How to win the referendum on voting reform
The campaign in favour of the alternative vote is looking for ideas to promote the campaign and persuade people to vote for voting reform in the referendum next May.
Their current message is to call for 'fair votes' to change the 'broken system' and elect a Parliament that really represents us. Similarly, opponents of reform are trying to tap into the same anti-politics mood by claiming that voting to change the electoral system will mean that the government is decided by dodgy backroom deals between politicians, rather than in democratic elections, that it is a waste of money to be fiddling around with the voting system, and that you will have to pay more taxes. They will also note the fact that it will give more power to Nick Clegg.
I don't think electoral reformers can win a campaign where both sides compete in doing anti-politics campaigning and trying to appeal to voters who hate politicians, but where the No campaign has lots more money and media support to get their message out and the Yes campaign is led by Nick Clegg. The Yes campaign also has a problem that there is a mismatch between what it says the problem is (out of touch politicians, a broken Parliament, the need for fair votes) and their proposed solution (let people write 1, 2, 3 on their ballot paper rather than put a cross by their preferred candidate).
Instead, I think that the main argument of the Yes campaign should be that the Tories want people to vote No to electoral reform, and therefore you hate the Tories or have been affected by any of their cuts, then you should vote Yes. It shouldn't be hard to come up with a poster campaign and other communications to support this simple and effective message.
Approximately 80% of people in Scotland and Wales hate the Tories, and people in these areas will be going along to vote for their parliamentary elections on the same day, so if you can get them to put a vote in for electoral reform while they are at the polling station for their main business, plus people in other parts of the country who hate the Tories, plus people who are really passionate about changing the voting system, you get a coalition of support which probably outnumbers people in places like Surrey who go along to vote No because they read in the Daily Telegraph that the alternative vote is part of the plan to make Britain part of a European Super State.
I appreciate that it would be difficult for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems to front a campaign which is built around slagging off their new Tory chums, but I regard this as a positive feature of the campaign strategy, not a problem.