Saturday, 20 July 2024

Planning for the future!

Showing the new NLTU Banner

The autumn NLP’s Activist Seminar in Central London discussed the imminent launch of the party’s new Policy Brief, reports from supported pressure groups, and speeches (including outside guests) on the campaign to get the option of ‘None of the Above’ on all ballot papers.

Delegates completed a survey on issues that they believed was most important to them and the general public. The answers were extremely varied perhaps reflecting the diverse background of members, ranging from pensioners to social workers to trade union reps to shopkeepers.
Whilst many felt the average citizen was most concerned about unemployment, immigration. And low wages. Member’s top three concerns were unemployment/job security, and low wages. The draft Policy Brief was discussed and suggestions taken on board prior to publication.
Delegates were invited to propose campaign issues. The most popular were: Support for a ‘Living Wage’. Against over-development, Decriminalisation of/greater education on drugs.
Delegates from the St. George’s Committee explained their work promoting England’s rich cultural heritage. They believed that an inclusive public culture is one way of uniting diverse peoples. All agreed they would like to see their efforts replicated throughout the UK via St. David’s, St. Andrew’s and Ulster Committees. The Chairman of the ‘National Liberal Trade Unionists’, Glen Nicklasson, addressed the meeting about the groups desire to gather all non-socialist trade unionists under its banner. Copies of its new broadsheet, the Liberal Worker that is campaigning for a Living Wage, was handed out to attendees. Delegates from the self-determinist group ‘Nations without States’ urged everyone to support their work i.e. to free captive nations around the world.
The end of the meeting was turned over to the cross-party Total Democracy group see to explain why it was supporting a campaign to put to ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) on every ballot paper. Speakers included Graham Williamson from the NLP (who unveiled a new leaflet and poster on the issue), Lee Holmes from the PDP and Jamie and Emma from other NOTA groups.

Guest speakers promote the NOTA campaign

Graham explained that the NLP supported electoral reform in general, including PR, Recall and NOTA. He believed that all such reforms would improve turnouts but that getting NOTA on the Statute books is more possible at the present time.

Jamie explained why NOTA was a positive move and whilst UK politics was restricted was absolutely necessary to reengage the voter. Turnouts had been consistently falling and were already far too low for elected representatives to claim genuine legitimacy.
Emma looked at the mechanics of introducing NOTA and the implications i.e. if it were the highest vote in a constituency. She explained that NOTA was already on the ballot paper in two US states.
Lee explained why he had left the Conservatives, finding them run by a money orientated elite that only paid lip service to its membership. He saw parallels with successive governments attitudes towards the voter. An earlier comment that an MP had stated that one vote was legitimacy enough typified the disconnect such people had with the common man. A NOTA vote would be a rude awaking for many ‘professional’ politicians. Attendees joined in a Q&A session and discussion about how the campaign could be moved forward. The idea of a logo and text endorsement being offered to all candidates was proposed.
All agreed it was a very productive meeting, in a prestige location, and everyone hoped to meet again soon.
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