Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Yes to AV will wipe away Cameron's smile

It's an old trick, if you're throwing a party always hire a small room and invite double the number of people it can hold.

As a result it was so packed at the launch of the Yes to AV campaign in the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster this morning that the audience had to practice synchronised breathing.

I stayed long enough to confirm the platform line up - Ed Miliband for Labour and Charles Kennedy for the Lib Dems, who now regains his proper mantle as a Lib Dem that the public recognise and, more importantly, like.

Caroline Lucas for the Greens was there, Shirley Williams and other leading Lib Dems also attended. But cross-party unity on the issue was somewhat undermined by the absence of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

Miliband has refused to share a platform with Clegg, advising him to lie low during the campaign so as not drive voters away. That doesn't help one of Miliband's core messages - not to turn the AV vote into a referendum on Nick Clegg.

It first instinct of many Labour voters is to use the AV referendum to kick Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems for joining the Tory cuts.

AV is the price Nick Clegg demanded for joining David Cameron. Opponents say a Yes vote would help the Lib Dems rebound back from their current low polling.

The Lib Dems might recover somewhat but their leader is already beaten by the betrayal of so many promises. Clegg is political husk looking at single figure support in UK and Scottish opinion polls.

Apart from agreeing that Elvis is the King, you would rarely find Iain Martin, Daily Mail's new columnist, and I reading from the same political script

However, his column is spot on in identifying the danger for David Cameron in a Yes vote in the referendum.

As Iain explains, Cameron is against a fairer voting system and every No vote makes his PR grin even wider.

But a Yes vote means the Tory party wakes up on the morning after the referendum realising they have changed the British constitution - just to please Lib Dem coalition partners they regard as political toe rags.

Tories will take out their anger on David Cameron who, if there is a yes majority, will become a serial loser.(He didn’t win them the general election either).

A Yes result would make life uncomfortable for the Tory leader. Having "sold out" on the voting system Cameron will find it harder to keep the lid on simmering right-wing discontent in his own party. The plotting will begin, the coalition will creak, Cameron will be looking over his shoulder for the knife in the back.

More importantly the Prime Minister will be on the wrong side of history.
Ed Miliband, who backs a yes vote, will look at the Lib Dems and ask them just why they are in bed with the Tories when really Labour represents progressive politics.

A Yes vote is a winner for Labour, and exposes the divisions in the Conservative LibDem coalition.

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