Yes to slightly fairer votesA normal referendum campaign has two sides, and in fact the law more or less requires them to do so, but the truth is almost always more complex. Votes on Europe integration in Ireland and elsewhere have seen No campaigns unite trade unionists with right-wing free-marketeers, for example.

Similarly, the No campaign during the 1997 Scottish Parliament referendum campaign brought the “black-hearted unionists” of the Tory party together with some anti-devo Nat fundamentalists, while the Yes campaign was backed by the mainstream of all the non-Tory parties here, superficially united but with very different objectives.

The AV referendum is going to be particularly complicated because of the consequences it has for any future moves to PR. Very few are passionate about AV, and attitudes to PR are therefore a much determining factor for positions on the AV vote. That’s not true for everyone, though, ensuring there are four main campaigns.

Yes to AV, yes to PR. For this group, AV is a stepping stone to fair votes, or at least they believe rejecting AV will hamper future PR efforts. By far the largest chunk of the #yestoav campaign falls into this category. The Lib Dem activists mostly fit here, although their MPs voted unanimously against a PR option being put. The Scottish Greens and the Green Party of England and Wales are here too. Plenty of the leftier Charter 88 end of Labour are here, and so too are UKIP for “balance”. Probably 98% of the #yestoav campaign.

Yes to AV, no to PR. These are the AV true believers, and the smallest by far of the four main campaigns. Very few prominent names are here: I count John Rentoul for the media, and Jack Straw and Peter Hain for Labour.

No to AV, no to PR. This is the overwhelming body of opposition to the vote. Here can be found the overwhelming bulk of the Tory party, plus the Labour dinosaurs like Beckett, Blunkett, Reid and Forkbender. This is the establishment position, the two-party-state-forever crowd. They think they’ve found a way to damage PR by attacking AV’s non-proportionality, implying they are somehow pro-PR. Probably 98% of the #notoav campaign.

No to AV, yes to PR. This is another small group, though bigger than the AV-but-not-PR enthusiasts. It includes a fair few Wallist Greens and indeed even the Green Party of Northern Ireland. Their arguments are that this is indeed a “miserable little compromise“, and that if it’s passed the momentum for change will dissipate – “we just had a vote on this, didn’t we”? Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan, two of the Tories’ most independent thinkers, are here too.

There are of course other campaigns, including the quixotic Bella Caledonia “spoil your ballot for independence”, possibly joined by the Cornish, and those who will vote no to give the Lib Dems a bloody nose and perhaps split the coalition. I understand all these objectives, incidentally, while disagreeing with these campaigns’ conclusions.

Those other smaller campaigns are certainly not open to persuasion on AV itself or PR, I suspect. However, I’d urge the No to AV, yes to PR crowd to look again at their unholy allies. If the referendum is lost, who will be heard? You, with your complex arguments about how this has protected future moves towards PR, or them, the Labour and Tory establishments, crowing as First Past The Post is saved forever?