We attempted in the House of Lords to have a third choice of proportional representation put in front of the British people in the forthcoming referendum on electoral reform. We failed because of the refusal of the two political forces that now totally dominate parliament, the coalition government and the Labour party.
Yet we know that there exists within the British electorate a high percentage of voters who do not accept, on a major constitutional issue that seeks to test public opinion on electoral reform, that the referendum should deliberately exclude the option of a proportional voting system. This is particularly so since proportional representation has been at the core of election campaigns over at least 30 years by the Liberal party, the SDP, the Green party and, up to late 2009, the Liberal Democrats.
We recognise that some of those strongly committed to proportional representation genuinely believe that the alternative vote is an incremental step to the fairer system of proportional representation. But we do not accept that the electoral voting system can be subject to repeated reform. Once changed, a new voting system has to be tested over a substantial period of time – otherwise it will destabilise our political system and encourage cynical attempts to change the system for reasons of partisan advantage.
In the light of that conclusion, based on the fundamental need for stability in constitutional reform, we will reluctantly vote no to the alternative vote, while continuing to campaign for the principles behind proportional representation under the slogan "No to AV, Yes to PR".
Friday, 11 March 2011
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE ... 1
It's questionable whether the support of David Alton and David Owen is much help for any cause, but what the hell. This ghoulish pair, along with the Bishop of Blackburn, Nicholas Trench and Robert Skidelsky have a letter in the Guardian making some salient points: