…BBC blames bin Laden.
Having bigged up the Yes To AV campaign with all its might, our national broadcaster is explaining why this simple, liberal measure to make democracy fairer was overwhelmingly rejected by the supposedly ‘progressive majority’ of Polly Toynbee’s imagination this Thursday.
Curiously, it’s nothing to do with Julia’s perfect summary of conservative skepticism when dealing with anatomically modern liberals over there at OoL :
I’m voting No, simply because all the other changes the progressives have pushed for have turned (o)ut for the worst, and I’m not betting on their luck changing anytime soon!
Say it first thing every morning and last thing at night.
Repeat until our streets are safe day and night and until the overwhelming majority of our nations’ children are taught to read and write properly.
A debate that was often about the complexity of electoral systems ended in the simplest of results.
The No campaign won, overwhelmingly.
Nice of him to state a right-wing fact as a fact when it’s inescapable.
Next week, perhaps, JFK assassinated by Left-Wing nut job with a pro-Communist record as long as your arm and not a shadowy Right-wing conspiracy after all, perhaps?
The rush to attribute blame, or grab the credit for that result, begins here.
Nice ordering there. Blame first, because it’s bad to oppose AV.
Many Lib Dems will attribute the outcome to David Cameron who they say campaigned hard for a No vote despite agreeing not to take a leading role.
Presses ‘Despicable Tory’ speed dial button.
As early as February the prime minister had no qualms about reminding people Nick Clegg had once called the alternative vote a "miserable little compromise".
Relations between the coalition partners deteriorated from there, until Energy Secretary Chris Huhne confronted the prime minister in cabinet in what became a very well publicised spat.
Both Mr Huhne and the former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown accused the No campaign of personally targeting Nick Clegg and telling lies, something which was denied.
While some suspected the tension was carefully staged to boost Lib Dem election hopes, Mr Huhne insisted, as the results came in, relationships had grown frayed.
These moments of melodrama won the attention of journalists.
Ooh, it’s all about us; the political and media class!
Gripping the wider public, would prove to be more difficult.
In the event much of debate was characterised by two things that tend to bore voters - bickering politicians and ferocious, sometimes obscure, battles between political campaigners.
Actually, of two dear colleagues here in Castle City’s Bloated Bureaucracy who were recently discussing why they voted No this week, one offered a concise explanation of how historian David Starkey’s argument about AV threatening a further drift to pre-Industrial Revolution style patronage persuaded her, and another that she feared not that the Far Right would win seats (AV is a “centre” party’s dream), but that it would lead the Conservative Party to head hard a-starboard on race and immigration to try to win BNP transfers.
Clever people both; educated but not at all Right-wing. But conservative? In the sense of skepticism of change alone: yes.
Even committed Westminster watchers may soon struggle to recall the details of a row about a poster featuring a soldier's body armour, or the intricacies of the campaign donations.
There were moments of novelty when political opponents shared one stage.
Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable and Labour leader Ed Miliband appeared together at a press conference arguing for a Yes vote. David Cameron and the former Labour home secretary Lord Reid stood side by side to make the case for a no vote.
But even these unusual alliances were unlikely to win too much attention from those not naturally drawn to politics.
So what went so wrong that ‘blame’ had to be apportioned, and when David Cameron (hawk, spit, make the sign of the Evil Eye) had no qualms about opposing AV.
All this was played out against a backdrop of huge news stories such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the death of Osama bin Laden and the royal wedding.
Why, Doris, I’m just too busy worrying about Princess Beatrice’s egregious hat, rising radiation rates in Tokyo, and wondering exactly where that military helicopter pilot the Duke of Cambridge spent that particular Bank Holiday Monday to concern myself with hi-fallutin changes to the constitution that they might ask my opinion about any time soon.
Despite all this, millions of people voted and even in areas where no other elections were taking place, like London, the turnout was comparable to that seen at local elections.
Those who favoured the Yes campaign will argue they were defeated by the prime minister's campaigning power, (who’s obviously at the all-time pinnacle of his personal popularity what with the ‘cuts’ and all – say what happened to the Thatcher-style hatred the British people are supposed to have for him then?) a largely hostile press (but where was our national broadcaster in the debate? – Silly me – impartial to the core!) and a tough opposing campaign.
They will also wonder whether people who voted against the Lib Dems in the elections might have been keen to oppose Nick Clegg's favoured electoral system at the referendum.
Nay, our Keith, I’d love to change our ancient first past the post system to something a little more representative, but I just can’t stand the thought of voting for the system proposed by the man who sides with the Evil Tory Cuts. Instead, I’m going to vote for the system preferred by ...the man who thought up the Evil Tory Cuts.
Those who backed a No vote will say they won the argument for the merits of the status quo, and persuaded people the alternative vote was complex and unnecessary.
Nah. Can’t be. But that’s just what They would say, innit?
The voters, of course, needed only to mark crosses on ballot papers. They did not have to explain their reasoning. So campaigners who devoted months of their lives to this argument will never know what difference, if any, they made to the result.
My point here is not that this is all about the left-wing bias and ‘progressive influence’ that the BBC hoses out as standard (that’s just one of those every-minute-of-every-single-day-coincidence things, and not germane here.)
I think what this piece of something shows the Political Class’s blindness to any notion that conservatism, in its core position of skepticism about change, can have any place in the hearts and minds of the people of this or any other country.
They can’t oppose AV just because it looks a bit dodgy and Political Class pipe –dream; they just can’t.
The People just aren’t like that.
They’re just like us, but dirtier and in need of our kindly guidance.
Say it first thing every morning and last thing at night.
I’m voting No, simply because all the other changes the progressives have pushed for have turned out for the worst, and I’m not betting on their luck changing anytime soon!
Sometimes, thank God, it seems that The People are their own Leviathan.