Monthly Archives: May 2010

What I really want to see

Partly I’d like to see all this argument continue much longer, it’s been thrilling to have actual news to follow and for a politics news junkie like myself this is a strong hit. At some point, sadly, we must see the endgame reached.

So here’s what I’d like to see:

Tories governing on a minority basis with confidence from the Lib Dems.
But with an all party economic council, embracing and extending that which Nick Clegg often spoke about in the debates to include the various Scottish, Irish and Welsh national parties and the Green.
From that supply coming from across the house and an agreement that the queens speech shall be drawn from consensus policies drawn from all parties.

Then three sets of reforms.
Firstly, a wide ranging set of procedural reforms of the House of Commons, to be implemented over the summer. These would be measures to make the chamber adequately respond to the three party nature of politics, and would put the leaders of all opposition parties with more than a dozen members 3 questions and a guaranteed question for all other parties. Also to ensure that the calling of members of debates ceases to be based on their relative seniority in the chamber but instead on a mixture of good judgement and pre-agreed order debate by debate.
Secondly, an examination of the democracy of local and regional government within England, aiming to empower the London assembly and review the voting system for councils.
And thirdly, a referendum on the proposals for AV+ from the Jenkins review. Should a vote on that fail either in the house or in referendum, then a requirement for a commission to re-examine the topic to present proposals to parliament within a year such that there is genuine reform within this parliament.

And all of this under a fixed term four year parliament with an agreement for fixed term parliaments hereafter.

Warning: When I am a tactical voter I shall wear purple

On Monday whilst pottering around London between food and film I meandered past the LibDem flashmob at Trafalgar Square. It was an awkward affair, not least because yellow isn’t always the most flattering colour. Not sure why but I commented to a friend that the square would probably be busier this weekend with an inevitable campaign for fair votes.

Lo and behold:

Take Back Parliament, Trafalgar Square 2PM

Now there are the usual convenient half truths backing this demonstration including the inevitable

if enough of us get involved the demand for change will be irresistible!

Oh, if only. It won’t be like that, there’s going to need to be a lot of pressure to keep reform at the heart of the political agenda. Many Tories are busily pushing out the line that no-one was demanding electoral reform on the doorstep. That’s irrelevant. What matters is what can we do to ensure we are adequately governed. They are right that we need some form of strong government, but to me that can only come from a Westminster that is more inclusive and open to smaller parties both electorally and procedurally. It is madness that TV gave Clegg a fairer platform than the house of parliament ever could. If our politicians can agree the rules necessary to run unprecedented debates on television they can surely agree to improve our system of government and debate.

So I’m going to go and potter about in Trafalgar Square again, turnout for this could be slim, but I don’t care. I’ve spent over a decade believing in electoral reform and it’s about time I got off my backside and did something about it.