04 MAY 2011
By Ed West | The Telegraph Blogs
My wife said she’s going to vote Yes to AV because she feels sorry for Nick Clegg and wants to see him smiling for once, rather than mooching around blubbing just because everyone hates his guts. Perhaps the Yes campaign could have, in their desperation, gone for the pity angle; I think lots of women feel sorry for Clegg.
But in all seriousness, a far more glaring mistake was the Yes campaign’s failure to use Nigel Farage until about ten days ago.
For the past few weeks the Yes campaign have run a campaign aimed almost entirely at the soft Left, metro Labour supporters and the chippy SDP wing of the Liberal Democrats. Their campaign leaflets have asked us to vote yes because Tony Robinson, Eddie Izzard, Colin Firth, Stephen Fry and Benjamin Zephaniah will. I’ve got great respect for all these people in their chosen field, but why should I particularly care about their political views, especially as I happen to know they’re all almost identical? The No campaign has played rough, using soldiers and babies, and making some bizarre claims. But the Yes campaign have only themselves to blame for trying to appeal to such a narrow segment of society.
Lots of small-c conservatives support, or are sympathetic to, a change in the system, but the leaflets were almost perfectly designed to repulse them. This is a crazy strategy; the metro left are far from being a majority of the population, and the older, more tribal Labour voters are already in the bag for the No campaign.
So ten days ago, with the campaign already over, the No campaign finally contacted Farage and asked him to appear at a couple of debates, with almost no notice. He managed to appear at one, but he is fighting his own campaigns, with UKIP poised to make gains in Wales and Northern Ireland, where it is campaigning as a non-sectarian Unionist party, and also fighting a by-election in Leicester.
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