To me, the AV referendum is not about the voting system, it is about the politics associated with those who vote for and those who vote against AV. The Mail on Sunday today illustrate this very nicely. James Forsyth points out that the two coalition partners are on either side of the referendum, which means that one of them will lose. He says that the coalition have agreed that there has to be "a set of 'policy wins' for the loser"
But there's increasing concern that the Lib Dems' consolation prize might come at the Tories' expense. One Cameroon told me last week he worries that if the Lib Dems lose the referendum they will disown the Coalition's NHS reforms. Already, Clegg has told his MPs that he is 'taking the lead' in the Government in trying to amend these reforms, while one of his senior allies is calling these changes to the NHS 'one reform too many'. The danger for the Tories is that Clegg will claim that he’s stopped them from damaging the NHS. This charge would do huge damage to Cameron – whose reputation as a different kind of Tory is largely built around his personal commitment to the NHS – and revive the charge that the Conservatives can’t be trusted with the health service.
If ever there was a reason to vote against AV, this is it.