Author Archives: Chris Northwood

Chris Northwood is a Lib Dem campaigner and future council candidate in Manchester

Why electoral reform and Black Lives Matter go together

In a fair, free and open society, we would expect the makeup of our parliament and councils to reflect the demographic makeup of the area in which they serve, however this is not always the case. When some groups are over-represented, and others not, this can be symptomatic of systemic inequality, a potentially vicious cycle where an under-representation of voices from those the victims of this inequality means solutions to address it are not championed and prioritised.

By design, First Past The Post is designed to amplify many small majorities into a large majority on a representative body. By and large, many consider this feature to be unfair, but analysed through the lens of a system which already causes inequality, it also means the amplification of inequality such that those who either benefit by, or at least not penalised by, such a system are then over-represented on our electoral bodies.

This flaw of First Past The Post is one that’s not easy to rectify. When looking through a lens of gender, the mechanism of the All Women Shortlist was created to address this inequality, and by one mechanism it appears to have been effective – certainly within our parliamentary party, women have not only achieved parity, but have exceeded it! And in parliament as a whole, female representation has continued to rise. But the All Women Shortlist also has many critics, and puts into tension an individual freedom by suppressing a free and open selection process from all suitable candidates, with the systemic freedom of removing hidden barriers to entry for all genders.

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Funding a Universal Basic Income through Income Tax

A couple of years ago a friend gifted me a copy of Rutger Bregman’s “Utopia for Realists”. It ended up close to the top of my “to read” list and got read not long afterwards. Utopia for Realists makes a series of very clear and well reasoned arguments for a number of policy interventions that result in a better society. That one of the core premises is that a better society is an equitable one is one that should appeal to all Liberal Democrats – it’s very in keeping with the vision in the preamble of “no one shall …

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The Personality of a Party

I grew up in Doncaster, where the Lib Dems didn’t have much of a presence. I couldn’t have told you much about the Lib Dems, except one of them dated a Cheeky Girl. But when the first General Election that I could vote in came along, I did those online quizzes that told you which party’s policies you most aligned with, and kept getting Lib Dem. So I looked a little bit into the party, thought they seemed okay and cast my vote.

Years later, angry in the aftermath of Brexit and wanting to channel my energy into activism, a …

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On story telling

Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions. A good story engages the audience, communicates information and leaves a lasting impact. Stories spread either through small communities retelling it, with it evolving through each retelling or through mass media, which increases reach and minimises variation. Stories are everywhere, and with millennia of practice, we’re pretty good at telling them.

Stories are used as a lens to help people make sense of the world, and through relating to a character how they fit within it. When people vote for a political party, they listen to the stories about that party: Which story do they relate to? Which story is the one they want to be told? Which story is the most believable?

When a story is told, it is not said in isolation. A broader grand narrative will change how a story is perceived. As Liberal Democrats, we know what our story is. Our constitution’s preamble tells a story of progressiveness, liberty and community, so the challenge is telling this story in a way that feels relatable in the context of our current culture.

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