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Wendy Chamberlain MP becomes LDER President.

NEWSLETTER SPECIAL

Wendy Chamberlain MP becomes LDER President

We are excited to announce that Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform has a new President – Wendy Chamberlain, our MP for North East Fife.

Since entering Parliament in 2019, Wendy has made her mark as an articulate, vivid advocate of electoral reform. Through most of 2020, as our Political and Constitutional Reform front bench spokesperson, she led the campaign both inside and outside Parliament. Last June, she initiated an adjournment debate on the need for reform; and in August she urged party members to join a Make Votes Matter (MVM) nationwide ‘virtual’ Action Day, which saw hundreds of Liberal Democrats get involved.

A strong believer in linking reform to improving peoples’ everyday lives, also last June, Wendy spoke alongside Klina Jordan of  MVM at a Green Liberal Democrats’ conference session on Electoral Reform and the Environment. In September, she led our virtual fringe meeting, along with the Electoral Reform SocietyMake Votes Matter and Unite to Reform.

Now our Parliamentary Chief Whip and Work and Pensions spokesperson, Wendy has maintained her commitment to our cause. In February, she became a Vice Chair of the newly-formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Electoral Reform. (Alistair Carmichael, Wera Hobhouse and Lord Paul Tyler are also APPG members). Wendy is also a member of the APPG on Deliberative Democracy.

Wendy said: ‘In an era of increasing identity politics, place has increasing importance to many. With Covid-19, however, the straining of centralised decision making at Westminster, and better recognition of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, could mean electoral reform’s time has come. It’s increasingly clear that the fundamental change required to ensure the future of the UK and a representative democracy starts with electoral reform.’

Wendy has already agreed to host a virtual meeting on Zoom for all LDER members and supporters, setting our the goals as she sees them and of course taking questions and comments. We’ll be in touch again shortly with details.
Don’t forget:

Make Votes Matter ‘Lobby Your MP’  Action Day – March 12; makevotesmatter.org.uk/lobby
You can also attend a pre-lobby briefing session with Wendy Chamberlain on March 11: click here for more.

LDER Fringe – March 21; 13.00- 14.15 with Alistair Carmichaellibdems.org.uk/conference
LDER Executive
Website:   http://lder.org/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/LibDemsForElectoralReform/
Twitter:     @LibDem4ER
Email:       info@lder.org

Proportional representation explained (in easy language)

So you are thinking about Proportional representation and have discussed it amongst your friends, they all think its a great idea, “BUT”,  they all say,  “look at XXXX country it doesn’t work”. The truth is it DOES work, most of Europe’s governments have a form of PR.  The Liberal Democrats are advocates of Proportional Representation and in this regard the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system and we’ve included here a great little Presentation that pictorially shows how the STV system works to show why and how PR is so important.

However first let’s explain why PR (Proportional Representation) is so important to the UK. At the present time in the UK we have a myriad of different voting systems, the Welsh and Scottish assemblies have a form of PR, while our electoral system for the Westminster Parliament is the First Past the Post system. So England has a different system for its electorate than Wales and Scotland, yet we are all supposed to be one “United Kingdom”. Does this sound United to you? Surely if two of our countries have PR then England should as well?  We currently have majority governments yet voted in by a minority of the people who voted, that is not democracy.  Democracy is derived from two Greek words:-

Demo = The People + Kratia = The power of

We must never forget that.

If the majority of the people are being ignored in our voting system then we don’t have democracy and the majority of the people need to rise up and force a change.

In a later blog we will explain about how gerrymandering has damaged our electoral system to the point that it is impossible to get a fair General Election and your vote really is being stolen. Before that however have a look at this little Presentation that explains very simply how proportional representation is fairer for you as a voter.

Many Thanks to www.cgpgrey.com for this excellent presentation:- please watch and enjoy.

https://youtu.be/l8XOZJkozfI

You can help support the Single Transferable Vote (STV) in the UK by joining Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform and the Electoral Reform Society.


Make Votes Matter Day of Action

On the 12th December 2020 one of our partners – Make Votes Matter – held another of their excellent “Day of Action” days. Due to Tier lockdowns it was difficult for people to meet in groups, so a lot of the work was held online, but it was no less effective.

This brilliantly simple zoom call by the @MVM_lewes group highlights just how important changing our voting system is. The theme is “silent” as the First Past The Post UK electoral system means that UK voters have no voice, and thus voters are disenfranchised. It has received over 180,000 views.

Have a look at Make Votes Matter Silent Voices. If you are on Twitter please retweet it, let’s get the message out there.

In addition Make Votes Matter are sending Christmas Cards to all their MPs and we encourage you to do the same letting them know about how important it is to change our voting system. You can find your MPs constituency address here, Who is My MP?

Do you have views on the Electoral Commission?

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is conducting an inquiry into the work of the Electoral Commission. Anyone can submit evidence to the Committee with a deadline of 4th December 2020. 

The Committee seeks evidence on the the following, in particular:

    • The effectiveness of the Electoral Commission in discharging its statutory obligations
    • The governance of the Electoral Committee
    • The effect of COVID-19 on UK elections.

You can find more information on the inquiry and submit evidence directly, here.

AGM reminder and update

This is a reminder of our forthcoming Annual General Meeting, which will take place at 7pm on Tuesday, 27 October 2020.

Our guest speaker will be Lord Paul Tyler, House of Lords spokesperson on Political and Constitutional Reform.

He’ll speak and take questions from 7-7.40 pm (approximate timings).

The meeting will take place on Zoom, and you can register for free now at Eventbrite here.

All are welcome at the meeting, but only paid-up members of LDER will be eligible to vote. You can join or rejoin here.

The relevant papers are all available on our website and/or via the links below:

We look forward to seeing you.

Notice of our Annual General Meeting

We are delighted to welcome Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrats spokesperson for Home Affairs with a responsibility for Political and Constitutional Reform, as a guest speaker at our AGM this year.

The meeting will take place on Zoom, and you can register for free now at Eventbrite here.

All are welcome at the meeting, but only paid-up members of LDER will be eligible to vote. You can join or rejoin here.

The meeting will take place at 7 pm on Tuesday, 27 October 2020.

The relevant papers are all available on our website and/or via the links below:

In accordance with our constitution, all executive positions are up for re-election. But please note that we are particularly interested in filling the following vacancies which have arisen on the committee:

Secretary

The Secretary’s main responsibility is to take the minutes of exec meetings and update the action list, pass both to the chair for checking after the meeting and then circulate them to the exec committee mailing list.

Online Content Manager

This role currently involves producing and posting content for our Facebook page and managing our website, though we are interested in expanding our online presence to include a Twitter feed. The ideal post holder would additionally be able to manage our account with the website hosting service (currently IONOS).

If you are interested in either role, please email us at info@lder.org

At this year’s AGM we will be debating two constitutional amendments.  You can view our present constitution here.

The UK: a ‘democracy’ that cheats the voter

Why the UK badly needs true democracy – and how to get it

Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference is taking place online this year!

Join Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform at our Conference fringe debate.

Time: 18.45-19.35, Saturday 26 September

Speakers:

  • Wendy Chamberlain MP, until recently Lib Dem spokesperson on Political and Constitutional Reform
  • Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society
  • Peter Dunphy, Unite to Reform
  • Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter

To join us, you need to register for the conference. The fringe debate will be hosted live via the conference’s HopIn platform. Our panel members will each speak for around five minutes, after which you’ll have the opportunity to ask them questions.

LDER Autumn Conference Newsletter

Electoral Reform – at the heart of the debate

LDER has never had a more timely or crucial debate than this year’s fringe meeting. There is growing recognition on all fronts that Johnson’s Government is riding roughshod over our democracy on a gross minority of electoral support. Recent LD Voice posts show our members are more aware than ever of the importance of political reform.

So join our Conference fringe debate – listen to our great panel of speakers and put your questions to them.

18.45 -19.35 Saturday September 26
The UK: a ‘democracy’ that cheats the voter

Why the UK badly needs true democracy – and how to get it.

Our speakers: Wendy Chamberlain MP,  until recently our front bench spokesperson; Darren Hughes, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society; Peter Dunphy, Unite to Reform; Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader, Make Votes Matter.

AND…

Our ‘virtual’ exhibition stall

Throughout the conference, we will be running our stall, so please ‘call in’ on us. We’ll have volunteers on duty; and videos about electoral reform. If you’re not already a LDER member or donor, please sign up to join us! We want to hear from you.

How to join our virtual fringe and exhibition stall:

You have to be registered for the conference.

Then, using a Google Chrome browser and a computer, you can access the virtual Conference ‘HopIn’ platform and choose our debate and visit our stall. Really quite easy!

Other Conference events you might like

Friday

F2 Standing Orders for a Conference Held Remotely: 2.15pm Conference Hall

Essential for understanding how our online conference will work.

 

F4 Party Strategy: 15.00 – 16.15 Consultative session: The hard questions we need to get right

An excellent opportunity to raise the profile of electoral reform within the Party by putting in a speaker’s card.

 

Saturday

F11 Policy Motion: 11.15 – 12.00 The Creation of a Federal United Kingdom

Though not directly related to electoral reform, plenty on improving our governance more generally

 

F13 Leader of the Liberal Democrats Q&A 15.05 – 16.00

Another opportunity this time to ask Ed a question on electoral reform

 

Other opportunities to raise questions about electoral reform will be available at the many fringe meetings – including our own, of course.

Another meeting that might be of interest is:

Sunday 13.00–13.50 Social Liberal Forum Radical Federalism

Wendy Chamberlain MP, Lib Dem spokesperson on the Constitution, and Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, discuss liberal federalism, the UK’s shocking regional inequalities and Keir Starmer’s new idea. Chair: Cllr Gordon Lishman, SLF Council.

Enjoy Conference!

Our 2020 AGM

This year’s AGM will take place virtually via Zoom. It will be held in late October – final date and time to be confirmed shortly.

In accordance with our constitution all executive positions are up for re-election. Details of how to put your name forward will be in our formal AGM mailing (early October), but there are two key vacancies this year:

Secretary

The Secretary’s main responsibility is to take the minutes of exec meetings and update the action list, pass both to the chair for checking after the meeting and then circulate them to the exec committee mailing list

And an exciting new position, because we want to be highly strategic and pro-active in the social media space —

Online Content Manager

— involves producing and posting content for our Facebook page and managing our website, though we also want to expand our online presence to include a Twitter feed. The ideal post holder would additionally be able to manage our account with the website hosting service (currently IONOS).

Any immediate questions – let us know. We’ll be in touch further.

 

A word about us

LDER is an officially recognised Associated Organisation of the party. Our remit is to educate and inform all members and supporters about electoral and political reform; and to assure the policy is high on the party’s priority agenda. We also work with like-minded organisations such as Make Votes Matter, Unlock Democracy and the Electoral Reform Society on joint campaigns and to facilitate collaboration between interested parties.

But to achieve our goals, we do need funding. The online fringe meeting (as above) alone costs hundreds of pounds. Our sole income is from those of you who, as well as supporting us, also pay to be members of LDER.

It’s only £10 per year (£5 concessions) to join so we hope as many of you as possible will do so by clicking this link.

Joining allows you to participate in our AGM and put yourself forward for membership of our Executive as well as improving our standing within the Party.

Our 2020 AGM

This year’s AGM will take place virtually via Zoom. It will be held in late October – final date and time to be confirmed shortly.

In accordance with our constitution all executive positions are up for re-election. Details of how to put your name forward will be in our formal AGM mailing (early October), but there are two key vacancies this year:

Secretary

The Secretary’s main responsibility is to take the minutes of exec meetings and update the action list, pass both to the chair for checking after the meeting and then circulate them to the exec committee mailing list

Online Content Manager

This involves producing and posting content for our Facebook page and managing our website, though we also want to expand our online presence to include a Twitter feed. The ideal post holder would additionally be able to manage our account with the website hosting service (currently IONOS).

If you have questions about either role, please get in touch.

STV recommended for the Welsh Senedd

The Committee which has been investigating reform of the Welsh Senedd has reached its conclusions, and has recommended that its members should be elected by the Single Transferable Vote system.

They argue that this will:
  1. Give voters more choice
  2. Maintain clear links between Members and constituencies
  3. Produce more proportional electoral outcomes.

We agree! That’s no surprise, of course, since it is Liberal Democrat party policy to support the use of STV for all public elections selecting multiple representatives. Indeed, LDER chair Denis Mollison gave expert evidence to the Committee setting out the advantages of adopting STV for Welsh Senedd elections.

We’re really pleased that the Committee agreed with us. You can read their full report here.