Brexit – Why did it happen and will it hasten PR?

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07mj400/britains-vote-in-the-eu-referendum

I am grateful to my friend Bob for pointing me in the direction of the link above on BBC I Player, which is in the form of a series presentations from knowledgeable people who have tried to understand why people voted the way they did in the recent referendum.

The first speaker to my mind makes some cutting and accurate remarks about how Blair took power away from working people and thereby created the vacuum for UKIP to move into.

The video is quite long but it is worth sticking with it so that all the shades of opinion can be taken on board.

Where it leaves us to my mind and indeed to that of Bob is that we desperately need an electoral system where every vote actually counts as opposed to the present one where in many constituencies it simply does not.

In the recent referendum folks voted in reasonably large numbers because they knew their vote was of equal value to that of other voters. They also voted to bloody the nose of the establishment that had disenfranchised them on an almost bugger the consequences basis.

Obviously as a ‘Remainer’ I feel the result was one hell of an own goal for the UK and that the dire consequences will take years to unfold. But at least I am getting a clear view as to why the electorate took what at face value was an irrational decision with such worrying consequences.

Knowsley – And you wanted evidence that our warped ‘first past the post’ electoral system does not work!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/how-elected-without-winning-single-11266602

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

If this story does not show why our warped electoral system is failing people I don’t know what does.

What’s the point of standing against Labour in some Knowsley wards – the result is a foregone conclusion so candidates have stopped even putting up against Labour. This places our democracy under threat as voters end up with no choice because they don’t have an election through which to make a choice. Labour will get re-elected in some Knowsley wards no matter what local people think of them.

Credit to the Liverpool Echo for exposing this important issue and thanks to my spotter Keith.

Still life in Proportional Representation despite our love of a ridiculous electoral system?

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/owen-winter/proportional-representation_b_9615964.html

Now it can be no surprise that an old Liberal like me thinks we should have a fair electoral system and yes I know that probably two thirds of you readers would probably rather stick with a demonstrably unfair one. There got that bit off my chest but stay with me for the hell of it.

The link above is to an interesting Huffington Post article which rehearses many of the arguments for PR/Fair Votes. It also makes it clear that what we were offered in that odd referendum (remember it in 2011?) was not PR/Fair Votes. To be honest I don’t know why we had that referendum at all as it probably put back the possibility of a fair electoral system for a generation, then again that’s probably why we had it?

With thanks to my Research Assistant Roy Connell for spotting the Huffington Post article.

Britain’s political system will stay broken without PR

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britains-political-system-will-stay-broken-without-proportional-representation-chuka-umunna-warns-a6861161.html

This is an interesting article in the Independent Newspaper which Roy Connell has picked up on – well worth a read.

Must admit Chuka is a little too right wing for my tastes but on this he is right.

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?

Liberalism – What’s it like being a Liberal?

This short piece on Liberalism was prompted by a question from an acquaintance who asked me this very question:-

Liberals by their very nature are people with inquiring minds who want to know as many facts as possible about whatever it is we are considering.

You will rarely see a Liberal reading say the Daily Mail or Daily Mirror because they are little more than propaganda sheets to us. We don’t like our news filtered, we want clear information (not biased opinions) so that we can make up our own minds as free thinking individuals. We try not to jump to conclusions without the necessary information to form a reasonable view.

Liberals are environmentalists by instinct; we are seekers out of corruption, fighters against vested interests and are invariably suspicious of those in authority.

We know that global warming is probably the greatest threat that mankind has ever faced and if we don’t seriously tackle our wasteful ways and our unclean energy use future generations will be left to pick up the mess that we have selfishly left them.

We believe in electoral reform because it will lead to better and more representative government and the devolution of power from Whitehall so to empower people and communities.

We believe in co-operatives and mutual companies and worker participation in running companies.

We understand that a decent welfare system has to help those in need and that the NHS needs to be properly funded.

Many of us will be pro-abortion – supporting a woman’s right to choose, pro-right to die – supporting the right to decide how and when your own life should end.

Many Liberals will be involved in opposing nuclear weapons, objecting to the selling of any weapons to counties that do not respect human rights and we will often be peace activists looking for diplomatic solutions to conflict.

We are internationalist in our outlook because we realise that being inward looking nationalists is the road to ruin not the route to prosperity. Of course we are pro-Europe but we do want the institutions of the EU fundamentally overhauled to make them more representative of the peoples of Europe.

Being a Liberal is fundamentally about freedom to choose so long as the choices we make do not knowingly have an adverse impact on others or the environment that supports us all.