We have to make this work

A few Labour bloggers and twitterers are crowing about Lib Dems ripping up their membership cards and joining the Labour Party. I don’t buy it, frankly. I’m sure there are a few, just as there are a few every time we update our policy in contentious areas. But not many.

To be a Lib Dem who doesn’t agree with the new politics is to fundamentally have misunderstood what being a Lib Dem means. Central to our manifesto in every year of our existence has been our commitment for fair votes (proportional representation). If you believe in PR, then by definition, you believe that the old two party seesaw was bad. By definition, you accept that the result of a fairer voting system would be a greater chance of coalition government. Nick Clegg made it abundantly clear during the campaign that he was willing to work with other parties in the event of a balanced parliament. Furthermore, he said several times that the party which got the most votes would have the greatest moral authority to try to form a government.

No-one has been betrayed. If you voted Lib Dem, you can be assured that our negotiating team ensured that a fair proportion of Lib Dem policies made it into the coalition agreement. In fact, the Conservatives have been more accommodating than most of us could have imagined they would. For what it’s worth, I would far rather have a Tory government moderated by the Liberal Democrats, than one which was unfettered. And deep down surely most Labour supporters can see that too?

I still dream of a fully proportional parliament for this country. That would be a parliament where coalitions would be a regular feature. Proponents of first past the post will be hoping this coalition fails, so that they can say “we told you so”.

For the sake of the future of our democracy, we must make sure that it succeeds.


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4 Responses to “We have to make this work”

  1. Great piece. Recently, in my personal life I have come to realise that you just can’t always get everything you want. If you try sometimes, you might find you get some of what you want. But you take it, and you bank it, and then you try for some more. It took many decades for women to get the vote, for black people to get equal rights, for the empire to be defeated.

    Progress happens step by step! It’s not what most of us wanted – but tough ****, let’s make the best of what we’ve got. I’d rather we start down that path today, tomorrow, the next five years – than stand still, go nowhere, go backwards: which is what Labour will do.

    Bravo the Lib Dems.

  2. I’m afraid this is deeply foolish. I am passionately in favour of the new politics, but they are impossible without PR first – not out of ideological purity but out of sheer practicality. It matters which order things are done in and the new politics in the old system will fail because the old system is so strong and destructive.

  3. Alex Burge Says:

    Deeply foolish – in your opinion.
    However I believe your opinion is “deeply foolish”.

    Would you like to explain in detail why “It matters which order things are done in”.
    Very easy to write such trite…

  4. [...] We have to make this work [...]

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