Yesterday Guy reported on the first London-wide meeting of campaigners for a "Yes" vote in the AV referendum. But what have the No camp been up to?
Last week it was announced that Matthew Elliott, the co-founder and Chief Executive of the TaxPayers Alliance, had accepted an invitation to lead the No-2-AV campaign. “The ‘Alternative Vote’ system would give people less control over the laws which govern their lives”, said Elliott in a statement released to the press. “Prescribing the wrong medicine doesn’t make patients better, it makes them worse.”
The No campaign, however, is still in embryonic form – and as yet very little is known about the scale of the organisation or the level of support they can claim. The campaign’s press officer acknowledges that they are “playing catch-up” with the Yes campaign, and says they are still in the process of “putting together a team.”
With “no grand plans yet”, No-2-AV are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the second reading of the Referendum Bill on September 6th. Pending the progress of the Bill, they will ramp up their activity, and as such say they will have “more to announce” in the coming weeks, promising an “exciting campaign.”
But despite the lack of certainty that presently surrounds No-2-AV, with Matthew Elliott at their helm they will undoubtedly step forward from the shadows as the referendum draws closer. Elliott has been an influential figure at the head of the TPA (they generated 55,000 supporters under his leadership), and has “close personal links with the [Conservative] party and with the Tory tabloids” according to the Guardian.
Elliott was chosen to lead No-2-AV by Rodney Leach, a Tory Baron and noted climate-change sceptic, who chaired both the ‘Business for Sterling’ and the ‘No Euro’ campaigns. Charlotte Vere, the unsuccessful Tory candidate in Brighton Pavillion, is the campaign's "National organiser".
“Some fights you enter to win and some you enter out of principle, whatever your chances”, Leach says. “This referendum is both a fight of principle and a fight that we must win.”
No-2-AV's website, which is currently under construction, can be found at www.no2av.org
Read more about the AV referendum in OurKingdom's Referendum Plus section.