Monday 7 June 2010

Base motives

The response of the Lib Dems and Conservatives to any suggestion of holding the referendum on further powers for the Assembly on the same date as the Assembly elections was pretty hostile. To the point, even, of threatening not to support holding the referendum at all unless it could be guaranteed that the two dates would not clash.

The main reason given, as I recall, was that it would be impossible to organise cross-party support for reform at a time when the parties were involved in an electoral contest with each other.

It's interesting therefore that the same parties seem to be moving in the direction of holding a vote on AV on the same date as the Assembly election next year. The reason given by 'senior Lib Dems' is that that would give them the best hope of achieving a yes vote. That sounds awfully similar to the sort of base motive which they found so unacceptable a few short months ago.

In one case, getting the right result is apparently more important than keeping the campaigns separate; in the other case, the opposite applies.

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