Consensual voting

Please, please, please can the Liberal Democrat MPs encourage the House of Commons to use a consensual voting system for the indicative vote today. The voting last Thursday showed how pointless voting in a competitive way is, when every option could be voted down.

What is needed is, yes, a vote for however many options are required, but also the ability to indicate what everyone’s least bad option is as well. The proposition that wins will then have a combination of positive votes plus additional affirmation from others for whom it is the least bad option. This would then be an indication of the true feelings of the house rather than a series of combative posturings by the various tribal loyalties.

How could this be accomplished? Very simply, the MPs would be required to place a number against the options in order from best to worst with the first getting 8, for example for 8 options, the second choice getting 7 and so on down to 1. All the numbers would be added up ranking them in preferred order. If this method produces a number of options which are very close (say less than 10% separating them) then there could follow an additional straight run-off between the highest two in which the winner is accepted as the will of the house.

This is a simple and straightforward procedure which would show the goodwill and sensible attitude of the Liberal Democrats to the country and the termination of the long drawn out saga of all options being defeated, however sensible some of them might be.

* Alan Kestner is a Lib Dem supporter who retired this year as a computer programmer working on learning material for the automotive industry and now devotes himself to painting

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  • Think you are worrying unnecessarily. What we need to ensure is that our Liberal Democrat MP’s actually vote for the Customs Union and do not abstain. Add them to the total, add the SNP who also abstained and it should comfortably pass. We cannot mess this one up.

  • William Fowler 1st Apr '19 - 11:58am

    I hope that the CU does not pass, the confirmatory referendum is needed instead… if everything fails then all MP’s can do is have a vote on revocation v no-deal at the last moment and instruct the PM accordingly, sure she will be happy with the historical verdict of saving the country rather than the immediate one of ruining Brexit.

    Quite interesting how the renewed interest in politics will work out in the next GE, though. Be hilarious if we ended up with another hung parliament, this time the Brexit Party and Change UK having the biggest vote.

  • David Evans 1st Apr '19 - 12:06pm

    I think you have left it a bit late to suggest our MPs encourage the House of Commons to change today. Or are you just engaging in a bit of April 1 jocularity?

  • David Evershed 1st Apr '19 - 12:16pm

    Whichever type of Brexit is desired, any type requires a Withdrawal Agreement.

    Wanting to have a Customs Union Brexit also means voting for the Withdrawal Agreement.

    Lib Dem policy is to Remain not a soft Brexit. Is failing to respect the referendum this a strategic error?

  • Let’s also hope our MPs are capable of thinking more than one move ahead, and don’t just vote again only for their favourite choice. Any softer Brexit option that requires more time leads to an extension, and with a long extension the possibility of a confirmatory vote, or revocation, remains in play.

  • You are dealing with fanatics and by their very nature they are unreasonable. They will say “Take a step toward me” and then step back, they will say again “Take a step toward me” and then step back”. They will not be happy until you have walked to their destination and even then it may not be enough. So what should we do, well stay true to our beliefs would be a start and don’t feel that you shouldn’t point out the stupidity of the Brexiteers because it just isn’t nice, stupidity deserves no sympathy, it deserves to be vilified for the damage it does.

  • Good news!

    I gather it is rumoured that a new compromise proposal is to be put in the indicative votes today that is thought will have near unanimous support. Unfortunately due to a technical provision in Erskine May it is thought that it will have to pass all its parliamentary stages today.

    It will see Britain being in and out of the EU on alternate days. People will have to choose whether to have a blue UK only passport or a burgundy EU passport. They will only be able to leave or enter the UK on their designate days. Those with blue passports will face longer checks and won’t benefit from cheaper mobile roaming costs in the EU.

    The supermarkets are thought to be co-operating by opening special shops. Those with blue passports will only be allowed to shop in some, those with burgundy passports in others. The blue shops will sell goods in pints and pounds and petrol in gallons. They will though have higher prices due to the higher costs of more customs checks.

    As there are an odd number of days in a year – Christmas day will be designated a special “in and out” day – everyone’s Christmases come at once!

    In a symbolic move UKIP and the Liberal Democrats are to merge. UKIP will be allowed to shout “betrayal” on in days. Lib Dems “People’s Vote” on out days.

    Some have pointed out drawbacks. But these are only thought to come from political journalist who are fearful of the issue being resolved. They have become as popular as doctors at parties and think they may well be shunned again as about as interesting as train spotters. People have being asking them “Does Erskine May really mean May has messed up.” and “What exactly is Standing Order 21”. They also fear losing their jobs as the news reverts back to covering other topics.

    MPs are keen. They point out that it is all the political journalists fault anyway – asking them awkward questions. They can go back to their long lunches and second jobs (£77,000 is far too little to survive on) which have suffered as constituents are checking whether they are turning up in the Commons.

    Doctors are worried that people’s mental health will suffer. As “Whatever you think of Brexit, the MPs should just get on with it. I don’t know what we pay them for” has replaced the weather as something to moan about with other people.

    Let’s just hope it will pass all its stages today!

  • I see the SNP – who are as strongly against Brexit as we are – are wising up and realising that parliament needs to come together behind a credible alternative if it is to seize the initiative from the government.

    If Parliament fails to reach a consensus today the Letwin process will be discredited and the government back in the driving seat to resume pushing its deal and increasing the risk of a no deal exit.

  • No David pandering to Brexiteers would be the wrong decision. You really don’t want to be a footnote in the history books as “And eventually the Lib Dems tagged along with the worst decision the UK had made in hundreds of years. While the fate of the Tories and many in the Labour Party had been to be long known as Brexiteers or Tagalongs, it is a mystery as to why the Lib Dems when it was obvious to the majority of the UK had come to the conclusion that Brexit was a disaster choose to climb aboard the sinking ship and Tagalong with this disastrous decision”.

    I appreciate for you your fate is to be a Brexiteer, you have my profound sympathy after all your fate is to be Con (other names have been used), any good you have done will be overshadowed by the idiocy of Brexit. For those that don’t know the sad fate of Con

    A Tourist visiting a Greek Village and saw a Old Man sitting on a bench, the tourist wanted to knowa little bit about the village, and the old man said see that house on the hill I built that. I should be called Con the builder, and see that boat in the harbour, I built that. I should be called Con the boat builder, but you make love to one sheep!!!!

    Alas the fate of Brexiteers is to be known as Peter/Glen/David the Brexiteer, a sad fate but not an underserved one.

  • @David Evershed re: “Whichever type of Brexit is desired, any type requires a Withdrawal Agreement.”

    The problem is that once the WA is passed, that is effectively the end of the Art.50 process and the UK leaves the EU, it will then (if I understand correctly) have nearly two years to negotiation a new relationship. I think the light is starting to dawn on some that it doesn’t really matter what is in the political statement, given it has no legal status, so it can be totally rewritten during the transition period – which we only get if the WA is agreed – hence why May dropped it from the WA vote package.

    So it seems to prevent leaving the EU, the game must be to stop the passing of the WA and get the Executive to withdraw our notice, before April-10. However, not having a WA is something the ultra-hardline Brexiteers also want…

    Is there anything to respect about the referendum and its result – other than it happened, learn from the mistake and move on?

    Given the increasingly open and divisive infighting in the Conservative party the major concern has to be whether the government and Parliament actually have it in them to handle the challenges that will be upon them and us, the moment it is clear the UK is leaving on the 12-April – with or without an agreed WA…

    Personally, given the shortage of time, any further indicative voting in Westminster on political statement matters ie. our post-Leave relatonship with the EU, is merely running the clock down further. Remember Farage et al want the EU to say “no, the UK is leaving on the 12-April”.

  • The way the party has been allowed to drift under its current leadership is why I have allowed my membership to lapse. There’s a real freedom from being able to look at the political choices on offer without the tie of formal membership, even though I continue to share the party’s values.

    The way Vince and co. have handled Brexit so far is pitiful. If our Parliamentary party cannot see that getting a soft Brexit option over the line that requires a lengthy extension is the purpose of today’s debate, leaving the issues of a subsequent referendum or revocation in play, then I cannot see any purpose in supporting such a myopic bunch of MPs.

  • William Fowler 1st Apr '19 - 3:06pm

    On the CU, it needs to be stated that this will require an extension and resetting of the WA rather than putting it in the non-binding political declaration, otherwise someone like Boris will take over and rewrite the PD. The EU have closed the WA but have said if Mrs May’s red-lines are dropped it can still be reconsidered.

  • Labour are being ‘whipped’ to vote for common market 2.0. I’d rather stay in but, if that isn’t on offer, CM 2.0 is the least brexit ‘Brexit’.

  • Nom de Plume 1st Apr '19 - 4:13pm


    If we leave on 12 April without a deal it will because the UK government chooses to do so, although there are now fewer choices than before. The two year period has expired and the EU has elections. All the more reason for the LibDems to be for a new referendum or withdrawal of Article 50. All other options like Norway 2.0 or the Customs Union will need to be ratified with the WA (provided the EU agrees). The WA on its own has failed three times.

  • Nom de Plume 1st Apr '19 - 4:21pm

    I would vote for the CM2.0 as well. If nothing else it will put some pressure on the Tories.

  • I am a fanatic. I believe that the main aim the party should be to tell the truth about Europe and build enthusiasm for the project.
    There is no need to tell people that our government is a mess – they know. Our job is to show there is an alternative. By that I do not mean that we should persuade people that we could do things not quite so badly, but that a new system of government is needed.
    Oh and why the attack on old Greeks and their relationships with sheep?

  • If we do not support either or both the Clarke and Boles amendmemts and both are defeated by less that 11 votes there will be serious consequences for this party.

  • Just seen Layla Morans ballot paper and her reason just voting for a Referendum and Revoke, (the latter seems a lost cause at this stage). The TIGS have not voted for either of the softer Brexit motions either. Put together that is 22 votes that may be wasted. We may well have made the PM’s day, there may again be no majorities for anything. Sometimes politics is more important in the short term, make life as difficult as possible for your opponent, not give them the chance of getting off the hook, if we have done that I will scream and probably resign the membership in protest. I pray other Lib Dem MPs have taken a broader view. Purism is all worth while but it can lead to gains for your opponernt. With Labour putting whips on for the Boles amendment they well get the momen tum of being agin it, by abstaining we are neither here nor there.

  • Lib Dem and TIGs have another chance tomorrow to show more political maturity. The result is in their hands and everyone will be watching them. There is a wonderful chance of really embarrassing the government, please do not let them off the hook again. Might be wise to vote for the Customs Union and the Referendum, not against or abstaining, could be our last chance saloon.

  • Peter Hirst 3rd Apr '19 - 2:24pm

    I think preferential voting with a system of counting that gives a tally for each option with then a second round of voting between the top two or three to get one over the line is best. I would make a second round compulsory even if one option gets over 50% of the votes that allows for second thoughts.

  • Alan Kestner 24th Apr '19 - 2:23pm

    I have put a post onto the government petition website asking for the house of commons to debate this issue and it has been accepted. If you agree with with the idea can you please go to “Use Score Voting for the House of Commons indicative votes” on their site and sign it.


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