It isn't often I feel the need to come to support a Tory, or a UKIP supporter for that matter...however the nasty campaign of the No camp rolls on unchecked.
Not content with lying to us about the cost of a system (while failing to provide the context of how small that cost is in the scheme of things as well), with trying to drag the debate in to short-sighted and partisan Clegg bashing, squatting on domains that should belong to the Yes camp (see yes2av.org), censoring comments that try to correct mistakes (or lies, as I think they can be more accurately described) and trying to emotionally blackmail us with scenes of sick babies that I guess they'd have you believe you were voting to kill by voting Yes in May; they also feel the need to try character assassination wherever possible in a feeble effort to create ammunition against the Yes campaign.
It's a text book old politics nasty campaign. It shouldn't really be a surprise either given that one of their main people is Charlotte Vere, who tried to smear her way (unsuccessfully) in to winning a seat in Parliament against the Greens. It also isn't short of hypocrisy that the head of the whole No campaign will use these tactics, of trying to tell us this money could be better spent on hospitals, after his organisation (The Taxpayers' Alliance) have spent so long trying to lobby for cutting spending on public services across the board!
But I digress, you probably already know everything you need to know about the types of characters that are organising and running the No campaign, you probably already understand it's not a recipe for a fair and honest debate.
And so earlier this week Paul Perrin made a comment that had several No commentators up in arms with their nowtrage. His comment was this:
"Ballot paper for the middle east: 1) Nuke Jews 2) Nuke Arabs 3) Negotiate --- what will it be FPTP/#No2AV or #Yes2AV"
Now I don't think there is any reasonable way you can get angry or upset about this tweet. It's poor taste perhaps, but satire tends to fly quite close to that area, that negotiation is the sensible compromise as opposed to the extremist wishes of a popular few.
@larasmallman on the other hand is either overly sensitive, or one of those gibbering idiots, as she claimed that this was "racism" and then proceeded to try and get the Yes campaign to disown him, even though he has never worked for the Yes campaign. Cue the typical action of a No campaigner to then not admit she's being stupid, but to instead downgrade her presumptions demands, this time to requiring an apology just for her...though not after trying to claim that Take Back Parliament, a pre-Yes campaign movement, publishing one of Pauls posts from his own blog is proof Paul has worked for the Yes campaign.
...Give me strength....
Thankfully Paul, with all the traits of a UKIP supporter, told her extremely kindly (or not) where to go, and much Kudos for that.
But here we are now with an article in tomorrows Guardian, and the same nowtrage flowing on Twitter, about John Strafford the head of the Tory "Yes" campaign.
Yes, I know, sounds crazy that there are Tories that are actually pro-reform, let's leave jokes about oxymorons at the door.
John, it seems, has said three "controversial" things over a period of time that appears to span 9 years. 1st, a comment in 2002 about how people would react to having gay MPs in the Tory party. 2nd a comment in 2004 about female presenters of Radio 4's Today program and finally a comment in 2006 about Israeli's bombing the hell out of Lebanon.
"In welcoming 'gays' into the party we should not ignore our existing members. Many of them will be offended, not because they are Conservative but because they are of an age that were brought up to believe that homosexuals were 'poofters'. They reflect the population at large of a similar age. We should show some understanding."
Repugnant? Hardly, it's essentially the same argument we're talking about right now with BNP supporters. "Let's be real and understand that BNP voters will be offended by immigration, and we should try to understand that"
It's not accepting their anti-gay views are acceptable, what it is saying is that these people have grown up with a prejudice their whole life. We can just try to tell them to flip their entire beliefs upside down over night, or we could try to work with them to adapt. Repugnant, please...
"I was half waiting for a male voice which would tell me that a serious interview was about to be conducted. Does this make me a male chauvinist pig?"
Talking about how he had Radio 4 on and only realised at the end of the Today show that he hadn't been listening. Is it sexist to claim that a male voice signified something to listen to? Absolutely. Is it evidence that John Strafford is a sexist, male chauvinist pig? Hardly. I won't condone his views here if he is trying to claim only a male voice would keep him interested, but if he truly feels that female presenters lack the gravitas to make him keep his attention then that's also not something to get too fussed about.
"Once again we have seen the shock and awe tactics of the naziraelis. How long can this go on? 500 dead, one million refugees in Lebanon. It could all have been prevented if the United States had said STOP, but they didn't. The people of the world demand an unconditional immediate ceasefire on both sides, but the bullies ignore it. The Naziraeli tanks have rolled into Lebanon. They should withdraw."
I guess what might be repugnant here is that a bunch of Tories in the No campaign can't understand why another Tory might try to describe the Israeli forces as unreasonable (and align them with the term "Nazi") in 2006. I don't think someone stating his mind that the indiscriminate and deadly tactics of the Israeli army and political rulers is not acceptable can be called repugnant. Even allying them with the "nazi" moniker, while in bad taste for sure, isn't really out of context given the sheer nature of how Israel were operating as a military force.
We'll no doubt see more of this as time goes on, we've already had to endure out of context quotes about how AV is bad compared to PR, but stated as if it's compared to FPTP, and now we'll have to endure the smears and slurs on people's character where there is the slightest hint of controversy.
It is just a shame that rather than actually be able to put forward a coherent argument about why we should keep FPTP, the No campaign as only scare tactics and nasty smears to offer.