Proportional Representation? Well Electoral reform of some kind seems to be on more people’s cards than before

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cross-party-alliance-draws-up-plan-to-secure-proportional-representation-by-2021-a6853811.html

The Independent has the story – see link above

I must admit that I felt that electoral reform had been killed off for at least a generation when in the 2011 referendum British voters voted 2 to 1 to keep our wholly unrepresentative first past the post voting system. Indeed, I thought the referendum itself was a bad move as the result, at that time, was always a forgone conclusion. Sadly, this was another misjudgement from Nick Clegg who could not get his head around the fact that once he U-turned over Tuition Fees nothing else he headed up (in this case electoral reform) stood a chance of ever being approved by UK electors.

But then the 2015 election threw up one of the most unrepresentative results in living memory with a Tory Government that over 63% of the electorate voted against. All of a sudden other parties found the electoral system was rather unrepresentative! I wonder how many of their members voted against electoral reform or ignored the referendum in 2011 but now want to see it happen?

Labour have always been against electoral reform although to give him his due their last leader, Ed Miliband, does support it. Labour’s problem is that in inner city seats our warped first past the post system always gets Labour MP’s elected just like it helps get Tories elected in the leafy suburbs and countryside seats. However, Labour can’t now win a majority of seats without taking many of those areas where the Tories usually win; even more so now the Tories are gerrymandered the system in their favour for the 2020 election and beyond. So what will Labour do? Oppose electoral reform and settle back to be an opposition party for at least 2 generations or smell the coffee and embrace fair votes?

Vested interests in the Tory and Labour parties will oppose electoral reform until their last breath so it’s a tough ask indeed. Or look at it this way can you imagine the Bootle Labour Party backing electoral reform before hell freezes over?

Sefton’s Parishes are being not being treated fairly

I have long campaigned for fair funding for the parts of Sefton that have Parish Councils, and am concerned that Sefton’s cuts do not adversely impact on the 4 Parish Councils that look after their own parks i.e. Aintree Village, Lydiate, Maghull and to a lesser extent Melling.

My concerns follow winning a battle for fair funding in 2009 when Sefton, finally agreed to pay to each of these Parish Councils an amount per acre that matched what Sefton paid out to maintain its own parks. For years the Parishes had been short changed because the Borough took tax from Council tax payers of these parishes but had not returned a fair amount to their Parish Councils.

My present concern is that, due to cut backs by the now Labour run Council, the 4 Parish Councils had been told to expect a 12.5% reduction in the return payments. However, it turns out that Sefton has actually been considering a cut of around 25%. What’s more this was not communicated to Melling, Lydiate and Aintree Village Parish Councils before they set their budgets for 2013/14!

This is a terrible way to treat the Parish Councils and how with 3 Labour Parish/Town Councillors on Sefton’s Cabinet did no one at the Borough Council know that Parish Councils usually set their budgets in January. Consulting with them after they have set their legal budget is simply not on.

We all know times are tough because of Labour and bankers ruining our economy but it is important that Parish Councils, which are grass roots of local democracy, are not trampled all over in the desperate rush to make savings.