must admit to be decidingly underwhelmed by their organisation nor that impressed by their campaign thus far.  In purely local terms they do not seem to have given Northern Ireland a moment's thought and the national campaign seems to have been given about five minutes consideration.

The WSJ 's Iain Martin takes up the theme:

" far the No campaign has looked confused and rudderless...Their launch this week was widely criticised, and the focus on the cost of new voting machines for AV seemed completely beside the point."

Elliott seems to be duplicating what he did at the Taxpayers Alliance (TPA) to the referendum campaign but a pressure group working on a single issue over a sustained period is a different beast to a referendum campiagn.  Also the impact of the TPA is over-rated - its 'success' was largely based on its ability to give good headline.  Something it achieved by simply doing the research (sometimes questionable) that these hollowed out nationals couldn't do anymore. 

NO2AV also seems to have allowed itself to get too distracted by the battle in parliament around the Bill.  These parliamentary games were always going to be more about making government work for its supper rather than a serious prospect of delaying the referendum.  Meanwhile the Yes campaign has simply got on with it.

Martin's claims that Cameron is now taking it more seriously I don't buy (partially because of Martin's role of seeming sceptical but providing ultimately soothing messages from the Cameroons to the Conservative party).  Cameron's recent address was no flight of great oratory or conviction.  However, he does report unease among the Labour backers of No2AV:

"The Labour board members of the No campaign are stirring. Bruisers such as Lord Prescott and Lord Reid..."

They certainly need to stir and the sooner the better.

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