Andrea Pappin: This was a preferendum, rather than a normal referendum
USUALLY in these kinds of votes – EU or other constitutional changes – there is a similar choice. You vote No if you’d like to keep the status quo and you vote Yes if you’d like to bring in the change. Now over the years, No campaigners, usually around EU votes, added a new and very powerful element to choosing No which even had its own handy catchphrase – if you don’t know, vote No.
So a No meant you didn’t get it or you didn’t like it, and a Yes meant bring in the change there, Mr Government.
This Fiscal Treaty vote was a change to this well-worn referendum approach. Both voting Yes and voting No had serious consequences, which had much more of an impact on the No campaign and their approach. No longer was a vote for them a vote for the world just as it was – as to actively choose No meant you were proactively selecting a different course for the country.