A very good article by John Kampfner in yesterday's London Evening Standard, This referendum is about a lot more than vote reform:
Ultimately this referendum, on May 5, comes down to different visions of Britain. The "yes" campaign tends to be supported more by the young and optimistic. The "no" brigade is comprised mainly of Conservative Right-wingers who hate any form of change. These people opposed devolution for Scotland and Wales (now accepted as normal) and other forms of social change of past decades that have become part of the fabric of British life.
I hope he is right about that, because if so, the "Yes" side should win quite easily. Certainly the "No" campaign has got off to a lamentable start, with an irrelevant and mendacious focus on the supposed cost of changing the system. And they are also talking demonstrable nonsense about the system itself. Tom Newton-Dunn, who surely privately knows better but is presumably doing Rupert Murdoch's bidding, affects to believe in The Sun that AV is too complicated. Are they seriously suggesting that the British are too stupid to number candidates 1, 2, 3 in order of preference, as the Irish and the Australians have been quite capably doing for many decades? Is this really the best they can do?
As this campaign gets under way, I begin to feel that maybe it matters more than I thought it would. I mentioned the other day pro-STV friends who think AV almost an irrelevant diversion, so inferior is it to STV. While there was some force in that viewpoint in the abstract, now that the referendum is actually happening I suspect that it will be a disaster for progressive politics if the "Yes" side now loses.
Finally for today, may I commend a blog post by Neil Harding entitled 10 Facts About The Alternative Vote.