Tag Archives: electoral reform society

A longer listen for the weekend: Can liberalism be better advanced by Lib Dems or Tories?

That was the topic up for debate at a fringe event a week ago at Spring Conference, hosted jointly by the Electoral Reform Society and Liberal Reform.

Lisa Smart, PPC for Hazel Grove, chaired the discussion, with Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne, Conservative and Director of Bright Blue Ryan Shorthouse, and the ERS’s Nick Tyrone completing the panel.

As Jeremy indicates at the beginning of his remarks, he can answer the question shortly: the Lib Dems are the proper home for liberals. But fortunately for the audience he elaborated a little, including some challenges that he thinks the party has to meet if it is to remain at the liberal cutting edge.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 46 Comments

The Orange Bookers v the Cameroons: Liberal Reform/ERS event at spring conference

This Saturday, March 8th, at spring conference, Liberal Reform and the Electoral Reform Society will be hosting an event in the Bootham Room of the Hilton York on the topic of Which Party for Liberals? Conservative or Liberal Democrats?

I know already that, right from the title, there will be some in the party who will be upset. “Why limit the choice outside of the Lib Dems to just the Tories?”, I can imagine some will ask. The binary nature of the debate was inspired by Nick Boles’ talk a few months ago about the need for a “National Liberal” party, one …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Opinion: Worst past the post? Debating electoral reform for local government

Last year in May, Scottish voters were given the chance to vote using the Single Transferable Vote to select their local councillors for the second time since the introduction of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act of 2004. The Bill owes its life to the Liberal Democrats; it was a key demand for us entering into the Lib-Lab coalition government in Scotland. Almost ten years on from when the Bill became law, STV has done what it says on the tin. It has produced almost proportional results (exact proportionality is pretty much impossible under any system), it has almost doubled the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

What to make of the new Electoral Reform Society rules?

Members of the Electoral Reform Society have been getting a weighty mailing through the post, ahead of a special meeting on 14 July to accept or reject a thorough rewrite of the ERS’s ruling documents such as its Memorandum and Articles of Association, Election Byelaws, Membership Byelaws and the Standing Orders for (Annual) General Meetings.

As the mailing indicates, 13 of the 14 Council members back the change, with one dissenting. As a result, I’ve been taking a read through all the details to see which way to cast my vote.

Overall …

Posted in News | 17 Comments

What part of Yes do you not understand?

We don’t normally republish lengthy pieces from other people’s blogs, but in the case of James Graham’s review of Don’t Take No For An Answer by Lewis Baston and Ken Ritchie, which doubles up as a detailed post-mortem on the AV referendum, we’re happy to throw those rules out of the window because of both the post’s excellence and the importance of the issues to future campaigning and hopes for electoral reform.

So here is a slightly revised version of the post which first appeared on James’s blogYou can also read Mark Pack’s (much shorter!) review of Don’t

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: The battle for the Electoral Reform Society – the results

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the battle for control of the Electoral Reform Society. The results of the Electoral Reform Society Council election have since come out and they show a clear victory for the ‘reform’ slate, eight of whose 15 candidates got elected. Just four of the existing nine council members were re-elected (the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Michael Meadowcroft, who topped the poll) with the other three successful candidates also being in favour of reform.

There had been talk of a legal challenge to the elections, centering on whether those given …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

5 posts to read before casting your Electoral Reform Society council vote

If like me you’re a member of the Electoral Reform Society, you’ll have recently received a thick wad of paperwork through your letterbox. The reason? It’s time for the election to the Council of the ERS. The deadline for voting is this Friday, 26th August, so time’s not on your side to wade through the 53 manifestos of those standing for election.

Simon McGrath wrote about the elections here on Lib Dem Voice this week, sparking an interesting discussion thread. But here’s a further five posts (in no particular order) I’d personally recommend reading before deciding how to …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Opinion: the battle for the Electoral Reform Society

One of the consequences of the failure of the AV campaign may be radical change at the venerable Electoral Reform Society. The ERS is conducting the biennial election for its Council at the moment with no less than 53 candidates standing for election to fill 15 places. There is also a range of motions at the AGM on 3 September, some of which would make fundamental changes to the ERS.

The main prize for anyone who controls the ERS is financial – they have by pressure group standards a huge income through their ownership of Electoral …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 40 Comments

Opinion: Unfair and unbalanced – the scandal of print media referendum coverage

Buried amongst the furore caused by #harigate this week was a pretty damning ruling by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) against the Sun and the Daily Mail. The complaint in question was made in relation to the AV referendum nearly two months ago by Electoral Reform Services – the business arm of the Electoral Reform Society (ERS).

The Sun and Mail were asked by the PCC to print letters apologising for some articles run during the AV referendum campaign. The article which ran on page 2 of the Sun and the front page of the Mail quoted George Osborne after he stood up in Parliament to claim that the ERS, one of the major funders of the Yes campaign would benefit financially from a ‘yes’ vote. This story was then re-run by Sky News and the BBC – subsequent rebuttals gave the story legs across a range of national media outlets.

You can be forgiven for not noticing since few journalists like to turn the spotlight on their own profession’s sometimes questionable practices.

Let’s just think about the context in which this fallacious claim was printed:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Independent View: Time for Lib Dems to ditch STV

With the loss of the AV referendum, electoral reformers across Britain are now looking at what went wrong and what changes they can make for the future to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We need our political parties to do the same, and that means a re-evaluating their electoral reform policies.

As absurd as it is, the perceived complexity of AV was a significant factor in its rejection by the public. The whole concept of preferential voting has now been tainted for a generation as overly complicated. If we are to engage the public interest in the future we need to …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 52 Comments

Ten questions for conference

Doomed!It’s a fair bet that much of the media coverage of Liberal Democrat conference will be of the form ‘THEY’RE DOOMED!’, with the more subtle coverage for the more discerning journalists being ‘Are they doomed?’.

That has, after all, been the standard media fare since long before the Coalition, since before Nick Clegg became an MP, since before David Cameron became an MP, since before Tony Blair become Labour leader and since before John Major became Prime Minister. My money isn’t on the old standard formula changing this time round for …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 14 Comments

Katie Ghose appointed new Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society

The press notice from the Electoral Reform Society says:

Katie Ghose has served for 5 years as Director of the British Institute of Human Rights, a national charity with a mission to bring rights to life for everyone in the UK. A public affairs specialist and barrister with a background in human rights law and immigration, she served as a Commissioner on the Independent Asylum Commission from 2006-2008, where she helped to conduct the biggest ever indepedent review of the UK asylum system. She has worked in campaigns for several third sector organisations including Age UK (then Age Concern England

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

“The Liberal Democrats aren’t a sort of glorified form of the Electoral Reform Society”

So says Nick Clegg in an interview for Radio 4′s Westminster Hour.

His underlying point is a good one – the coalition isn’t a single-issue coalition which is about AV and nothing else. And, as James Graham points out, the Electoral Reform Society isn’t a sort of glorified from of the Liberal Democrats either.

However, Nick Clegg does make the point at some length in the interview – “The Liberal Democrats aren’t a sort of glorified form of the Electoral Reform Society”, “I wouldn’t have stood for the leadership of the Lib Dems if I thought the only sole purpose in …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 36 Comments

Opinion: Why the Electoral Reform Society are shooting themselves in the foot

Recently, the Electoral Reform Society has released a study claiming to show how the recent election would have gone under the Alternative Vote (and the Single Transferable Vote). This study has been picked up by The Guardian, The Telegraph and the BBC, who all seem to be presenting the results as scientific fact. However, there are massive flaws in this study, which apart from making it plain bad “science”, very possibly end up sabotaging the Electoral Reform Society’s efforts to campaign for Proportional Representation.

The first problem with the study is its assumption that how people voted under …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 41 Comments

29% of seats have not changed hands since 1945

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

A major part of the point of a democratic electoral system is that those elected to public office can be held to account by the public for their actions. The anger we often see over the behaviour of MPs – whether on matters of policy (such as the Iraq war) or on matters of probity (such as MPs’ expenses) – is often aggravated by an underlying lack of belief that MPs will in the normal course of events get held accountable for their actions. Hence the paucity of comments along the lines of “I can’t …

Posted in General Election, News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

100 days to change British democracy

An email pops in to my inbox from the Electoral Reform Society:

Today we mark 100 days until the Queen’s Speech – and the government’s last chance to change politics for good.

If you’re a blogger or a web editor you can help the campaign today by adding our countdown widget to your posts or site:
http://voteforachange.co.uk/widget

Feeling creative? Well grab your camcorder and enter the campaign’s viral video competition. You’ve got less than a minute to tell us just what you think’s wrong with politics. Not long we know! But there’s a Macbook up for grabs for the best entry –

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Compass want Lib Dems at its conference

As a visitor to LibDemVoice you may or may not be aware of the work of Compass – the influential pressure group that campaigns for a more democratic, equal and sustainable world. Compass is about building a broadly based Liberal Left politics and as a Liberal Democrat activist we wanted to introduce you to our important work and to invite you to attend our National Conference on Saturday 13 June.

We believe that both the Tory and Labour leaderships want to turn back as soon as possible to the failed politics of the pre-crash – both in terms of the old economy …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 14 Comments



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