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Day: March 13, 2011

‘If you want more duck houses: vote no. If you want more democracy: vote yes.’

That line from Nick Clegg in the middle of his closing speech at the Lib Dem conference in Sheffield today on the AV referendum may just have been a stroke of genius by whoever wrote it. We have seen that often a tag line can sweep a person to power, think ‘Yes we can’ and ‘It’s the economy stupid’ in recent times and with the AV vote very much in the balance then something needed to said to hang your hat on.

This is where the quote in the title comes in. I think it might be fair to say that Sir Peter Viggers £1,645 Duck House on MP’s expenses may have been the claim that resonated most with the general public. How absolutely ridiculous to claim that as an MPs expense and it hasn’t been forgotten. People might not remember who it was but they remember it happened.

So to put it in a tag line that the #YesinMay and #YestoAV can use in both the media and on the doorstep is quite possibly the best move by a speechwriter in UK politics for quite some time. The AV referendum is as much a referendum on the Lib Dems as it is the actual changing of the voting system. Labour back the plan but are keeping very quiet in case it goes wrong. This is the Lib Dems fight and one they have finally realised they need to relish and vigorously fight on.

This was arguably the key part of the coalition agreement and without it the Lib Dems may not have gone into the coalition and they have let it drift. We are only what just over seven weeks away from the AV referendum and I don’t see it being discussed anywhere, let alone either campaign really making their voices heard.

The time is now to attack and Nick Clegg and his inner-circle seem to have grasped that fact. The time is now to go out and spread the word and the pros of having more choice. The end of tactical voting. The end of ‘no go zones’ for any one party (although in all honesty many constituencies will still be very tough to win) but many more MPs will not be able to sit on their laurels. The time is now to make a change that will take the country forward from petty two-tribal politics that has been going on for the best part of a century. The time is now to embrace a new era.

And the most important thing – we have a simple piece of ammo that can really hammer home our point.

Yes to more choice and Yes to fairer politics. Yes to AV and Yes in May.

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