My email to Comment is Free on AV….

Dear Comment is Free,

You say it is your aim:

to host an open-ended space for debate, dispute, argument and agreement in which users are able to comment on everything they read

If this is the case then why has the case against the Alternative Vote system been consistently and systematically excluded from your pages? My information suggests to me that you have been officially approached by the No Campaign on at least two separate occasions who offered you pieces of a high quality, including one from a sitting Labour MP. They were apparently told that you did not want pieces about AV in at this time. This implies that you felt it was ‘too early’ to cover the topic.

However, a quick browse through your site shows that you clearly have a door that is wide-open to supporters of AV. Just five days ago you published a piece by Vernon Bogdanor arguing that ‘coalitions are the future’ and speaking in positively glowing terms about AV:

They will be even more likely if the alternative vote, a preferential electoral system – likely to help the Liberal Democrats, the second choice of many voters – is endorsed by voters in the forthcoming referendum.

This is not to mention the editorials The Guardian itself has published about the subject. Now, you might well argue that The Guardian is entitled to its ‘editorial line’ which it is; however, is it not then misleading to say that Comment is Free is an ‘open forum’? I would submit that it is; if CIF is merely a talking shop for those that support the editorial line of The Guardian then I would submit it comes dangerously close to violating trade descriptions laws to describe it as an ‘open forum’. At least have the honesty to say this is the case rather than presenting CIF as something it is not.

However, if CIF is truly an open forum I suggest you demonstrate this and allow the No to AV point of view to be heard. I look forward to your reply and appreciate your time in consideration of this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Darrell Goodliffe

A Guardian Online and Comment is Free reader.

I would urge all my readers who are against AV but feel that they are being excluded from ‘Comment is Free’ to email: or


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14 responses to “My email to Comment is Free on AV….”

  1. Robert says :

    I’m not being funny if the comment in a forum or the media makes up your mind on an issue like AV or anything else, then sadly you need to been seen at your local NHS mental hospital.

    I will not be voting for AV because it’s second rate, PR is what is needed not some thing knocked up to suit the readers of the SUN…or to make Clegg look as if he has won the battle, AV would make the PR debate dead.

    But I suspect labour and the Tories joining in the house of Lords is a good sign that if the Tories win the next election in four years time, but need again to have a coalition it could be a Con-Lab pact. bless them….


  2. Gillig says :

    On a subject so vital to the quality of life of all the population it’s clearly undemocratic to hold an expensive referendum, (the second UK referendum in history), offering only two choices.
    We must have an alternative option on this ballot.
    Perhaps this column will welcome suggestions.
    Nothing serious enough to cause protests on the streets please.
    My suggestion is;


  3. Robert says :



    New labour to be banned.


  4. John Reid says :

    This article is wrote as anti AV, So Robert, writing that getting rid of Nu labour on an anti av site is ironic considering it’s Mainly Ultra blairites in Labour ,Blunkett, Reid etc who are against it.


  5. Robert says :

    And me I’m against it, and new labour, especially after the rubbish about Libya.

    As for Blunkett is he still around the old fart, and Reid god i thought he was moved on.


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Errr it doesn’t make up my mind. Mine is already made up. My point is about fair representation and how you describe something.


    I thought I agreed with you until you disappointingly didn’t support a meaningful referendum on voting reform which offered the voters more than two rather bad choices. Am disappointed 😦


    LMAO!! Did you forget two of Britain’s biggest trade unions…hardly ‘ultra blairite’!


  7. Gillig says :

    To; Darrellgoodliffe
    I thought Robert sounded a bit lonely and needed cheering up.
    I don’t support the holding of a referendum so out of touch with the public opinion.
    I can understand the Guardians reluctance to publish early articles on AV while both camps are preparing their arguments.
    The Australians, (who have to vote AV by law, with a none of the above option on the ballot paper), in a recent referendum wanted decisively to return to FPTP


    • darrellgoodliffe says :


      Fair enough :).

      Errrr how are both camps ‘preparing their arguments’? They have been ‘prepared’ and rehearsed and rehashed a thousand times over but the point is one side is not represented in the allegedly pages of Comment is allegedly Free and one isn’t….

      Indeed they do…not surprised at all….


      • Gillig says :

        Firstly I refer to my original post and withdraw the bit about street protests.
        If we can’t have three sides to the argument, I submit that CIF have realised that AV is so boring that it probably won’t happen.
        Clegg will say “oops sorry for the typo. We meant EU not AV.”
        Having been called a swivel eyed, green foam flecked, mad as a box of frogs ukipper, by James Obrien on LBC Radio during the week, I am leaving any further comment for a big sulk.


  8. Robert says :

    I was down my local hall last Friday all cripples and retards meet once a week to play a game of bingo or cards or as i do help people fill in forms.

    Two parties attended labour and Plaid, it nearly came to blows as they argued which one will rule after the elections.

    They asked us to put up our arms if we were going to vote, two or three arms went up, they then asked who is not going to vote and about thirty hands went up, some of them staff.

    They asked why are you not voting and it was no interest, asked why not and the majority of people said because it does not matter who wins we the people will lose.

    I think the feeling is general throughout Wales now and I can see hung government for a few terms, as people have nothing really to vote for, Labour and Tory I’m sure will do a deal at the next election to form a coalition, their policies are so close i doubt we notice any difference.

    I will not be bothering to even get up get my carer go down and vote, I’d rather have a cup of tea


  9. Gillig says :

    Many people think the AV referendum should be a EU referendum. They should be told, that with AV, they can vote to leave the EU, with Liblabcon as their second choice to stay in.


    • darrellgoodliffe says :


      I don’t think that’s the problem with Cif at all. They simply are the mouthpiece of the Guardian editorial writers and masquerade as an open forum.

      I am not sure I have heard that point of view expressed.

      They can vote to leave the EU and watch as Britain’s economy implodes even further in splendid isolation. Not sure that is much of a choice.


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