What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Yes to Fairer Votes”

An Open Letter To Honest Opponents.

In the past few months I have met many Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters in the blogosphere, and in the main, I have found them to be courteous and respectful of other opinons. Obviously I avoid blowhards like the plague, and with Lady P at my side I know better than to simply be rude for the hell of it (however much fun it would be).

I have also noticed that supporters and members of both parties are disgruntled to say the least with certain aspects of the Coalitions policies. In politics, it never does to attribute uniform beliefs to your enemies. In this spirit I ask my Liberal Democrat colleagues in the Yes To Fairer Votes Campaign, and Conservatives of a truly One Nation frame of mind to read on and ponder…

Is it honestly true to your principles to restrict the British people’s access to their land? To sell off ancient forests held in common, for the benefit of all?

Is it wise to fillet our Defences, as this administration is doing?

Is it just to erode the living standards of agricultural workers by abolishing their independent wages council?

Is it wise to allow one multinational company unheard of control over the media?

What patriotic Government allows such levels of tax evasion by the wealthy and large British corporations?

Is it good Conservatism, or Liberalism to erode our access to, and connection with Parliament, by destroying long cherished geographical boundaries and regional loyalties?

Is it fair play to instigate campaigning by smear and inference, as in the London Mayoral campaign?

Do you really believe that the upheaval this Government is instigating is in the true benefit of the NHS?

Does it really make sense to further atomise our national Education system, potentially excluding the talented poor for a generation?

Is it not simply politically motivated spite to add further needless anti-Trades Union legislation to the toughest Trades Union laws in Europe? Is this not something Disraeli would have baulked at?

How wise and patriotic can it be to seriously harm Britain’s universally respected voice to the World – The BBC World Service? Is it responsible? Is it truly what you want?

Are you entirely comfortable with a Government that is enacting legislation that was in neither of your parties’ manifestos, nor written into The Coalition Agreement?

I realise that we will not agree on everything, that is the nature of politics. But I also see that many of you oppose some, if not all of the measures listed above. I hope that we can all work together to help ameliorate the flood of ill-written, ill thought out legislation we see coming out of westminster and Whitehall.

For our nations’ sake I know that we will be able to work together at times…

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Lords and Reform

It comes to something when those who believe in Liberty and Democracy have to rely on a bunch of unelected grandees…

The Reform Bill is being rushed through the House of Lords, after being guillotined through The Commons in a debated that lasted for only eight days. thats eight days for the “most important constitutional reform since 1832” as Nick Clegg has called it. Government Mps are muttering – how dare these Lords obstruct this Bill? Labour Lords are patiently re-iterating that they are not holding up the first half of the Bill, which deals with holding a Referendum on voting reform, but that they have legitimate opposition to the second part, which will abolish 50 Constituencies, and enlarge the remaining 600.

The Lords have a point, and it is a vital one. For the record, I am a member of the Yes campaign, and support electoral reform as a much needed step towards a more Democratic country, yet I will continue to voice my doubts about this Bill, which includes one of the most naked attempts at Gerrymandering since Westminster Council in the 1980s.

I simply cannot see what is so “progressive” about making our elected politicians yet more distant at a stroke. Neither do I accept that cost is a factor – since when did economy trump Liberty? Honourable Conservatives should have placed themselves at the forefront of a campaign to preserve traditional geographical boundaries, moderated by the Boundary Commission, which has a long record of neutrality. They did nothing of the sort, instead along with Lib Dems, they dutifully trooped through the aye lobby, no doubt hoping that Labour will be the main losers.

And the people? Well yet again , this is another law that no-one voted for. Along with Tuition fees, NHS “reform”, and pretty much every bit of legislation this bunch of well-off Oxbridge types have agreed upon.

Once The Coalition have forced this nonsense through Parliament, it is very tempting to vote “No” in the referendum, if only to upset Liberal Democrats. This would be wrong in many ways, not least that when this badly-drawn-Bill goes through unamended, as it will, the only way to ameliorate the loss of seats would be to pass AV, which may very possibly work against The Conservatives.

The Lords are an anti-democratic force at the heart of British politics, and I readily call for their replacement with an elected second chamber. However, for once, they are doing the right thing…

http://www.yestofairervotes.com

 

Voting Reform – The “Big Guns” come out against…

So, as of this morning, we know exactly who we are up against. In some cases, this is a shame – I think Margaret Beckett simply wrong-headed on this, others, such as William Hague are no surprise. Sad to see Ken Clarke making a serious mistake, but no matter.

The headlines will no doubt be full of the big hitters, and pointing out the high profile Labour people involved…

To Prescott, Beckett, Nick Cohen and the others who no doubt sincerely believe that they are doing the right thing, I can only say “ARE YOU REALLY SO FOOLISH?”

We know that this double-barrelled Bill will pass, leading to massive Gerrymandering during the seat redistribution, possibly rendering a Labour-Led Government distant possibility. We know that the farce of “safe” seats and one-party fiefdoms in Local Government have led to some awful, incompetent, and sometimes corrupt administrations dominated by nepotism and patronage.

The one chance we have to mitigate its effects, and the first chance since The General Election to seriously dent the Conservatives, is by maximising the Yes Vote in April.

AV is not perfect, but it is a start. The anger and disconnection between Government and people has not gone away, why on Earth would we wish to see the Conservatives safely esconsed with the Lib Dems?

There will be very few Conservatives in the Yes campaign, and most will certainly be united against change – unsurprising really, given their origins as the anti-reform party. Labour input would at the very least give rank and file Lib Dems cause to think about who they would rather be in coalition with…

…wouldn’t it also be a wise move to show a little trust in Ed, who is supporting the Yes Campaign?

Come on comrades, get involved with the Purple People…

Yes to Fairer Votes – getting involved.

On 5th May 2011, you have a chance, perhaps the only chance, to change our voting system for the better. The Coalitions’ Reform Bill, portrayed by Clegg and Co. as the biggest constitutional change since the 1830s will pass, very much unamended.

This means that there will be less MPs, further tightening the grip of both Party Machines, and by extension our wonderful “Political Class” on power over us. The boundary changes in this legislation also mean that in effect, a large-scale gerrymandering will take place, and Labour could be kept out of power for a decade or more. Spurious cries from the right of the House that The independent Boundary Commission had rigged its last reviews to favour Labour  hold no water – this is not redistribution, this is a culling of 50 seats – at a stroke your MP becomes much more distant from you, in the name of “fairness”, and at root, economy. One question…

SINCE WHEN DID ECONOMY TRUMP DEMOCRACY???

There is only one potential remedy for this, namely a victory for the Alternative Vote (AV) in the Referendum. Anyone who has voted in thier Student Union elections, Trades Union elections, or recent Labour elections knows that AV is pretty simple.

You mark the candidates in order of preference, e.g. 1st,2nd,3rd and so on, as you wish. The candidate with the least votes is eliminated, and their second preferences shared out amongst the remaining candidates. This continues until there is one candidate with over 50% of the votes. This means that every MP would have to have a majority to win. Easy.

This could lead to a much smaller number of safe seats, making our politicians work much harder for our votes. It would also temper the other parts of the Bill mentioned above,which will surely pass. For those of you who voted Labour last May, and would like to see this Coalition out, this is a vital step in the right direction, given the mountain we will have to climb if it does not pass.

AV is not a proportional system, and it does keep the link between constituencies and MPs intact, meaning we still get to bother them with lobbying, surgeries and the like. If the Yes vote wins, then an elected House of Lords becomes a real possibility at last.

An element of proportionality could be added by a future Labour Government by simply amending the system to the “AV+” system recommended by the late Lord “Woy” Jenkins in his report on constitutional reform.

If we lose, the Tories could be in power for a generation. Think about it. Look at Suffolk County Council – a very “safe ” Tory Council, or look at Tower Hamlets under generations of Labour rule. We have the chance to take some power back, so lets use it.

Join Take Back Parliament, or log on to this site for Fairer Votes:  http://www.yestofairervotes.org/

Get involved…

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