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.

6 thoughts on “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. 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. To Statler & WaldorfThe Barnet Muppet Party have been running the couincl for many years now. Never had you down as supporters of their regime. To RogWhilst this survey was harmless fun, it didn’t really address the reason why people vote for a particular candidate or party. I have long held the view that most people vote against, rather than for. Some people vote Labour simply to keep out the Tories, others vote Conservative to keep out the Socialists. I am sure many people vote for candidates they don’t particularly like or admire simply because they believe the alternative would be even worse.If I lived in Bethnal Green, I would have voted for Labour at the last election because Oona King was the only candidate capable of beating the dreadful George Galloway. It doesn’t mean that I support the issues she stands for.At the forthcoming election, I suspect there will be far more tactical voting than usual. MPs are standing down in record numbers, partly to grab an allowance that will not be available in the future (troughers to the very end) and partly to avoid the humiliation of being thrown out by voters. It would not surprise me if MPs seeking re-election, who abused the allowances system, found that even their natural supporters deserted them at the ballot box. Honesty and integrity will be more important qualities than party politics.

  5. It would do the people of soppy Liberal Lewes good to visit Sandwell. I am rahter pleased with Labour loyalists at the moment. Supporting a system that would have turned Labour away form the 4,000,000 lost educationally and otherwise impoverished voters and towards Liberal second choices would have been an outright betrayal of Labour`s raison d`etre ( if it has one .We have avoided an inward looking elitist stitch up and retained a real accountable choice . Under AV only a centrist mush would have counted so well done Bob.Where you were dead right was the insufferable arrogance of the Polly Toynbee brigade and it goes on. Their descriptions of the real Labour Party irritated me so god knows what it felt like to a Labour Party supporter .I think you have to accept that it was not a good night for Labour though, at this stage the Polls are grim and IMHO its simple. You spent too much , everyone knows it and until,l that is accepted and put to rest you are going nowhere. but then I would say that .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *