Sunday, 13 February 2011


It was hardly a surprise that the Guardian came out for the alternative vote on Friday
The alternative vote is only a small and, arguably, imperfect advance … but it is also a development of huge political significance that is indispensable if the creaking and tainted system of Westminster politics is to be reinvigorated. It offers the chance of change to voters who are crying out for it…
– it has made pretty much the same point before (just as unconvincingly) several times over the past few months.

Rather more surprising was the way it reported the latest on the referendum campaign. On one hand, its second story on its front page was the pro-AV campaign’s frankly asinine attempt to portray the referendum as somehow connected to the royal wedding:
"We will put all the arguments, but around the wedding it will be a coming-into-summer, more optimistic, more of a yes mood," a campaign source said.
You what?

On the other hand, on the inside spread devoted to the campaign it repeated just about every bit of hype the “yes” campaign has been trying to spread about itself while portraying the opponents of AV as old-fashioned, reactionary stick-in-the-mud squares.

Thus the “yes” campaign’s operation was described as
“’Anarcho syndicalist’ – it is fissiparous and proud that, just as it has few politicians as its public faces, it has 17 regional offices, 50 phone banks and 150,000-odd activists, it says, and will be closer to the electorate than the establishment. It is thought to have around £2m in funds which has enabled it to hire digital campaigning experts … and a marketing agency.”

By contrast, the “no” campaign was portrayed as
“based in London with a core team of 20 full-time staff and then more regional organisers … They are not as resourced as the yes campaign , nor will they have so many celebrities, and you can expect green campaigners to focus on their chair, Rodney Leach, who … is a climate change sceptic.”

OK, this tosh was only in the sidebar to the main piece (and doesn’t appear to be online) – but surely the Guardian can do better than this?

1 comment:

  1. I loved the pix used to illustrate the piece. In the 'good' corner, heroes such as Eddie Izzard. In the frumpy grumpy 'bad' corner, Cameron et al. As if we belong there! Harrumph!


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