New Year, Renewed Fight
LDER members are creating an updated reform campaign pack for 2016’s elections. We will connect how we vote to the quality of Governments and local Councils we get. Our pack will set the need for reform in the 2015-2020 context, underscore what a fair system would mean for individual voters and provide campaigning material. Send us any ideas you have on this – or chat with us at the York Conference.
See you in York
LDER is on stall 5 of the exhibition at York Conference, so come and see us there.
Fringe meeting dates for your diary:
1-2pm, Saturday March 12
Pro –PR cross-party alliance meeting. What are the prospects for a cross-party electoral reform pact at the 2020 election? LDER exec member Denis Mollison is speaking. Venue: Hilton Hotel; Micklegate Room
Also, our allies, the Electoral Reform Society, have a fringe meeting:
6-15-7.15pm, Saturday March 12
‘Paths to Democratic Renewal.’ As well as speakers, the Society will present findings from two (Southampton and Sheffield) recently held Citizens Assemblies. Venue: Novotel Hotel; Riverside Room
16-year-olds enfranchised – we tried (part 2)
Early contender for Liberal Democrat peer of the year must be John Shipley, who tabled an amendment to the Cities and Local Government bill, which would have enabled 16-year-olds to vote in local elections. Sadly and revealingly, the amendment fell because Labour Lords failed to back us. It shows that Jeremy Corbyn’s brave ‘new politics’ is only spin-deep; given the chance to support change, Labour’s tribalist, command-and-control traditions shine through bright as ever. As we said last time, further democratizing the franchise is also a crucial progressive steps towards fairer, representative elections. Shame Labour doesn’t see it that way.
Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform (LDER) are currently focused on ensuring electoral reform is re-cemented as a key element of the party’s liberal philosophy and values; and as a key policy for the future.
We have submitted two contributions to the party’s current reviews: one on governance and the main one on Agenda 2020, where we are calling for:
- the role of a fair electoral system in empowering the individual and ensuring all votes count equally;
- a Constitutional Convention to explore the shortcomings of the current system; what sort of democracy people want; and what is the best new system to deliver that improved democracy
- continue to press for local government reform in England and Wales
- advocate an elected (ideally fully elected, but at least majority elected) House of Lords, to replace the current over-large appointed house. Learning from last time, a reform package would need to define the role of a renewed Lords in relation to the Commons.
We’ll continue the dialogue with the party leadership to get our policies properly prioritized.
We are also evaluating approaches to, with a view to collaborating with, other pro-reform parties.
Enfranchising 16 year-olds – we tried
Congratulations to our peers, who were instrumental in defeating the Government in a vote which was set to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the upcoming EU referendum. We usually think of electoral reform in terms of voting systems, but further democratizing the franchise is also a crucial progressive steps. The decision was of course ultimately overturned in the Commons but at least the argument has been made and the issue discussed. Next time…
Over in Canada
The Liberals’ stunning October victory in Canada has ushered in new hope for electoral reform. A manifesto commitment is to set up an all-party committee to make legislative recommendations within 18 months on the conduct of elections. Premier Trudeau is known to back ‘ranked ballots’ (preferential/STV voting to us). Needless to say, sceptics are now questioning whether reform will happen… watch this space.
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