David Blackburn

Tory and Labour grandees unite against AV

Tory and Labour grandees unite against AV
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The NOtoAV campaign has unveiled its patrons. It’s an impressive list. Margaret Beckett is the President, supported by Blunkett, Falconer, Prescott, Reid and Emily Thornberry on one side and Ken Clarke, Micheal Gove, William Hague, Steve Norris and Baroness Warsi on the other.

The squeeze is on. The YEStoAV campaign has Labour supporters, but they aren’t quite so august. Iain Martin reckons that the YES team are faced with a cross-party opposition that can get these diverse big beasts working together. Iain calls it a pincer movement on the Lib Dems.

The strategy is to characterise electoral reform as aan exclusively sectional interest: Clegg’s fixation. With his singular brand of native wit, John Prescott spilled the beans:

‘This is the system that nobody wants. It’s a shoddy little deal that the Lib Dems made with the Tories as their price for power. They could have made a deal to protect health, education, jobs, but no – they chose a voting system to help themselves.’

The Tories can’t be so brazen; but their sentiments will be similar. After all, the Lib Dems were unequivocal: a referendum was the price of any coalition deal.