The ‘No to AV’ campaign shouldn’t take Labour voters for granted..
I say this because I noticed a couple of things today. One was on Work 4 an MP where the ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ campaign is clearly advertising for Regional Organisers. Another were the Tweets of one James Graham who it seems has been merrily doing the conference circuit on behalf of the Yes campaign. He noted the absence of the No campaign especially from the Labour conference. Newsflash for the organisers of the No campaign: You need Labour voters to win and Labour just elected a leader that is supporting the Yes campaign. It may well be with prominent opponents like Tom Harris likely to be elected to the Shadow Cabinet that this is not something Ed will be broadcasting frequently. However, for the No campaign to take these voters for granted would be naive in the extreme.
So are my accusations fair? I know the No camp has a Twitter account but the notion this amounts to a sterling start to the campaign is somewhat deluded. Sure it has a website but as a Labourite I don’t find it particularly appealing. Indeed, I saw several tweets during the leadership campaign making derogatory remarks which raised my hackles. You see the No camp, run at the moment as it is by the likes of Matthew Elliot, the former head of the Taxpayers Alliance, is somewhat culturally distant from its key target constituency. Could it be that Mr Elliot hasn’t got a clue how to reach out to the crucial swing voters in this referendum (ie, Labour voters)? I think that scenario is very likely to be honest. One wonders if he has even attempted to make overtures to the GMB who are stated opponents of AV?
The No campaign will fail if its sole power is going to be through the columns of a largely sympathetic press. It will need to reach out to people Elliot no doubt considers the ‘great unwashed’ because in this election we are the ones with the power. Conservative voters will vote largely against (although I expect some flaking here) and the shrinking rump that constitutes remaining Liberal Democrats will vote overwhelmingly for so, in the middle with the decisive power is the bloc of Labour voters who will be turning out on the same day to give the Coalition a bloody nose. Since they will be most motivated to turn out on the day of the elections this only adds to their decisive power. The No campaign has to shape-up if it is going to win, it can’t take Labour voters for granted. I suggest now would be a good time for Mr Harris to step-forward….