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CCHQ's anti-AV leaflets pull their punches

Tim Montgomerie

Just above this post Paul Goodman speculates at the consequences for David Cameron if First Past The Post is defeated in the AV referendum. Conservative HQ has, this morning, given ConHome a preview of the postcards that it is issuing to Tory Associations to ensure that that doesn't happen:

AVWorld AVWheelOfFortune AVRun AVScales The postcards feature the following messages on the reverse:

  • It isn't used in many places: AV is a discredited voting system. It’s only used in three countries around the world – Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea – and both Fiji and Australia want to get rid of it. By contrast, First Past the Post, our current system, is the most widely used in the world.
  • Supporters of extreme parties get many votes: "AV is an unfair voting system. With First Past the Post (our current system), everybody has one vote. But under AV, supporters of extreme parties like the BNP would get their vote counted many times, while people who vote for one of the mainstream candidates would only get their vote counted once."
  • The winner doesn't win: "The Labour leadership election showed that AV doesn’t work. David Miliband won the support of most Labour MPs and Party Members, and was ahead in the first three rounds of voting – and yet Ed Miliband became the shock new Labour leader after sneaking the fourth round by just 1%.
I think the CCHQ postcards have done a good job at exposing the weaknesses of how AV works but they are silent about the kind of government that AV will produce. There's no mention of the huge benefit that AV will give the Lib Dems. No mention that coalitions and compromises and broken manifestos will be more likely. No mention that Nick Clegg and his successors will become the kingmakers of British politics. These arguments are obviously too uncomfortable for Team Cameron. It has decided to put coalition etiquette before the need to win this referendum but I fear that AV won't be defeated if we don't deploy our best arguments. It is vital that the independent 'no' campaign makes them. Yesterday the 'no' campaign was emphasising the cost of AV:

Screen shot 2011-02-16 at 07.19.34 Screen shot 2011-02-16 at 07.19.26 Screen shot 2011-02-16 at 07.19.15The elephant in the room is power that AV gives to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. The elephant must be put centre stage.

> Download a PDF of all the CCHQ postcards.


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