Miscounting a Royal Preference

November 24, 2010

Benedict Brogan of the Telegraph is convinced that the date of the Royal wedding is a gift to the AV campaign. Quite apart from the pathetic tabloidism inherent in trying to force any story at all through the prism of the forthcoming monarchical nuptials, this is so obviously stupid I find it difficult to believe that Mr Brogan is allowed to write in a grown-up newspaper.

The thing that will decide the AV referendum next year will be turnout. A low turnout means that we’re more likely to win, a high turnout means we’re more likely to lose. This is because people are much more likely to turn out to vote on AV alone if they understand the issues involved, and if they understand the issues involved, they’re much more likely to vote Yes. Much as I respect the effort put into the AV campaign, we are never going to have the opportunity to fully explain the workings of AV to a majority of the population in time for the election. Our best chance of success is if those who simply don’t know enough about the issue to be fully engaged stay at home – and a Royal Wedding makes it much more likely that this will happen. This is also why it’s been said that the higher turnout that will be a consequence of holding the referendum on the same day as local elections and elections to the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament is bad news for the Yes campaign. It doesn’t work both ways – either a high turnout is good for us, or a low turnout is.


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