Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Well, after a late surge, Diane Abbott did receive the 33 necessary nominations to be a leader candidate, largely thanks to the John McDonnall dropping out of the leadership race last minute and urging his supporters to back Abbott (as well as several high profile MP's such as Jack Straw and David Miliband pledging their nomination to Abbott).
However, what I want to talk about is electoral reform.
Yes, in 1997 there was this 'promise' that electoral reform was on the agenda. And yes, some felt betrayed by Blair's lack of action on this. But if we keep looking at what he didn't do, we forget what we can and must do now. The Liberal Democrats have little choice, even if they decided they no longer wanted electoral reform as their heads swell uncontrollably because for once they're not a complete joke, many of their long term supporters want electoral reform, and they want it now. Lib-Dems are still the smallest party, in seats and membership, so they wouldn't dare risk betraying their supporters.
But what I fear is that they'll settle for scraps from the Tories, and there's no evidence to suggest they'll put up any real resistance to savage right wing policies.
AV is scraps.
When I say electoral reform, I mean a real proportional system, and I mean reform in the house of Lords, reform to factor in new forms of participation, reform on representation.
I want reform on spending, so that no longer does spending mean that Scotland and Southern/middle England receive too much money while the likes of the North and Wales receive far too little.
This kind of reform is unheard of in the Tory ranks, and spoken only in whisper from a brave Lib Dem in the Condem coalition government.
Labour needs to stand tall and commit to reform, regardless of the past and regardless of other parties positions. I want to see a Labour led left wing alliance in government, and a proportional system will nurture the conditions to allow other parties to grow, and not to Labour's detriment, but to Lib-Dem and Tory detriment, because the left's main weakness is it's multitude of divisions.
And when the UK embraces electoral and governmental reform, we can stand in the EU and UN knowing that we're a true democracy, and not a military superpower like the US (I say this because the only reason they are a superpower is their missiles and the ease with which their president can launch them at any time).