Tonight in the Commons, Labour MPs have an opportunity to show disaffected Lib Dems that there is an alternative to Clegg.
Well, that’s the short tactical argument for voting for Lords Reform, of course there is a longer, much more principled set of reasons, to whit:
Ever since its foundation, the Labour Movement, of which The Labour Party is an intrinsic part (whatever Progress or Bob Crow say), has fought against entrenched power and privilege. Go back as far as the Putney Debates of the seventeenth century if you like, you will always find slim red thread through radical, socialist and trades union positions on the issue of state-controlled preferment.
True enough, New Labour at best fudged this, and with its leading protagonists and cheerleaders spending so much effort cosying up to Oligarchs and shysters, we nearly lost any opportunity to win democratic change.
Once before in this Parliament, over voting reform, we have seen the very worst example of parliamentary conservatism and narrow partisanship triumph over common sense and a move towards justice. We must not let it happen again.
By supporting the call for reform, Ed Miliband is staying true to the words and spirit of his first speech as Leader, and being true to the spirit of the pioneers who founded the Labour Representation Committee over a century ago.
Re-read your Thomas Paine, I promise you you will find no argument justifying a second chamber composed of placemen, high-born, or failed politicians (and of course Baroness Warsi).
Lord Puttnam and Bragg are no doubt wonderful, intelligent men, yet I hardly think that this trumps popular sovereignty. And they can always lunch at The Garrick and Groucho clubs instead. To paraphrase Bagehot, intellectual support for The House of Lords rarely survives first contact with the actual institution.
To side with the right of the Tory Party for the sake of causing the coalition one more embarrassment is both short sighted and petty. After all, we have yet to exhaust Osbornes’ Budget.
As a Party, we must be positioning ourselves as the reasonable alternative to the Coalition, which means finding common ground with Lib Dems, and Greens on issues such as democratic reform where we can. By doing this, we make Nick Cleggs job much harder at the next election.
On News International, & on Banking, the Labour Front Bench have scored two goals against Cameron and Clegg. Now lets make it a hat trick.
Let the Tories play games against each other on this one.