STOP PRESS: John Harris has finally posted his, slightly, somethingly calmed down disgust etc as LP betrayal etc. That's HERE.
LOL have just been at a very packed Labour Party fringe meeting come rally themed on Electoral Reform and hosted by Fabians, Progress, of and Compass under the banner Vote For a Change.
Basic runners and riders were John Denham MP - there to defend the government and/or party line - plus Dave Rowntree ex Blur PPC, Oona King ex MP, Billy Hayes CWU firebrand, Neal Lawson of Compass, and Mehdi Hasan in the chair. From the floor Stephen Twigg, John Harris of The Guardian, Sunder Katwala of the Fabians, some chap who claimed he was leaving Labour over the issue, and also various rather brave comrades and colleagues who were willing and able to support Gordon Brown's decision that a referendum on AV, or whatever, would not take place on election day.
There was an illusion come delusion in some quarters, personified by Neal Spart Lawson so fired up he
believed he could fly believed he could manage without a microphone. Neal suggested at one point that the huge fury and pain we could feel from him was as nothing compared to the fury and pain we would be feeling in the broad population as of tomorrow morning.
Though it's just possible that schisms over AV, AV+, STV, EMTV, and so on would in fact see the protests in every estate and 'burb in the land on this one dissipate? But do watch out for angry mobs where you live.
John Harris also made a bit of a cock of himself I thought. Yes, of course people - particularly political anoraks and our groupies - have strong views on all this. But no babies were eaten. No wars were started on anyone's asses. The planet won't burn to a crisp any quicker as a result. Tory cuts won't become less savage as First Past The Post gets a few more months without a referendum challenge.
He'll amplify and emote in writing in tomorrow morning's Guardian. Will be kinda interesting to see what he writes. So Now Who We Going To Vote For Mark Two?
It seems to me that the calculation from the government's and the party's strategists is that :
To simply: We could lose office and lose the referendum; We could lose office and win the referendum at which point the Tories who will have been jeering at the question etc etc will not be bound by it; We could win office and lose the referendum; We could win and win.
Only the last of these four and certain hung parliament scenarios which are close surrogates will do. The first option is pretty horrible. The second option may look like an opportunity but this is not the big issue these campaigners are assuming. The third option might even be the worst of the lot.
Neal Spart Lawson stated that he didn't want the person with the biggest grin on his face over this to be Dave Cameron. Seems to me that even if Gordon and Mandy and Co are persuaded to U-Turn and hold the referendum on the same day, which I doubt, the arithmetic may leave Cam and FPTP'ers of all stripes smiling anyway.
MEANWHILE: The Sun are very wrong. They have apparently endorsed the very wrong Tories with their very wrong lack of care for all but their few. As Adam Beinkov has pointed out this is in fact their Second Annual Endorsement.