Tag Archives: electoral reform society

Five Liberal Democrats elected to Electoral Reform Society Council

Five Liberal Democrats have been elected to the Electoral Reform Society’s Council. They are Crispin Allard, Paul Pettinger, Keith Sharp, Jon Walsh, who were re-elected, and new arrival Wera Hobhouse. There are also 4 Labour, 1 Green and 5 non politically aligned members.

The society has its AGM today at which the new Council takes office.

What surprises me, from the official announcement, is that there were only just over 3500 valid voters of whom less than 30% actually cast their ballot. I would have expected ERS to have more members and for those members to be more engaged in the future course of the organisation.

Posted in News | 16 Comments

The Independent View: Let’s make 2015 the last ever lottery election

Who could have predicted it? Who would have thought that four years after the Alternative Vote was firmly rejected by voters in a national referendum, we would be approaching the 2015 general election with First Past the Post at Westminster under serious scrutiny? Or that local electoral reform could be a realistic outcome of power-sharing talks between Liberal Democrats and one or other of the major parties (provided Lib Dems make it a ‘red-line’ issue)?

What are the game-changers? Firstly, FPTP’s supposed ability to deliver clear majority government was justification enough for many to put up with the obvious lack of proportionality.  That no longer applies. As The Economist says: “Unaccustomed and ill-adapted to multi-party politics, Britain is more likely to get weak, unstable governments. That will only fuel the dissatisfaction with career politicians in the main parties. And if the parliamentary system comes to be seen as both unfair and ineffectual, then it is in for a crisis of legitimacy.”

With FPTP stripped of its main justification, other arguments are also coming to the fore. In The Lottery Election, published last month by the Electoral Reform Society, Professor John Curtice argues that relatively small shifts in opinion could have massive effects at the Westminster level. Meanwhile, UKIP could come 6th in seats but 3rd in votes, and SNP could come 6th in votes but 3rd in seats. So far, so unfair.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

The Independent View: Constitutional reform is back in fashion

ERS logoFor so long, those who care passionately about political reform have been told there are more important things to worry about – that tax, welfare and housing will always take precedence over the constitution and questions of process.

The Scottish independence referendum has almost put an end to that kind of talk. As the Liberal Democrats have always known, politics and the constitution fundamentally shape the collective decisions we make, and are therefore of the utmost importance. The referendum also undermined the old put-down that no one cares about constitutional reform. Try telling that to the 97% of Scots who registered to vote, or the 85% who went to the polls. When the stakes are high enough, people will get involved.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 3 Comments

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
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    1994 Cannabis motion was proposed by Saffron Walden.
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    Hi Caron - at the time, in fairness, probably not :)
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