Posts Tagged ‘electoral reform’

Tuesday News Review

06/07/2010, 07:34:33 AM


labour leadership debate

David Miliband in action at the Cardiff hustings

 Pity the Labour leadership contenders. They have made themselves hoarse on the hustings, but there are still three sweaty months to go. Yet they know they can only be a sideshow at this stage in the post-election cycle, when all eyes are on the coalition. It may be some consolation to the contenders to know they are doing their party some good as recruiting officers. At least 25,000 new members have joined up since Labour’s election defeat, a mixture of returners and disaffected Lib Dems. When ballot papers go out to MPs, trade union supporters and activists on 1 September, newcomers’ votes may have a disproportionate influence. – The Guardian

A common theme was the need to acknowledge that the last Labour Government had not only stopped listening to the public but had stopped listening to the Labour Party’s own members. Ed Miliband in a powerful moment declared that, “I do believe our society is too unequal. The gap between the rich and poor is too wide. That’s why I’m campaigning for a living wage, not just a minimum wage and for action on high pay.” This won the vigorously approval of Lord and Lady Kinnock who sat in the front row keen to champion their chosen candidate. – Western Mail

 If ever there was a moment for Labour’s rebirth, this is it. The C2 voters who walked away will bear the brunt of Conservative thrift, the once-Blairite middle classes are contemplating the scrapheap, and Lib Dem supporters are appalled that Nick Clegg has become the Trojan horse for Tory cuts. Yet in the greatest crisis to engulf Britain since the war, Labour seems oddly absent. The people’s party has become a travelling circus in which the five leadership candidates perform at endless hustings and get reacquainted with an electorate that told them to take a running jump. – The Telegraph


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Sunday News Review

04/07/2010, 09:15:18 AM

Electoral reform

“Labour needs a thorough debate about voting reform now that the referendum moment is announced. It would be a mistake for leadership candidates to nail themselves to an alternative vote (AV) or a first-past-the-post (FPTP) mast. AV was spatchcocked into Labour’s manifesto in a desperate last-minute bid to paint some radical hues on to the good ship Gordon Brown. But voters, not unreasonably, asked why it took 13 years for Labour to discover the most timid of all voting reform systems.” – Denis MacShane, The Guardian

“But regardless of what happens on 5 May 2011, it’s clear that one group is already benefitting from the prospect of a referendum: the Labour leadership contenders.  Until now, they’ve been distinguished by their indistinguishability on policy grounds.  But, now, their different positions on AV have gifted the Labour faithful something, however small, to choose between.  David and Ed Miliband have said that they would campaign for a yes vote; Diane Abbot says she would like to see it implemented; Andy Burnham is vigorously opposing it; and Ed Balls has pitched himself somewhere in the middle.  It’s one of the clearest, most wide-ranging distinctions we’ve seen so far.” – The Spectator

David and Iraq

“I suspect that David Miliband, who – unlike the two Eds – had a vote in 2003, still agonises over Iraq. Nor, with the Chilcot inquiry reconvened, and the war raised at every hustings and meeting, can it easily be consigned to history. “I’ve done Chilcot. I’ve said if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have [backed] it.” Is he saying the war should never have been fought? “The way I put it is that if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a war. I’ve set out that if we knew there were no WMD, there would have been no UN resolutions and no war.”” – The Telegraph


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Saturday News Review

03/07/2010, 09:11:03 AM

Electoral reform

“Labour leadership contenders David and Ed Miliband said they would campaign for a “yes” vote if they were in charge. But rival Andy Burnham yesterday dismissed voting reform as a “peripheral issue”. He said: “It is not my party’s job to prop up the Liberal Democrats by helping them win a referendum that is important to them.” The expected timing of the vote, on the same day as the Holyrood parliament elections, has caused fury in Scotland.” – Scottish Daily Record

“Mr Cameron always intended to turn the tables by pushing Labour out to the left. The coalition with the Liberal Democrats wasn’t planned, but it may make his task easier. The candidates in Labour’s leadership election could make the same mistake as the Tories after 1997, as they fish for Labour votes, apparently forgetting that they will soon need to appeal to the wider electorate.” – The Independent

“Labour has backed the introduction of AV for Westminster, but some Labour MPs still see the referendum plan as a chance to embarrass the Coalition. Ed Balls, a candidate for the Labour leadership, also criticised the suggested date. “Holding it on a day when some parts of the country have elections but others do not will lead to unfair differential turnout,” said Mr Balls. A May 5 referendum would also be in defiance of advice from constitutional experts. Earlier this year, the House of Lords Constitutional Affairs Committee concluded that there should be “a presumption against holding referendums on the same day as elections” because of the risk that voters would be confused and results distorted.” – The Telegraph


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