Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A rock and a hard place


Day 5 and tortuous negotiations between the LibDems, Conservatives and the Labour Party continue with little prospect of a satisfactory outcome - either for the country (National Interest) or for those of us that feel passionately about electoral reform. On offer, a Tory deal guaranteeing a referendum on AV (a system that is not proportionately representative, but may turn out to be the least worst option); or the Labour Party's offer to legislate without a referendum and which may not be deliverable anyway (aside from any criticism that such a move would create an unsustainable and unstable government (the maths simply don't add up).

In both of the main parties, the dogs are being unleashed (Dr John Reid, David Blunkett, Dr Liam Fox to name but three). Also ranged against the case for reform Nick Robinson of the BBC (who is being particularly partisan in this matter) and virtually all the national media in the UK which, no doubt, would have a field day slamming any such deal.

Whichever way the LibDems go, the traps will be sprung:
a) supporting a coalition of 'losers' (Lib-Lab)
b) creating a hugely unstable 'rainbow/progressive' coalition which is certain to lead to another General Election in the near future
b) supporting a minority government (Lib-Conservative), not given a mandate to govern by the British Electorate and whose policies on Europe, immigration, dealing with the national debt etc etc are anathema to all LibDem voters.

But the LibDems must stay firm in their call for a better electoral system or the country will continually be faced with a make-up of MPs that do not reflect the wishes of the people. And it is under our current system of electing MPs that we are in this position.

It is necessary to de-construct the arguments now being put forward against a reform of the system a reform of the system

A further demonstration is planned for Saturday 15th in Central London. And whatever the eventual outcome, the momentum for reform is growing and must be maintained if we are ever going to extricate ourselves from the current stupid First-Past-the-Post system.

In the National Interest, the deal that must be done is the one that most closely paves the way realistically to a system of PR.