Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Politics of the Gutter - Or #No2AV This is Your Campaign

For many weeks now I've been getting angrier and angrier with George Osborne and David Cameron's actions and word in the AV referendum .

Before March 16th when we had the deal that would to the referendum we have spend the last 15 hours voting on David Cameron was insistent that he like Nick Clegg were not going to be heavily involved in the front line of the debate themselves, but would get on with leading the Government in this very trying time. All seemed to be sweetness and light if in different corners on the substance of the debate.

But the No campaign then went into personality attacks on the leader of the junior partner in the coalition government. David Cameron had made a promise to Nick Clegg that it would be a reasoned argument on his part, but Cameron and Osborne quickly joined in on the mudslinging at the man they have to work with in Government rather than arguing the merits or otherwise of the two systems that were on offer.

The worse thing was that they joined in with the lies that the No campaign were spurting out. There were questions in the House to try and get the truth to be acknowledged. As nobody can accuse another Member of the House of being a liar this had to be done through the formality of asking questions. Of course I and many others were shouting lying at the TV screen at any point that the lies were being re-iterated, any time that a loaded question from Conservative or Labour No MPs were asked in PMQs, especially the Labour ones as they wasted a chance to hold the government to account.

Cameron has actually taken liberties with the actuality in the House by stating some of the downright lies that have been part of the No Campaign's strategy. Two months ago they were trailing in the polls. So they started, as they had already been doing but with people like the PM in the starting line up now, to get these lies out. The problem is when the PM tells a lie it takes a long time to counter it.

The PM says there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq many people believe him.

The PM says that there will have to be voting machines to count an AV count many people believe him.

The PM says his Deputy once said the words miserable little compromise, solely about AV, not the lateness of the offer, or whom it was aimed at, or the desperation of the outgoing previous PM to cling to power and of course it was a miserable compromise it came 12.95 years into a 13 year term of power.

But to stand by posters that attack a member of your cabinet. To stand by an referendum broadcast that talks about broken promises (aimed squarely at one party in coalition) instead of what actually as you said last year of coming together for the common good of the country, both putting things on the shelf. This is shoddy politics from the man who claims he has a good working relationship.

If I had been elected last year I do not know how I could have sat on the same benches as some of Conservatives who were repeating this bile. I may very well have crossed the chamber to sit as an non-Coalition Liberal Democrat, giving my friend Alistair Carmichael a headache in how to discipline me. Maybe it has been because for the last six months I have been living, breathing and making decisions for the Yes Campaign rather than politics as a whole that I feel this way that some colleagues in Westminster haven't got to the stage Chris Huhne allegedly did in cabinet on Tuesday.

Whatever happens tomorrow I know that we have faced the dirtiest opponent in my entire political career. That is probably because most of my other opponents know they will have to go to the polls again within 5 years. The No campaign don't have that constraint on them, they only had to win once, they only had to stop a change. They didn't offer anything positive, some of what they tried to offer was better reform.

If they have won what they have done is kill any hope of electoral reform before I reach the age of retirement maybe even before I reach 100 (and that is two generations away).

Note I told you I'd let rip, bet you didn't guess this early.

1 comment:

  1. And the moral of this story is....

    Never trust the Tories!