By Elliot Adams
With the AV referendum so close, I was hoping the Yes and No campaigns would actually start to treat the voting public like adults. Alas no joy. Both camps, who have adopted absurd textmessage-styled monikers like a 11-year-old girl’s AOL screename, reduced the debate to soundbites of course – for example, the No2AV camp are still endlessly reminding us that Clegg called AV a ‘miserable little compromise’, back when he considered that an insult and not his career choice. But this is sadly typical for referendums, where campaigners have truly gone above and beyond the call of idiocy is in their ludicrously deceptive scaremonging.
Both camps have been pathetically scrabbling for the right to use all the best hate figures, like they’re picking schoolyard teams for a game of assholeball. Team No2AV picked Nick Griffin first, claiming every vote for AV benefits the BNP. But Yes2AV also tried to nab Griffin for their team, arguing that what the BNP truly want – aside from a good slap – is a system of AV voting. Interestingly, theoreticians who subscribe to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Assholery theorise that this will leave Nick Griffin entangled in a quantum state where he is simultaneously pleased and disappointed, no matter how people vote – schrodinger’s twat.
This is a referendum on the methodology of accurately applying the mandate of the body politic to its representatives, it is not about how best to ward off the Bogeyman, Nick Griffin or Ming the fucking Merciless.
Both sides seem to have shown astounding contempt for the public’s intelligence. The No2AV camp, ran adverts balancing the alleged cost of changing our electoral system against the option of having policemen or bulletproof vests for soldiers, as if that was the choice anyone was offering here.
Then there were a slew of poorly thought out sporting metaphors, because clearly the proles can’t understand electoral reform unless it’s put in the context of ball games or hitting each other. Conservative campaigners have run a billboard showing two boxers, one of whom is lying defeated on the floor – but the referee has claimed him as the victor, because ‘Under AV the loser can win’. It’s been a while since I’ve bothered watching the boxing, but I seem to remember boxing matches only involving two fighters. I must be forgetfully getting the details of pugilism wrong though, because otherwise it wouldn’t work as a metaphor for AV at all would it? Cricketers, footballers and the grand national made an appearance to tell us how AV would be like cheating in that particular sport – by extension of course that means it’d be cheating in elections too because all sports are essentially identical to voting, with their winning and losing and suchlike.
The most absurdly emotive and reductive argument though was from the Yes2AV camp. This occurred with the release of a video starring a frail-looking world war II veteran. Accompanied by soulfull piano music, he explains how he fought the Nazis for democracy and yet our current evil and dastardly electoral system has ‘confiscated’ his vote in every election since. It is claimed he ‘might as well have died … on the D-Day beaches.’ Not voting for AV basically means people shouldn’t have bothered trying so hard to win World War II.
The Yes2AV camp is relying solely on a narrative of irrelevancies and terrifying unlikely potential outcomes that are completely irrelevant to AV. While the No2AV camp have used equally ridiculous claims and scare mongering, apparently motivated by the belied that we are too stupid to understand AV – ie. too stupid to understand the notion of marking a piece of paper with numbers instead of a single ‘X’.
At the end of it all, no matter which way you vote in the referendum none of these politically useful bogeymen like Nick Griffin are going to suddenly find themselves in power. So un-baton the hatches, unlock your daughters, and throw away those last few bullets you were saving for you and the children – though you should still probably vote No2AV because I heard Ming the Merciless was voting yes.