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It's bright young things v. the angry farmers.

Byline: matt withers

"HOW'S that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?," Sarah Palin famously mocked Barack Obama as he found governing tougher than campaigning.

President Obama's 2008 election campaign made much of repeated abstract nouns: Hope. Change. Ambition.

It may have backfired slightly once he took to office, but it certainly inspired a whole generations of young Americans to the ballot box.

And it's to that campaign that those chasing a Yes vote in March's referendum on the National Assembly's lawmaking powers look.

There's much in common. Carwyn Jones has taken to dressing down - perhaps not quite to Rhodri Morgan levels, but ditching the suit. The campaign is surrounded by bright young things. Its first meeting after its official launch was soundtracked by rock music.

In contrast, it makes the No campaign look like, well, a bunch of angry old farmers from Gwent.

The Yes campaign features smiling young people in snazzy T-shirts clutching balloons.

The No campaign, in the form of True Wales, puts up leading member Len Gibbs to go on the radio to bafflingly try to burnish their Welsh credentials by saying he went to the same school as Richard Burton.

The Yes campaign can field all four leading party members to stand alongside each other and make a crossparty argument. The No campaign last week found itself needing the voice of the fringe UK Independence Party to make is voice heard.

The No campaign's problem is not only that it is too quiet - far, far too quiet - but that the nature of these votes is that negative campaigns are inevitably less attractive than positive ones.

"Let's keep things as they are," isn't a sexy rallying cry, especially when it's being delivered by what looks and sounds like a rump mob of Abergavenny landowners.

Obama may have found that hopey-changey thing an albatross once he took power, but it won him a vote. John McCain took the negative route and got tonked.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 9, 2011

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