August 2020 newsletter

Calling all activists

Make Votes Matter (MVM)  has announced an Electoral Reform Action Day this coming August 22. 

MVM is calling on proportional representation supporters to join in a nationwide groundbreaking campaign day.

It will be online due to COVID; a brilliantly effective virtual action day was held recently in Lewes, Sussex. Activists posted online pictures of family, friends and themselves by local landmarks. Lewes campaigners report reaching even more people online and through social media than through traditional methods such as street stalls.

MVM is using this as the template for grassroots local action on August 22.

So do sign up. Work with local like-minded people who would like to see true democracy in this country. With Labour showing some positive signs, we want to press hard for reform and make sure it’s the Liberal Democrats, long believers in the principle of equal, proportional voting, that are leading the charge.

Sign up here.

 

Join the MVM speaker panel

‘Sharing points and arguments for reform with like-minded people was a real and unexpected boost. I’m geared up like never before to spread the message’ – MVM speaker panel introductory session participant.

The MVM speaker panel is going well — and the response to the appeal in our last newsletter has been – well, not bad! That means – we’ve room for many more LD members to join the panel!!

Sign up and you’ll join an online group of about eight others and you each have a five minute speech slot for everyone to listen to and share feedback on. It is a very positive experience – so don’t wait!

Read more about volunteering to be a cross-party speaker here.

Sign up here (tick the box for ‘Cross party speaker’)

Then you’re lined up to speak to local LD parties or to other civic groups as MVM finds the speaking slots.

Our virtual conference fringe meeting is… ON!

Breaking new ground – 18.45 on Saturday September 26 is the date and time for our first-ever virtual fringe meeting. Our front bench spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP will be our key speaker, along with Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform SocietyPeter Dunphy of Unite to Reform; and Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter.

It’s titled – UK: a ‘democracy’ that cheats the voter and we’ll explore how voters are left voiceless in the present rigged system; and how we are going to get change this time.

More to come – we’re also staging an online conference exhibition stall!

Sign up for the session as soon as the party announces more details.

 

PR questions at leadership hustings

We have to report disappointment here. LDER tried very hard to get the party HQ to agree to a themed leadership hustings on electoral reform. But we were turned down. We then applied for a Q&A session, which after initial encouragement, was also turned down… We move on…

LDER members have put forward questions about electoral reform to the various hustings that are taking place.  If it’s not too late by the time you get this, it would be great if you submitted questions that commit both Ed and Layla to PR as a key thrust of party policy.

Submit your question here.

 

Plenty else has been happening

Collaboration with the Green Liberal Democrats:

After a very quick turn-around, an event about PR and the environment took place during the Green Liberal Democrat (GLD) conference on 22nd June with Wendy Chamberlain and Klina Jordan as speakers, highlighting research showing that countries with PR are better at reducing carbon emissions etc. Klina and Wendy have each submitted an article each for the GLD magazine which is to be distributed to GLD members in August.

Building on our positive GLD experience, we are getting in touch with the Young Liberals to find ways of collaborating.

 

And other party groups…?

If you are a member of or have contacts in other Party Associated Organisations or SAOs, then it would be great if you could help us contact them. Let us know.

 

Wendy’s adjournment debate

Wendy Chamberlain led an adjournment debate in the Commons on June 8, where she cited the inequality and undemocratic results of the present electoral system. In particular, she told of the plight of the millions of ‘voiceless’ people in this country. For the Government, Chloe Smith MP came up with some rather esoteric responses, notably the unexplained politics of place… Thanks to good teamwork from our MPs (Christine Jardine, Wera Hobhouse and Layla Moran supported Wendy) Ms Smith acknowledged and agreed that proportional systems also maintain constituency links between electors and elected! Good ammunition for us next time our opponents try to hide behind that facade as an excuse for clinging onto the present system.
Over at the Labour Party

Many of us will have seen that the Labour Party recently decided to use the single transferable vote (ditching FPTP) for its internal elections to its National Executive Committee. This is great news in itself as it means Labour has taken a big step towards being more democratic. It also of course suggests more commitment to reform going forward. It’s too early to be over-optimistic (and we’ve been disappointed before) but we should acknowledge the efforts of reformers within the Labour Party who have battled long and hard to get this step forward.