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Holyrood: How to Win a referendum by Quintin Oliver11 March 2012
Quintin Oliver discusses the top 10 steps to referendum success in the award winning Holyrood magazine.
Ten steps to referendum success
Leaving aside the politics of the upcoming referendum for a moment, however hard that is, let me explore the ten iron laws of referendum campaigning:
1 Referendums are not elections
They encapsulate issues and ideas in theory, rather than people and personalities; that is why political parties find them so hard – because parties are irrevocably wedded by endless experience of promoting candidates to viewing them through that prism. It also explains why opponents are usually keen to pin a personality who isn’t so popular to the rival cause. That’s why the No2AV campaign targeted the flagging Nick Clegg last year and it’s why, this time round, the SNP is perhaps so keen to associate Cameron with the No voice, offering ‘to pay his bus fare’ to have his opinions promoted in Scotland, where they hope he carries less – or negative – weight.
2 Framing the debate
First mover advantage often goes to those who ‘frame’ the discourse most coherently, at an early stage; in Cyprus in 2004...
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