By Tim Montgomerie
This report identifies six key reasons why No2AV triumphed:
- After being convinced that a Yes vote would endanger his relationship with his parliamentary party David Cameron gave the order to fight the campaign with all available resources (more).
- The pundits scoffed at the No campaign’s argument that AV was costly and complicated but market research suggested that these were the right messages and the Westminster bubble’s desire for a more sophisticated campaign was rightly ignored (more).
- AV could only be defeated if a large number of Labour supporters voted to keep First Past The Post and from the earliest days of the campaign huge efforts were made to ensure the No campaign was genuinely cross-party (more).
- A massive Get Out The Vote operation by CCHQ that saw the Tory vote harden decisively during the campaign (more).
- An arms length relationship between the Tory leadership and the No campaign that meant Cameron was unable to stop the targeting of the politically toxic Nick Clegg and his broken promises (more).
- The No campaign also worked hard from day one to expose the Yes campaign’s funding and its attempts to enlist charities in support of AV (more).
There are two big implications of a No vote:
- The Liberal Democrat dream of electoral reform is over for a generation. A majority of Labour MPs want to keep First Past The Post. Nearly every Tory MP does. Both Conservatives and Labour think they can win power without the Liberal Democrats at the next election. Most believe that the Liberal Democrats will become a much smaller and marginal party after this parliament. There’ll be no big offer of voting reform - from either Left or Right - to Nick Clegg or his successor.
- After losing last year’s election David Cameron shows that he has fight in him. He proved that he can still be a winner. He threw everything at winning this referendum. He even talked about immigration as part of a strategy to motivate the base Tory vote. In an alliance with Britain’s centre right newspapers he gave a taste of the campaign that could see him win a second term.