Do you remember how Labour’s London campaign collapsed into chaos and confusion in 1998?

No, I don’t either. Which leaves me puzzled.

Because, you see, Labour MP and campaign coordinator Andy Burham has said that his party would not be working much for a Yes vote in the AV referendum as,

It would be a recipe for chaos and confusion if Labour candidates were also supporting AV in their literature.

Odd then that it wasn’t a recipe for chaos and confusion in London in 1998 when there was a referendum on the same day as other elections. And I’m sure that the fact that the 1998 referendum was introduced by a Labour government whilst the 2011 one was not has nothing to do with his views. I mean, that would just be churlish, wouldn’t it?

So I guess the conclusion is that Andy Burnham’s saying he’s not as good as previous Labour campaign coordinators. After all, if they managed it without chaos and confusion, why can’t he?

It’s good though to see that not everyone in Labour is taking as implausible a line as Andy Burnham and in fact some pro-electoral reform campaigners are willing to campaign for a Yes vote.

Step forward Will Straw on Left Foot Forward:

During the leadership campaign Ed Miliband … told Left Foot Forward, “I support AV for the House of Commons and will campaign for it.” Little wonder, when the system worked so well for him during his own leadership contest. Reversing this position now will look to political and constitutional reformers like rank opportunism…

There is no obvious reason why Labour can’t, in LBJ’s words, “walk and chew gum”. Why shouldn’t Labour’s candidates support AV in their literature? After all, there is no additional cost to including a line in a direct mail or leaflet that is already paid for. While the party can be excused for prioritising victory in Scotland and Wales, campaigning for AV need not be a huge drain on resources or time.

You can read Will’s full post here.

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