Why does NO2AV exist? That may seem like an odd question but bear with me.
Just over a week ago, on November 5, it was exactly six months until the date of the alternative vote referendum. To mark the occasion, NO2AV put up a video on their website. What I find odd though is that, rather than setting out their reasons for opposing AV, the video simply states their opposition to the referendum taking place at all.
Aren’t NO2AV wasting their time campaigning against the referendum itself? The referendum is in the coalition agreement which commits both parties to support it. Unless both parties were to agree to scrap the referendum, which seems very unlikely, NO2AV are just distracting people from the real debate about the alternative vote.
NO2AV might say that we shouldn’t have a referendum because some polls might suggest there isn’t the support for AV so there won’t be a positive result anyway. Crucially though, if the people behind NO2AV didn’t think that the ‘yes’ campaign might be effective and change opinions about AV then NO2AV wouldn’t need to exist and campaign against AV.
The existence of NO2AV undermines their own argument that we shouldn’t have a referendum on AV because it is a voting system that “nobody really wants”. If that was really the case and couldn’t possibly be changed by a well-run ‘yes’ campaign then the NO2AV camp wouldn’t feel it necessary to be campaigning against AV.
Supporters of AV should feel strengthened by the existence of NO2AV. It shows there is a real fear amongst opponents of AV that it might not be a voting system that “nobody really wants” after all.