Friday, 27 January 2023

Tag » Liberal Democrats

‘Let’s all live in Cambridge!’

Post-AV – What now for Electoral reform?

The defeat of the AV Referendum vote on electing MPs was a disappointment to those electoral reformers, like us, who believed it could be ‘stepping stone’ to greater reform’. Worse still we believe that opponents of reform will use the result to claim that the electorate supports the existing system of First Past The Post (FPTP) other than merely rejecting AV as an alternative.

No to AV AND FPTP

Of course the main thrust of NO campaigners was to rubbish AV rather than support FPTP. As a result numerous supporters of introducing Proportional Representation voted NO. For the latter group, the arguments that a YES victory may to lead to PR or that a NO victory may make ANY reform less likely were either unconvincing or, more likely, not heard at all.

As we pointed out in an earlier article (http://nationalliberal.org/?p=2292) the YES campaigners ran in our view a very poor campaign and, rather than focus on the failings of FPTP, attempted to extol the virtues of AV which simply fell on deaf ears.

Let’s all live in Cambridge!?

Of course not everywhere were the NO’s successful. In ten areas the YES vote was victorious. These included the University Towns of Oxford and Cambridge where the so-called complexity of the AV system were undoubtedly conquered! We are quite sure many also supported PR but took the view that some reform was better than none (Interestingly, inner-London districts such as Southwark and Lambeth also voted YES due to some vigorous local campaigning driven by the area’s Liberal Democrats contrasting heavily with most other areas and an indication what could have been achieved nationwide).

In reality though, unless we all move to Cambridge, it seems we are back to square one and electoral reform lost for a generation. Or are we?

House of Lords Reform

Included within the Coalition’s package of legislation is the reform of the House of Lords. Ironically, initial moves to reform the Lords began in the last Liberal Government and was even enshrined in the Parliament Act in 1911, to quote “…whereas it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation”.

After 100 years ago it fell upon Deputy PM Nick Clegg to recently unveil the Coalition’s plans for Lord’s Reform. Two of its main points are:

* 80% elected – 20% appointed but with a provision for a fully elected chamber
* Members are to be elected for single 15-year terms under the single transferable vote system of proportional representation.

Proportional Representation: the referendum we never had!

Of course using PR as the system to elect MPs was the vote we never had! Nevertheless if the Lords are reformed (although we have had many false dawns) there is every chance it will be under PR.

It would not be very ‘user-friendly’ to small parties since there would be, under present proposals, only 80 ‘Lords’ elected every 5 years. Yet as we predicted with AV, if the Bill is succesfully implemented, although there is already Conservative back-bench disquiet, it will put Parliamentary PR back on the table albeit at a low level. From thereon in the initiative will be returned to electoral reformers and we must hope, that if the Liberal Democrats once again get an opportunity to implement change they do not, as so recently, ‘fumble the ball’!*

* In an earlier article we expressed our disappointment that the Liberal Democrats had not held out for the introduction of (or a referendum on) PR see http://nationalliberal.org/?p=244. The recent revelation by ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson that Labour had indeed offered PR as an inducement to the LD’s post the last General Election makes our point even more precient.


EX-LIB DEM MAN BECOMES NEW NATIONAL SECRETARY!

We are pleased to announce the appointment of our new National Secretary Mr. Glen Maney. Glen was until recently a Liberal Democratic party member and lifelong voter until he resigned over Nick Clegg’s treachery over student fees. Like many LD’s he was uneasy with their stance on Europe and recently began to see the impact in the unskilled labour market first hand (see http://nationalliberal.org/?p=1918).

In a statement accepting his appointment he says “Even after resigning I still felt I had more of an affinity with the Liberals than I had with Labour or the Tories. On Green issues and Civil Liberties and not attacking Nation states because we’d decided that having armed them,we didn’t like the leader!, being but a few of the things I liked about them (LD’s).”

He continues “I was aware that a growing number of people were disillusioned with the main political parties (and I was one of them) but many were being led down the blind path of extremism. A multitude of far right parties were mushrooming but far fewer ‘centrist’ ones. After leaving the LD’s I looked around for a party that were both Liberal and yes, Patriotic (i.e. being proud of your country and your National identity,whilst respecting others, irrespective of your skin colour or religion). Fortunately I found one in the National Liberal Party and having spoken to one of their officers decided we shared a common goal. To make thing “better” for everyone of every race, religion and sexual orientation who wants to be British. Play their part in making it Great again and who respect others around them whilst paying taxes and contributing to the community.Not a lot to ask is it?”

I felt I’d found my political home and I’m determined to help other disaffected and patriotic Liberals (and there are many) find a safe haven. I would like to give all those people, fearful of losing their national identity to the EU or genuinely scared by immigration, yet non racists of all colours, an option of finding “our” voice.

That’s why I joined the NLP, to help make things better. I hope that as National Secretary I can play my part.”

National Liberal Party National Secretary Glen Maney, is a professional comedian and owner of a film company. Born in Battersea, he has unlike many politicians worked in a number of areas including professional football, the police and sales before he found his vocation. His biggest professional disappointment was not being able even in a little way to resolve the ‘inner-city’ problems of towns like Luton whilst a serving police officer. He hopes that in politics he can help ‘make a difference’. Being an ex-Liberal Democratic member and voter he found his political home in the National Liberals who combined his liberal beliefs in individual liberty and social justice with love of country.


AV vote – Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas!

Most politically interested people in the country believe there is something ‘rotten in the state of’ our electoral system that elect representatives to our Parliament. The majority of us would like to see reform. The referendum campaign to introduce (or not) the Alternative Vote (AV) as the system to elect MPs has thrown up as many questions as answers.

The NO campaign, independent of but closely linked to the Conservative party, has largely been negative by promoting ‘scare stories’ about what horrors await us if the voters be so ‘foolish’ in voting YES e.g. it will be costly to administer, it will confuse the voter, it will allow ‘losers’ to win and even saddle us permanently with Nick Clegg! They probably don’t believe most of it but they hope the average (non-political) voter will.

The YES campaign, independent of but closely linked to the Liberal Democrats, have been caught on the hop. They had kept their campaign largely ‘politician free’ and vague, hoping to rally ALL reformers to the poll. They were not prepared for the NO’s ‘dirty tricks’. Their annoyance has even spread into the Cabinet as the Junior partners expressed hurt and shock at the dirty tricks they believed their Conservative colleagues were promoting/supporting.

Why not PR?

Surprisingly, the fissures within electoral reformers has begun to (re) appear, between those who actually support AV (the minority) and those who want some form of Proportional Representation (the majority including the National Liberals). The arguments over AV versus PR have begun to reemerge. There is even a NO to AV YES to PR group. For those not following matters too closely there is concern as to why we are not getting a vote on introducing PR?

Of course, what we should focus on is how we even got a vote on AV? The arithmetic that produced (on paper) a ‘hung’ Parliament, the price for the LD’s cooperation and the desire for Government Office of the Con-Dems all combined to give us a Referendum. The vast majority of MP’s do not and have NEVER supported a change of the electoral system that elects them. Conservative MP’s (and most Labour) are almost all against AV let alone PR. After all, AV (and especially PR) may mean they lose their seats and since ‘Turkey’s don’t vote (if they could) for Christmas’ we cannot expect to get a vote on PR anytime soon!

We believe however that once we break the status quo it is possible that we will see: an increase in political awareness (by having to think more about how to vote), a rise in support for small parties (by increasing voting options) and calls for more democratic reform (whether AV is well received or not!). It is of course a judgement call i.e. will AV lead to more reform or will the status quo lead to the reform we want?

The National Liberals believe, on balance, that if the YES vote carries the day (likely with a low turnout i.e. the YES voter is more motivated?) it MAY lead to a more proportional system. The genie will be out of the bottle for good. If the NO vote wins we fear that the anti-reformers will put reform back into the bottle and hide it away as long as possible. Since only MP’s can deliver a change of system (or a referendum), the odds of the ‘perfect storm’ occurring again any time soon is remote. So we say cross your fingers (for further reform) and vote YES on Thursday!


‘Student Fees’ – National Liberal Party Petition

BROKEN PROMISES!

Some of us remember Nick Cleggs election broadcast May 2010 bemoaning politicians long list of broken promises and promising (sic) to be different!

Indeed the first frame on the broadcast was Labour’s broken promise of ‘No Student Tuition Fees’. He said “It’s time for them to be kept”. The Liberal Democrat’s made lots of promises but on student fees Clegg and many other MPs of his party actually signed a pledge, presumably because it might guarantee them even more student votes. How stupid those voters must feel now and how ashamed should Nick Clegg be!

The MP scandal damaged their reputation to the core. Clegg’s broken promise to put up student fees will also damage his party’s reputation to the core. That wouldn’t be too bad but all those who regard themselves as ‘liberals’ may be justifiably outraged by the smear he puts on them all.

His excuse, that being in a coalition requires compromise in the interests of proposed cuts in general, evaporates when his ‘partner in crime’ PM David Cameron announced in China that such an increase for English students will keep fees lower for foreign students!

It is a shame the promised (sic) law on recalling MPs who have broken promises is not yet in place. Guess who would be the first one in a long queue of shame!

Sign the petition calling on Nick Clegg to honour his promise against any increase in student fees. It is still not too late! (his coalition partners were allowed to vote against the AV Referendum so why not a similar vote of conscience?).

Go to http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40657.html


NLP Press Release: LIB DEMS SLATED FOR MAKING THE WRONG CHOICES!


The National Liberal Party has criticised the Liberal Democrats for selling out on Proportional Representation (PR) and supporting Government cuts in all the ‘wrong places’. In particular they suggest that they could have got PR from a Lib-Lab coalition (or the Conservatives at the death) and could have avoided many of the pending cuts if they hadn’t agreed with the Government’s ‘ring-fencing’ of the International Aid and, in particular, Military Expenditure budgets.
They accuse the infamous ’20’ (the number of LD Ministers) of selling out their principles for a share of the ‘status’ of power without actually being able to deliver very much.
Go to the lead article on their new, updated and improving website at http://nationalliberal.org/?p=842
END
Contact: Cllr. David Durant – NLP National Secretary – 0776 1976219
Address: PO Box 4217, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 4PJ
Press Release (NLP08/10press) distributed by Accentuate – PR Company

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