My friend Cory nurses his post-election hangover and analyses in painstaking detail why Britain’s best chance for electoral reform was crushed 61-39% in the referendum. I strongly advise my British and Anglophile followers to read this.
My two cents: the Yes to AV campaign pretty much exemplified everything that frustrates me about liberalism. Insinuating that people who oppose what you believe in do so because they’re morally degenerate, not because they have principled and reasonable objections is not only exceedingly arrogant and insulting, it leads to a dangerous obtuseness where you believe that you are so obviously right, people can’t possibly disagree with you and will support you. Not the case, as we found out. And as someone with conservative parents who gave good, logical reasons for voting against it, I got very, very sick of my ideological teammates implying that there was something wrong with them.
The biggest mistake of all, of course, was bringing a knife to a gunfight. Yes 2 AV was effectively doomed from the start because it chose to deploy celebrities and ragtag groups against skilled, ruthless and experienced political operatives. A greater mismatch there has not been since the Light Brigade charged the Russian cannons in Crimea. What certainly didn’t help was the spectacle of Simon Hughes and Chris Huhne calling their coalition partners liars and raging in public, revealing once again the depth of the Lib Dems’ political naivety. While the Tories were certainly guilty of fearmongering and spreading lies about the AV system, they did so subtly, so that when the Lib Dems’ went on the very public warpath, they came across as unreasonable and bitter, which can only have helped harden attitudes against AV.
So, while might does not make right, right certainly needs some might, or least some brains behind it to triumph.