Author Archives: Tim Knight

Are tactical voting arrangements the key to Constitutional Reform?

Polls suggest that the coming general election will return a majority Labour government. While support for Constitutional Reform among the party rank-and-file has burgeoned (83% vote in favour at the 2022 Labour conference), and the major trades unions have come on board, the leadership is resolutely non-committal. Tony Blair’s New Labour took heed and included Constitutional Reform in its 1997 manifesto – only to ‘forget’ about it once the election result turned out to be a landslide. Thirty years on, and still the Labour leadership remains silent.

2024 presents arguably the best opportunity to introduce Constitutional Reform in decades. If only there were a way to contrive that the next parliament was hung, then the other progressive parties would have leverage – through Confidence and Supply arrangements – to require the minority administration to agree to introduce Constitutional Reform in the next parliament.

I suggest that a Tactical Voting arrangement could achieve just that result if only activists could swallow their pride and collaborate for the greater good. Many would undoubtedly find it difficult – even painful – to do what is necessary; but with such a prize to be won, would it really be so much of a sacrifice?

My proposal is to first develop a Campaign for Constitutional Reform; focusing on the PR‑Full element of Constitutional Reform (i.e. a fully-proportional representation process). All other issues relating to Constitutional Reform could then be developed in turn, once that electoral stranglehold was broken.

However, neither Conservative nor Labour would be willing to join a Tactical Voting arrangement which they did not dominate, and none of the smaller parties would be willing to join a Tactical Voting arrangement dominated by Conservative or Labour. Thus, in order to force a hung Commons, all parties other than Conservative or Labour must decline to stand in selected seats, and must encourage their voters to vote tactically.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments

The case for a pro-active campaign to force Constitutional reform

A BMG Research report published as-of 2019-11-29 (immediately prior to the 2019-12-12 UK Election) presented the results of a poll which interviewed a representative sample of 1,630 GB adults online.

The two main questions (and responses) were:

How much influence, if any, do you feel you have over decision-making in the country as a whole?
The responses were:

  1. A great deal of influence … 2%
  2. Some influence … 13%
  3. Not very much influence … 40%
  4. No influence at all … 40%
  5. I don’t know … 5%

Which of these statements best describes your opinion of how politics is working in the UK?
The responses were:

  • It is working extremely well and could not be improved … 2%
  • It could be improved in small ways but is generally working well … 14%
  • It could be improved quite a lot … 35%
  • It needs a great deal of improvement … 50%
  • I don’t know … 0%

Clearly, there was an appetite for reform. It is reasonable to assume that that appetite has grown since then. However, the supposedly-sovereign electors have never been offered a realistic opportunity to ‘indulge’ that appetite.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments
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