Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ghastly Ghose Goes For Parliament

Regular readers will remember Katie “Ghastly” Ghose, who spent her whole time as chairman of the Yes to AV campaign trashing the ‘old political parties’. You would have thought that the woman who turned a 27-point lead for AV into a 36-point victory for the No campaign might have moved on to pastures new, but no, she’s back. And she’s in the running to be a Labour MP…

Her controversial company Electoral Reform Services Ltd won’t be counting the votes this time, but Guido takes some pleasure in knowing that as it’s a shortlist of two, her fate will be decided by First Past the Post. No doubt Ghastly Ghose will gain plenty of support from those Labour MPs who refused to deliver her Yes2AV leaflets that branded them lazy. Best of luck Katie…

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yes Campaign Attempts to Rewrite History

John Denham, Labour’s anti-Business Secretary, told an electoral reform fringe meeting yesterday that the:

“Lib Dems were totally kippered in Yes campaign by thinking ‘We mustn’t do anything to upset the Tories…'”

N02AV veterans have barely been able to keep a straight face at this one, especially given that Chris Huhne was sitting on the very same panel. What was it about Huhne calling other members of the Cabinet Nazis that suggested he was reining in his behaviour?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

State of the Race

Whisper it quietly, but is the AV referendum campaign finally gearing up? Osborne and Danny Alexander have scraped in the papers, which must have made for an interesting morning meeting in the Treasury today. The Indy seem to be the only one who thinks Yes calling in lawyers looks good. Meanwhile sports stars have lined up to scratch their heads and say “huh?” for the No campaign, pushing the powerful “winner-may-not-win” line. And in typical style the New Statesman says AV is crap, but wants people to not think and just vote for it anyway stop the evil Tories. Glad they have the best interests of country rather than party at heart. Not much of a shift in the polls and No still well ahead with the bookies this morning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kinnock Supports “Yes to AV”
Pockets £103,000 in Fees from Electronic Voting Lobbyists

Neil Kinnock was leader of the Labour Party during the heyday of the SDP-Liberal Alliance. During that period if he had offered the olive branch of electoral reform to the third party he could well have become prime minister. He didn’t out of principle, because in those days he wanted a left-wing Labour government. So what has converted him to the complex cause of electoral reform? Guy News investigates:

£103,000 in director’s fees so far and 30,000 shares in the company poised to make millions in profits from the introduction of electronic voting… what was it exactly that first attracted Lord Kinnock to the cause of the alternative vote system?

Kinnock is a non-executive director of DRS Limited which works closely with ERS Limited, most recently on the multi-million pound deal that unsuccessfully introduced electronic voting systems in Scotland.  The multi-million pound business which is ERS Limited funnels money into the not-for-profit ERS which has so far given over a £1 million to the “Yes to AV” campaign. Guido doesn’t think it too cynical to ask why a private profiteering corporation would throw a million quid at a political campaign unless there was something in it for their shareholders. Kinnock isn’t doing it for nothing either, so far he has only pocketed £103,000 in director’s fees from the electronic voting systems profiteers. The fact is, if we get AV, Kinnock’s shares in DRS Limited will rocket up in value…

Friday, March 11, 2011

No2AV Yes2PR

Every weirdy-beardy electoral reform purist hated the thought of the “miserable compromise” of AV before they got a whiff of a referendum. Not all of them have sold out it though.

In a day of letters, perhaps the most interesting is the David Owen’s to the Guardian:

“In the light of that conclusion, based on the fundamental need for stability in constitutional reform, we will reluctantly vote no to the alternative vote, while continuing to campaign for the principles behind proportional representation under the slogan “No to AV, Yes to PR”.”

Could very well upset the Yes apple cart if this is played right.

History Boys vs Money Men

Get ready for much more of this after the budget, but this morning twenty-five historians have written to the Times to reject AV as discredited and a historically dead voting system that Britain shouldn’t embrace. Over at the Telegraph a B-list group of eleven business types argue that we must jump on the bandwagon.

A head-to-head on the Today program had the business side, in all seriousness, try the line that because we are the only country in Europe that uses first past the post we should immediately jump on the first offer of change. With the foresight of history, it was an open goal for no voice to remind the audience it was business voices clambering for the UK to join the Euro…

UPDATE: The latest betting prices are here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Election Night vs AV

There was cross-party support for the Save General Election Night campaign that was set up in September 2009 when it looked like some councils were not going to count on the same day as polling. Particularly prominent were Mark Pack of the LibDemVoice, a Yes2AV supporter and Jack Straw, who backed legislation to make sure the results came through on the night, also a supporter of AV. Pack wrote:

“The drama of election night is one of the rare occasions when a mass public audience gets interested in the details of politics and hears news and information at more than nano-soundbite length.”

Given the pious storm of self-righteousness the Yes campaign have whipped themselves into denying that counting machines would be needed if we switch to AV, perhaps they could explain how the UK would still have a General Election night if they weren’t used? When LibDems supporters of AV say “there are no plans to bring in computers” remember they said they had no plans to bring in a VAT hike etc. Under FPTP the results take long enough to count as it is, without giving the voters who backed losers a second go. Perhaps Mr Pack, and the Straws etc would care to either chose between the election night loved by millions, or AV?

Or simply concede the obvious – that expensive counting computers would be needed…

UPDATE : The Speccie have a scoop on the milllion quid donation from ERS to the “Yes to AV” campaign, ERS is funded by ERS Ltd which, errm, runs electronic voting systems. What does the ERS say about electronic voting? It is the future appparently they say because:

  • It encourages electoral participation, especially among the young, who are by far the group least likely to vote.
  • Voting online can include better links between the vote and the information on which a vote should be based, thus leading to more informed decisions.
  • By logging all votes electronically, the counting process is carried out more-or-less instantly.

So it looks like Yes to £250 million (and the rest) of electronic voting machines run by ERS Ltd…

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cowardly Clegg : AV “Nothing To Do With Me”

Nick Clegg just told the Today programme this morning that the AV referendum was “nothing to do with me”. Strange, Guido was at the Liberal Democrat Party conference where he launched the campaign for AV.

That sounded pretty cowardly and reminded Guido of one Gordon Brown, whenever trouble was around Gordon could not be found. Clegg argued for AV on the radio this morning and he is going to give one speech today, after that he is disappearing from the Yes to AV campaign. Last night his local Sheffield radio station, Hallam FM, were chairing a debate. Fellow Sheffield MP David Blunkett was tp argue the case for “No to AV” against Clegg, yet despite being invited in January, Clegg was nowhere to be seen. He is keeping out of the Yes campaign because of fears it will become a “No to Nick” referendum.

Despite the “Yes to AV” side being largely staffed by LibDem activists, funded by LibDem donors and essentially a LibDem campaign to keep them in power, Nick Clegg is keeping a low-profile. This is because the Yes side want to portray themselves as anti-politics, despite AV being the ultimate politicians fix. Under AV Clegg will be able to cut a political deal to save his skin behind closed doors with whomever gets the most votes, never mind the manifesto promises…

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Come Vote With Me

Last night’s Newsnight special hardly covered the referendum in glory, despite the best attempts of the BBC to nail their colours to their sleeve. With the headline “Majority want overhaul of voting system, poll suggests” you would have thought that it was good news for the Yes campaign, but get to the second paragraph of their story and you find: “63% of those polled said a referendum on changing the system is a waste of time and money when there are other pressing needs in the country.” Hmmm…

Jo Swinson did not help her cause last night with her strictly quite ridiculous suggestion:

On Twitter in the aftermath even her own side rejected the idea. Messy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Holds Barred

There was no love lost in the AV campaign today with No launching this morning and both sides ending up in yet another counter-productive Twitter war. Guido is looking forward to this fight becoming more than constant baiting online and the odd luvvie thrown in for good measure.

The No launch came with a push on how much AV would cost and what the money could be spent on instead. Their poster campaign seems to convey that Yes2AV want to kill babies. While perhaps a little too much hyperbole there, what was interesting was the dismissal of the notion that Yes could be considered the “anti-politics” vote. As the former TPA Director Matthew Elliot said, (from a podium very deliberately south of the river on the other side from Parliament,) where are the Yes team’s battle scars from years of fighting the establishment? They queued up to slam Clegg, with Robert Winston, who takes the Labour whip in the Lords, arguing he was not a politician.


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