Saturday, 5 March 2011

No2AV no show

On Thursday there was a debate on AV at the University of Surrey which had been organised by the debating society.
We will be joined by Rebecca Palmer from the Yes2AV campaign and Cllr Chris Ward who will be arguing in favour of AV and James Fitzpatrick, Director of Groundwar for the No2AV campaign and Cllr Rowan Cole who will be arguing against a change in the electoral system.
However, the No side decided not to show up. Cllr Cole had to cancel at the last minute, which is understandable, and was replaced by Michael Vivona, President of the university Conservative society. Mr Fitzpatrick, however, simply didn't turn up. Not a word of explanation despite the debate having been planned and organised well in advance by a neutral party. Oliver Deed, who chaired the debate, informed me that there was no doubt of Mr Fitzpatrick not having been sent the right information. He had been sent all the details, including detailed instructions on how to get there. He just simply didn't show up.

As it happens the debate went well with the audience voting 18 to 2 in favour of AV so I'm not complaining. I do find it odd though that the No campaign is so disorganised that they couldn't even manage to get their 'Director of Groundwar' to a debate. Given that I myself might well be arguing for Yes in later debates, it is of some concern that the No campaign don't seem that interested in putting the arguments to the voters in a fair and balanced way. Instead, no doubt they prefer this kind of campaigning technique:

Incidentally, Michael Vivona kept on bringing up the £250 million pound myth and on each occasion it was debunked. To be fair to Michael though, he did do a very good job for someone who had had no time to prepare and was, from what I could tell, using Rowan's notes when he probably would have tried a different line of attack himself.

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