So it's been another fun (your mileage may very) week for AV discussions.
Starting off last Saturday, the 5th of March, Bristol had it's debate on AV. From this we learned that Chris Skidmore, a Tory MP, is willing to throw his party leader under the bus if it means winning a relatively minor point in a discussion...inferring that perhaps Cameron shouldn't have won his leadership of the Tory party given he didn't get the most number of first preferences in the first round.
All in all we learned from the whole debate that Chris Skidmore is woefully under-prepared to deal with the issue of discussing AV; a man that clearly relies on people to be completely uninformed so that his deceptions pass by as if fact.
We also learned that unfortunately the markets have moved towards the No vote winning, as well as polling, which suggests that unfortunately the No tactic of lying to the electorate (the Big Lie tactic as some have described it might have worked through the last month.
We also learned that the Tories would rather stop voting reform than concentrate on local elections. So little is their care for the public that they're cutting services for left right and center, they are abandoning even trying to make the case for their localism! David Cameron intends to personally take more of a visible role in the campaign and the party itself is throwing more resources behind it.
We still don't know who is funding the No campaign and by how much though.
We learned that historians don't know their history, as a bunch of right wing history "buffs" sign a letter crafted by (wait for it) Chris Skidmore claiming a bunch of facts that are actually historically incorrect.
We learned that some people still believe that a vote for No will have a better chance at delivering PR, after all the Murdoch owned press start a party to celebrate FPTP, and half the Labour party and most of the Tory party go on record to talk about it being an endorsement of our "traditional and time honoured system", and in an environment where the two main parties STILL don't want to move to a PR system.
More than that though we learned the main person pushing for it actually just wants to keep FPTP for the House of Commons anyway, so is hardly the right person to rely on to push PR at any point.
We learned that No supporters will use emotional blackmail at the drop of a hat (as if the "AV will kill babies" adverts didn't show this), as Cllr Terry Paul condescendingly asks Operation Black Vote why they're saying Yes. The dummies, don't they know it'll let the BNP in? That's right, vote yes and it'll be YOUR fault that racists get some power.
However we also learned that maybe the No campaign is cross party (or at least equal opportunity backstabbers) as they layed in to Tory Yes lead, John Strafford, and tried to score cheap political smug points by getting the Yes campaign to disown him. How did they do this? They scoured the internet for *anything* they could find from the man to try and pin his balls to the wall, and found three fairly innocuous personal opinions that they then quoted out of context.
Don't give up your day jobs, chaps.
PS. I personally spent a good amount of time researching Australian Election history, and found no proof whatsoever that preferential voting caused a drop in turnout as those against AV claim. Worthwhile learning perhaps!