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Friday 25 February 2011

Alternative Vote, Same Old Choir

Sometimes the choir is so well coordinated that it makes one wonder if the response is really spontaneous. Yesterday, the right leaning part of the blogosphere all came running at once, and by sheer coincidence on exactly the same subject, as if to show that spontaneity is not the name of the game.

Well, not when there is more than a little desperation in the air: the campaign to persuade the electorate of the merits of moving Parliamentary elections to the Alternative Vote (AV) system is gathering momentum, and for the No side, is not developing necessarily to their advantage.

So the appearance of a claimed exclusive on the SpectatorCoffee House” blog, under the by-line of Ed Howker, asserting that the Yes campaign was concealing the source of donations, and alleging a conflict of interest by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), was music to the ears of many. Iain Dale, a compliant and reliable conduit for Tory propaganda, made it Number One on hisDaley Dozen” blog recommendations.

He was joined in the chorus of approval by Mark Wallace, former stalwart of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), which has seconded Matthew “Gromit” Elliott to the No campaign. The enthusiastic chorus was joined by Phil Hendren, who blogs under the alias of “Dizzy Thinks”, a misnomer as he is not called Dizzy, and frequently shows little evidence of thinking before posting. Dear Tim Montgomerie at ConHome was also a happy chap, even though Young Dave is still not listening to him.

Rounding off the right leaning chorus of approval for Howker was Paul Staines, who blogs under the alias of Guido Fawkes. The general tenor of those blogs passing comment was that this proved the Yes campaign were the most crooked and deceitful of the two: Hendren was particularly scathing, although his analysis did little more than copy large chunks of Howker’s article, then adding “me too”.

But this is old news: the assembled hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre ran it last Saturday. Howker’s “exclusive” is nothing of the sort: moreover, the Yes campaign website tells visitors who is backing it (the ERS is shown, along with a link to its own site), while the No campaign does not. This latter should surprise no-one familiar with the hypocritical stance of the TPA.

And the No campaign did not fare well in a C4 FactCheck piece today, which concluded “No to AV needs to keep the fight for voters clean”.

So why the uncritical chorus of approval to a story that is doing little more than recycling a five day old article from the Daily Mail? The reasons for that are not unlike those for the Guardian bashing previously noted. More on both soon.

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