AV Post-Mortems

May 9, 2011

A selection of interesting links on the failure of the Yes campaign:

Conservative Home’s Story of the AV Campaign

A fascinating study of how the No campaign developed over time. It confirms that Cameron’s whole-hearted support was crucial in their success, and that much of their messaging was formed by the work of Lynton Crosby, he of ‘dog whistle’ fame.

Liberal Vision’s ‘The humiliation of the Yes campaign’

A broadly correct analysis of the Yes campaign’s failings. I would like to highlight how it focuses on the way in which the campaign was run by luvvies for luvvies.

James Graham’s ‘Crawling from the Wreckage’

I am disappointed that James didn’t take the opportunity to have a proper go at the campaign, but I am somewhat heartened by his optimism that it’s not game over for supporters of electoral reform – a conclusion I would supprt.

Rupert Read’s post-mortem on LibCon

While a lot of this is typical Rupert, he does point out that one of the most egregious errors of the Yes campaign was to not do a full Freepost to everyone in the country. I have to admit, as someone who’s done these before, I smacked myself about the face a bit when I heard this. This isn’t a tactical error, it’s a colossal fucking mistake that someone should be shot for.

I’ll be putting up my own analysis sometime this week, but in the interim I’d like to highlight one particular fact. If you ran a campaign in a local borough, you weren’t allowed access to the email addresses of people from your borough who’d signed up from the main website. Emails to these people could only be sent out by the central campaign. And these emails could only go out on days on which a national email wasn’t being sent. I lost count of the number of events I couldn’t publicise because e-petition no. #3412 just had to be sent to the great British public.

This was a grassroots campaign in which grassroots campaigners weren’t allowed to talk to each other. I would attribute our success in Islington in part to my taking email addresses from volunteers so I could contact them directly, and browbeating the regional staff into sending out emails in any available slot. I would imagine this holds true for Hackney as well, who had a very well developed local communications network.


6 Responses to “AV Post-Mortems”

  1. Fran said

    I’d be interested in reading about your experience with Labour in Islington.

    In Hackney the Labour party machine seemed benignly indifferent, but Yes was significantly helped by individual Labour campaigners.

    But as Islington is home both to Asato and Thornberry, was it a good casestudy of Labour’s attitude generally?

    • declineofthelogos said

      I think it was. The ‘progressive’ elements of the party (i.e. Asato) were drowned out by the brutally tribalist sections of the Labour Party, who forbade her from campaigning on the ground. I got good support from individual Labour activists, but that’s about it. Milliband’s weakness, as you state in your post, was a key factor in our loss.

  2. Francis said

    But then, even LabourYes was an entirely tribalist affair, hardly deigning to communicate with the official campaign or its local subsidiaries.

    We had some really committed, active Labour members campaigning with Yes. But information on what Asato’s lot were doing locally never went beyond rumour. For saying we were on the same side, that lack of communication was a nightmare.

    If nothing else, the lesson I took away was that even when you agree, Labour does not play well with others.

    • Adam Bell said

      Interestingly, this doesn’t appear to have been the case for LabourNO – check out the ToryHome post for a discussion of how effective their efforts were. They were happy to work with their arch-enemies when their interests were threatened.

      I suspect it’s more a case of ‘progressives = wets = useless’.

  3. “the campaign was run by luvvies for luvvies.”

    that was pretty much my conclusion.

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