YES! To Fairer Votes

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YES! To Fairer Votes
Yestofairervotes.png
The YES! To Fairer Votes logo
Motto "Make your MP work harder"[1]
Type Political
Legal status Campaign
Purpose To change United Kingdom's voting system.
Headquarters London
Region served United Kingdom
Official language English
Leader Katie Ghose

YES! To Fairer Votes was a political campaign in the United Kingdom whose purpose was to persuade the public to vote in favour of the Alternative Vote (AV) in the referendum on Thursday, 5 May 2011. YES! To Fairer Votes was unsuccessful in changing the voting system, with only 32.1% of votes cast in favour.[2]

Structure[edit]

YES! To Fairer Votes was a non-profit making organisation established as a company limited by guarantee called Yes In May 2011 Ltd. Its board was chaired by Katie Ghose (Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society). Other members were Pam Giddy (of Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust), Neal Lawson (of Compass), Vicky Seddon (of Unlock Democracy) and John Sharkey (of the Liberal Democrats).[3]

Campaign Funding[edit]

The Guardian's analysis also showed that the YES! To Fairer Votes campaign had outspent the anti-AV campaign by £3.4m to £2.6m, with most of the funding coming from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and the Electoral Reform Society (ERS). George Osborne the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer accused the ERS of having a vested interest in a yes vote, as their commercial subsidiary Electoral Reform Services Ltd (ERSL) was printing the postal ballots for the referendum.[4] This later turned out to be false as the Press Complaints Commission ruling proved George Osborne to be incorrect. The Sun and Mail subsequently had to print retractions.

Campaign criticism[edit]

A number of post mortems of the campaign were written, all highly critical of the way the campaign was run and of its major backers failure to deal with these issues.

The Electoral Reform Society's formal post mortem on the campaign[5] led by Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde identified that "The criticisms of AV put forward by the ‘No’ campaign were far more popular and proved more effective in shaping how people eventually voted on 5 May. The ‘Yes’ campaign’s key arguments were either lost or did not resonate with people in terms of why they should vote ‘yes’."

Andy May, a key member of the Yes Campaign,[6] drew attention to a number of strategic blunders in the campaign and criticised the campaign director and senior staff. His view was corroborated by another insider account [7] by former staff member James Graham. Anthony Barnett:[8] criticised one of the major funders, the Joseph Rowntree Reform trust for lack of oversight and scrutiny of its huge donation. Criticism of the Electoral Reform Society's role was also widespread and resulted in major changes to the organisation. In the council elections in 2011 there were 52 candidates for the 15 places available. Only 4 of the previous council were re-elected with 8 of the new members having stood explicitly on a joint platform of reforming the society.

Political parties supporting YES! To Fairer Votes[edit]

The following parties support the change to AV:

The Labour Party, despite its leader's pro-AV stance, did not campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum,[17] and there were opposing Labour Yes and Labour NOtoAV campaigns.

Despite the Conservative Party's formal position against AV, party members aligned to Conservative Action for Electoral Reform, an internal party group in favour of electoral reform, did campaigning in favour.[18]

Other organisations supporting YES! To Fairer Votes[edit]

Notable individuals supporting YES! To Fairer Votes[edit]

The following people are actively supporting the campaign:

See also[edit]

  • NOtoAV, the opposing campaign group

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Campaign Resources". Yestofairervotes.org. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  2. ^ "The Electoral Commission". 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Yestofairervotes.org. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  4. ^ Curtis, Polly; Kollewe, Julia (2011-05-02). "No to AV campaign neutrality under spotlight over Tory party funding". London: The Guardian. 
  5. ^ "The AV Referendum: What went wrong?". Electoral Reform Society. 
  6. ^ "How the yes2av campaign malfunctioned behind the scenes". Liberal Conspiracy. 
  7. ^ "My Yes campaign hell". Liberator. 
  8. ^ "AV debacle waste of nearly 2m". Open Democracy. 
  9. ^ a b c d BBC News: AV referendum: Where parties stand
  10. ^ "News - Wales News - Cameron will campaign against changes to the voting system". WalesOnline. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Greens to campaign for AV". Green Party of England and Wales. 13 September 2010. 
  12. ^ YES TO AV, The Edinburgh Green Party
  13. ^ UKIP and electoral reform poll, UK Independence Party, 17 February 2011
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Supporting Organisations". Yes! to Fairer Votes. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  15. ^ NI parties divided over Alternative Vote referendum, by Mark Davenport, BBC News, 13 April 2011
  16. ^ a b "BBC News - Northern Ireland parties divided on electoral reform". Bbc.co.uk. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Conservative Action for Electoral Reform - Press Release". 14 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "Socialism is Democracy Why Labour Must Support Electoral Reform". Compass. 8 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Supporting the Case for Fairer Votes". Ekklesia.co.uk. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  20. ^ "Electoral Reform Society". Electoral-reform.org.uk. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  21. ^ "UK should vote to reform its voting". The Financial Times. 
  22. ^ "Alternative Vote: Loved by no one". London: The Guardian. 11 October 2010. 
  23. ^ A vote that makes a difference, The Independent, 9 Jan 2011
  24. ^ "Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust: Grants Awarded". Jrrt.org.uk. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  25. ^ "AV: The Only Option for 21st Century Conservatives?". ResPublica. 
  26. ^ "Take Back Parliament". Take Back Parliament. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  27. ^ "Unlock Democracy". Unlock Democracy. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h Alternative Vote backed by senior Church of England bishops, The Guardian, 1 Feb 2011
  29. ^ Campaigners against voting reform in Gove mistake, BBC News, 26 November 2010
  30. ^ a b c d Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter back AV yes campaign, by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 15 February 2011
  31. ^ "Labour Ex-Ministers To Fight Voting Reform". News.sky.com. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  32. ^ a b AV race in religion row, politics.co.uk, 1 Feb 2011
  33. ^ Coogan backs Yes to AV - Aha!, PoliticsHome, 12 April 2011
  34. ^ a b "Blue State Digital". Yestofairervotes.org. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  35. ^ "Blue State Digital". Yestofairervotes.org. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  36. ^ "Eddie Izzard is saying YES!". Isupportav.co.uk. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  37. ^ AV will guarantee David Cameron or Nick Clegg is a loser, by Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror, 19 February 2011
  38. ^ a b "Blue State Digital". Yestofairervotes.org. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  39. ^ David Schneider supports the Alternative Vote, BBC News, 8 April 2011
  40. ^ To kick Clegg may be tempting, but winning AV is essential, by Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, 14 March 2011