Thursday, April 07, 2011
Was an ambush the intention?
It's four weeks exactly until the referendum on the voting system. Treasurer of the Sutton & Croydon "Yes to Fairer Votes" Campaign, Gordon Ross, has been working hard to get the 'Yes' campaign's message out there. Gordon is also Membership Secretary of our local Green Party, and in 2010 he was our candidate for Croydon South.
So, it was Gordon whom I contacted when I received an email from the 'No' campaign asking if I would speak on behalf of the 'Yes' campaign at a meeting at Ruskin House. I was quite surprised to receive such an email given that a) there is an official 'YES' group, and b) I haven't really been active in the 'YES' campaign (NB. I'll be voting YES).
I contacted the committee of our local 'YES' group and asked if they knew about the meeting? After a couple of phone calls, I realised that the meeting was organised by the 'NO' campaign themselves. It seems the terms and format of any public debates on the referendum have not been agreed, nonetheless the 'NO' campaign has gone ahead and organised meetings which haven't been sanctioned by the 'YES' campaign.
As it turned out, I was unable to attend the meeting. The report in the Croydon Advertiser, who incidentally chaired the debate, says that Croydon North MP, Malcolm Wicks was also asked to speak for AV but "declined" the invitation. Its a bit cheeky for the 'NO' campaign to circumvent the local 'YES' campaign and set up a debate anyway. Why not simply have a 'NO' campaign rally? Or was the intention to secure an unsuspecting pro AV speaker to be set up for an ambush?? I ask this because initially I was not told that Margaret Beckett, President of the 'NO' Campaign, was going to be in attendance. I was only told that Gavin Barwell MP would be speaking in favour of First Past The Post. I use the words speaking in favour of First Past The Post loosely because their Advertising campaign has not presented any arguments in favour: "SHE NEEDS A NEW MATERNITY UNIT NOT AN ALTERNATIVE VOTING SYSTEM" and "HE NEEDS BULLETPROOF VESTS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE VOTING SYSTEM". Charlie Brooker cleverly highlighted the absurdity in this advertising campaign on 10 O'Clock Live: by the same token, the soldier must fight the baby for the bulletproof vests as well.
Come to think of it, it is entirely probable that a group that uses such imagery to present an argument would look to set up an ambush.
Tags croydon, greenparty