Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Yes2AV referendum ad

I was less lucky in catching the Yes2AV Referendum broadcast last night fortunately Guido Fawkes has posted it on his site. Is it telling that he posts this with a dollop of vitriol yet posts the No2AV broadcast with no comment? Oh and unlike the Official No2AV YouTube posting you can comment on this one.

Amusingly the ad starts off with the same type of  observation made many a time and highlighted as Tav states here:

The silly season has started and elections are around the corner. I, like most residents, are now seeing an influx of election flyers.
Yes isn't it amazing how the politicos seem to magically appear around election time and then seem to vanish. After making the same point our haranguer states that
"MPs like you will have to aim for at least 50% of the vote instead of sneaking in with a minority"
Hmm a little charged I don't think they are "sneaking in" that's simply a consequence of the current voting system.
It means you'll have to work harder for our support it means that you'll actually have to listen to ordinary people like me.
Interesting as this seems diametrically opposed to the No2AV advert's stance that anyone voted in under AV won't have to listen to anyone. Ah but the No2AV ad ties that to coalitions and not the individual. Despite that I'm not sure it would mean that an MP would have to listen just appeal to the majority, to the masses; and sometimes that's not a good thing.

Our next haranguer:
The Alternative Vote is only a small change that could make a whacking big difference to us
Again opposite to the No2AV camp which states that's it's a huge (and expensive) change that will make no difference at all or contrarily make things worse. In this case only one side can be right, make your own mind up which.
Yes it means your safe seat won't be so safe and yes you'll have to work a bit harder for us
Except for the current 217 MPs who were elected with 50% of the vote or higher. Also there's that 'work harder' again which won't necessarily be the case.
"But you're our MP. Don't you think we should have a better system"
"I may need to do a fact-finding mission to um Brazil"
Ah this presupposes that AV is better although they haven't really demonstrated that yet. Likewise the evasive MP is a bit of a cliché.
"Wait a minute here's an idea. Why not just give us the same system you use to elect your leaders? You clearly think it's fairer"
Ah yeah see the Conservatives don't use AV they held multiple consecutive elections with the least-polling candidate being removed for the next. The difference to AV is that you can change your initial vote, if you want to; otherwise it's the same just spread out. As an added irony Mr Cameron might not have become Prime Minster if the full original roster of candidates had been presented to the membership to vote on

Labour used a full AV system and the LibDems in 2006 used the AV system too. So the three major parties all use a different voting system than that of the general public for their own internal elections make of that what you will.

And now the advert seems to go off on a whole different tangent.
"Was it entirely fair that us taxpayers paid for your ludicrous expenses"
Well no and this is why some were taken to court and some imprisoned, but what's this got to do with AV?
"We need to change the system that led to this don't we?"
Again yes, but as I said before that's more to do with the inability to recall an MP then how they were voted in. Sure one could argue that having to woo a majority of the voters across a broader spectrum means an MP is less likely to lead to such actions, but it's not a given.

And their conclusion:
"On May fifth we'll have a once in a lifetime chance to change the way MPs get their jobs. To fix an outdated system. The old guard don't want this because it will mean an end to their safe seats and cushy lifestyles. A yes vote will mean that MPs have to aim for 50% of the vote. So they have to listen to us and they have to work harder for us. This is the vote that makes all of your votes more powerful. So say yes on May fifth, 'cos let's face it they're not going to."
It's a neat wrap-up of what they've said so I wont' repeat each point.

My conclusion? As Guido said they've not tried to explain the system, but then again they haven't really attacked FPTP directly and that's the biggest thing I've taken from this - the difference in attitude between the two adverts. The No2AV advert was purely negative, at no point did they try to explain why FPTP is the better system, merely that AV is 'bad' and they didn't do a good job at that either.

Perhaps the megaphone spouters was the wrong tack to take, but how many feel that they need the equivalent to talk to their MPs; that from the point of view of an MP we only exist to be heard once every five years? It's not the best advert, and it did venture off the path a little, but it's still less insulting than the opposition's.