Tomorrow’s Sunday Times will carry the news that Matthew Elliott, founder of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, has been headhunted to run the No-2-AV campaign.
From the beginning of October, Matt Sinclair will take over the day-to-day running of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Eliott will stand down as CEO to concentrate on the new, yet to be officially launched, campaign.
Assuming the enabling legislation passes in September the campaign will then kick off in earnest to determine the outcome of the May referendum. Pollsters and punters make the No-2-AV side the underdogs, and there was some disquiet that opponents of the Alternative Vote system didn’t seem to be getting their act together.
Elliott has the experience and ability to build a campaigning machine, he set-up the TPA in 2004 and after 5 years it become a fearsome media machine, with 55,000 supporters.
With the pro-AV campaign likely to be run out of Cowley Street, or at least by LibDem proxies, it seems wise to choose someone who is not a Conservative Party figure, not least because he will have to win Labour and union support for the campaign as well as keep some of the more ambivalent Tories onside. The aim is to assemble the strongest, broadest based campaign possible to oppose AV regardless wider of ideological differences.
Elliott took soundings before taking the job and has been assured that, despite the Coalition, Cameron will not be neutral on AV.