Countdown to Conference: Amendments selected for debate

With Autumn Conference just days away, the Federal Conference Committee met on Saturday for the selection of amendments, Emergency and Europ motions. You can see the full text of what we selected here:

As readers might be aware that the Vice Chair of Federal Conference Committee, Zoe O’Connell, and members of the committee, Jennie Rigg and Sarah Brown have sadly resigned from the Party, and thereby the FCC. In the first instance the FCC wants to express its thanks and appreciation for their service to the Committee and to the party. 

An election on the Committee was held for the vacant Vice Chair role, and Cara Jenkinson and Jon Ball have been duly elected as Co-Vice Chairs. Therefore, Cara Jenkinson and Jon Ball join myself as FCC Vice Chairs, with Geoff Payne as Chair. 

Please note that the submission for amendments to the Europe motion is by Thursday, 12 September at 13:00. You can submit your amendments here:

The Federal Conference Committee received 66 proposed amendments, 13 emergency motions, 5 topic debate requests, and 6 Europe motions, all of which were reviewed at the meeting. Unfortunately, as always, time is usually the biggest factor when selecting amendments and we are simply unable to accept all amendments that we receive. 

The list of all amendments, emergency motions, topical motions and Europe motions received is below, and to those less familiar to the terminology; there are two things that can happen to an amendment: selected for debate – this means that the amendment will be debated and voted on, and drafting amendment. These amendments have been accepted by the proposers of the motion and therefore are included in the motion and do not require a vote. 

With regards to the emergency motions; these will be balloted at Conference. As you can see from the list below, we received a large number of emergency motions and some of which are on the same topic. 

The summaries of the amendments below, are not those provided by the submitters, so they only give an overview of what the amendment addresses. 

Finally, don’t forget that you can now submit Speaker’s Cards electronically here. 

Title/Description Submitted by Result
F4 Continuing the Fight For Gender Equality
45 minutes
1 Pensions arrangements 10 or more Party Members Not selected
2 Add Councillors in line 75 SAO Selected for debate
3 Regarding internal party procedures 10 or more Party Members Not selected
F7 Business Tax Reform: Fair for Business and Fair for Society
60 minutes
1 International tax treaties, Additional resource for HMRC Local Party Drafting amendment
2 Environmental taxation 10 or more Party Members Not selected
3 Amendment to rates of taxation in lines 37-41 Local Party Not selected
4 Freeports Local Party Selected for debate
5 Removal of word “British” from line 47 10 or more Party Members Not selected
6 Change to wording in line 71-72 10 or more Party Members Not selected
7 Amendment to lines 37-45, conference calls for 1 and new clause 6 10 or more Party Members part selected
8 Expansion on international elements of motion 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
F9: Equal Marriage
60 minutes
1 Update regarding recent developments since submission of motion 10 or more Party Members Drafting amendment
2 Humanist marriages 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
3 legislation to enable Church of England and Church of Wales to conduct same-sex marriages 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
4 Regarding retrospective restoration of marriages which were annulled or divorced due to Gender Recognition process 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
F10: Fairer Share for All
75 minutes
1 More funding to local authorities 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
2 Citizens Inheritance 10 or more Party Members Not selected
3 Reference to UN Special Rapporteur SAO Not selected
4 Number of amendments relating to benefits, funding and Council Tax Local Party Part selected for drafting
5 Number of amendments relating to benefits, funding and Council Tax Local Party Not selected
6 Child poverty and North Strategic Transport Plan Regional Party Selected for debate
7 Instability of income and abolishing of benefits sanctions 10 or more Party Members Part selected for drafting
8 Company pensions schemes Local Party Not selected
F12 Rehabilitation of Offenders
45 minutes
1 Reference to victimless crimes and new clause 2j working towards ending use of prisons unless most serious and violent crimes, and removal of 6b 10 or more Party Members Not selected
2 Funding for Children’s Centres SAO Not selected
3 Introduction of Trauma Informed Approach Local Party Selected for debate & separate vote on lines 47-48
F14 Young Carers
45 minutes
1 Changes motion to cover all carers 10 or more Party Members Part selected
2 Travel subsidy for all carers 10 or more Party Members Not selected
F15 Stop Brexit to Save the NHS and Social Care
105 minutes
1 NHS as prevention service, highlighting role of local authorities and local pharmacies SAO part drafting amendment
2 Whistleblowing 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
3 Promotion of healthy lifestyles by Councils Local Party Not selected
4 Nursing bursaries Local Party Not selected
5 Removal of reference to minimum pricing of alcohol Local Party Selected for debate
6 Removal of reference to ‘sugar tax’ 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
7 SEND funding Local Party Not selected
8 Retaining the NHS as free at point of use Local Party Drafting amendment
9 Calling for a new policy paper on Social Care Local Party Not selected
F25 Music Venues
35 minutes
1 Removes certain sections of motion, and insert “and Councillor organisations” in line 41 SAO Drafting amendment regarding insertion / rest not selected
2 Business rate relief for music venues 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
F26 United Against Crime
85 minutes
1 Reference to previous policy paper Local Party Not selected
2 Extended direct access to restorative justice 10 or more Party Members Not selected
3 Relating to Stop and Search 10 or more Party Members Part selected as drafting amendment
4 Establishment of community groups 10 or more Party Members Drafting amendment
F29 Tackling the Climate Crisis Together
100 minutes
1 Including access to advice and best practice Local Party Not selected
2 Reduction of emissions and targets for doing so. Aim for net-zero emissions Local Party Not selected
3 Replacement of Unleashment of Democracy and new section 2 SAO Not selected
4 Reduction of emissions and targets for doing so. Aim for net-zero emissions Local Party Not selected
5 Contingency planning Local Party Not selected
6 Impact of climate change on poorer and BAME communities and previous lack of engagement with these groups Local Party Drafting amendment
7 Inclusion of taxi ranks and bus stations in line 145 Local Party Not selected
8 Requiring all new buildings to have solar panels and electric car charging points Local Party Not selected
9 Car scrappage scheme and reference to policy paper on reduction of VAT on electric vehicles Local Party Not selected
10 Carbon pricing plan 10 or more Party Members Not selected
11 Reduction of emissions and targets for doing so. Aim for net-zero emissions Local Party Not selected
12 UK to host 2020 Climate Change Summit and appointment of UN Climate Commissioner and team Local Party Selected for debate
13 Reduction of emissions and targets for doing so. Aim for net-zero emissions Local Party and SAO Selected for debate
14 Working to develop traffic light system on sustainability Local Party Part selected for debate
15 Climate Dividend Local Party Not selected
16 Graduated frequent flyer levy 10 or more Party Members Selected for debate
F34 Deprivation of Citizenship
45 minutes
1 Removal of lines 46-49 and 50-51 and in line 56 “2.” 10 or more Party Members Not selected
2 Replace Conference Calls for and replace with new clauses 10 or more Party Members Not selected
F38 Building Railways Fit for the 21st Century
60 minutes
1 Statutory consultees SAO Drafting amendment
2 Regarding non-commercial providers, and employee owned companies 10 or more Party Members Part drafting amendment / part selected for debate and part not selected
3 Rail subsidies for low paid commuters Local Party Not selected
F22 Business motion: Membership Subscriptions and Federal Levy
10 minutes
1 Change Liberal Youth to Young Liberals SAO Drafting amendment
F23 Constitutional amendments
60 minutes
1 Amendment of working in F23 line 7, and F24 line 3 A Federal Committee Drafting amendment
Emergency Motions
2 x 45 minutes
To be balloted at Conference
Economy and Tax
Freeports 10 or more Party Members Selected for Ballot
Energy and Environment
1 Amazon Fires Local Party Selected for Ballot
2 Saving the Amazon Forest Local Party Not selected for ballot
International and Defence
1 Regarding the State of Jammu and Kashmir 10 or more Party Members Selected for Ballot
2 Indian-administered State of Jammu and Kashmir 10 or more Party Members Not selected for ballot
3 International Crisis in Kashmir Local Party Not selected for ballot
4 Kashmir seeks attention Local Party Not selected for ballot
5 A duty to Hong Kong 10 or more Party Members Selected for Ballot
6 Hong Kong and Rights of British Nationals (Overseas) 10 or more Party Members Not selected for ballot
Political and Constitutional Reform
1 Devolution to Metro Mayors and Combined Authorities Local Party Out of order
2 Restoring Parliamentary Sovereignty Local Party Not selected for ballot
3 Standing up for Parliamentary Democracy 10 or more Party Members Selected for Ballot
4 Empower Parliament, removing the Royal Prerogative to Prorogue 10 or more Party Members Not selected for ballot
Topical Debates
1 Smart Taxation System Not selected
2 Imposing a progressively-increasing levy on carbon emissions. Not selected
3 Return of Chagos Islands to Mauritius Not selected
4 The ongoing crisis in Hong Kong Not selected
5 Uniting with pro-remain parties or working independently Not selected
F17 Europe Motion
60 minutes
1 Bollocks to Brexit 10 or more Party Members Selected
2 Brexit: Revisiting Liberal Democrat policy in light of emerging events 10 or more Party Members Not selected
3 Campaign To Remain 10 or more Party Members Not selected
4 Defend democracy Local Party Not selected
5 In a General Election Lib Dem Policy is Revoke A50 10 or more Party Members Not selected
6 Lead not leave 10 or more Party Members Not selected

* Nick Da Costa is Vice Chair of Federal Conference Committee

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30 Comments

  • Andrew McCaig 10th Sep '19 - 8:53pm

    I cannot go to conference but I think the “revoke” clause needs amending to say that in line with our commitment to proportional representation, we would move directly to revoke if we (or a group of parties with the same manifesto commitment) received over 50% of the votes cast.

  • Richard O'Neill 10th Sep '19 - 9:08pm

    @Andrew McCaig

    That would be a step in the right direction, because it needs some threshold. But ideally it should require more voters than voted leave in the 2016 referendum.

    Otherwise the party looks hypoctical and undermines all it has been campaigning for over the past three years. If Brexit is to be overturned a referendum is the only thing that will do that with any appearance of legitimacy. A govt elected by potentially less than 20% of the population cannot do that.

  • Michael Romberg 10th Sep '19 - 10:19pm

    Moving to a pure revoke position – ie without a prior referendum – would be a grave mistake.

    Part of democratic politics is making sure that the Losers accept the result. Given the vagaries of first past the post and the fact that a general election is not about a single issue there is no way that Leave voters would accept that a general election win for the LDs overwrote the 2016 referendum.

    Adopting a pure revocation stance would mean that we were showing ourselves as intent on victory over Leave voters, not on healing the country by obtaining Remain after a process seen by all as a fair way of settling the question.

    So I hope that the Conference changes the policy to one where if we formed the government we would set up a referendum and campaign for Remain in it.

    We would distinguish ourselves from Labour by saying that we would not negotiate our own Brexit deal – because there is no good Brexit deal; rather, the deal we would put to the electorate would be the existing deal Theresa May’s or Boris Johnson’s (and any other form of Brexit that has real support in the population and that could actually exist).

  • I also have serious misgivings about switching to an outright revocation position, linked to a claimed General Election mandate for any majority Lib Dem Government.

    There is a very real danger that, under the vagaries of FPTP, particularly with the increasing fragmentation of U.K. politics, a single party could obtain a Commons majority with less than 35% of the popular vote. That would not constitute a legitimate democratic mandate for any specific Brexit policy – whether a Tory No Deal or a Lib Dem outright revocation of Article 50. However, Andrew McCaig’s proposed amendment would address this point. Otherwise, the only truly democratic and legitimate solution to the current impasse therefore continues to be a “final say” referendum, including the option to remain.

    The bottom line here is that we either still believe in proportional representation – or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways – supporting PR when it helps us, but ignoring our commitment if the existing flawed FPTP voting system delivers a Commons majority to us.

  • Add me to the list of members unhappy about moving to Revoke. I think Layla Moran said it well on Question Time last week: It was along the lines of “Look, I hate Brexit and would love to just revoke it. But I think we all need to compromise a little, so my/our compromise is to not go straight for revoke, but to go instead for a confirmatory referendum in which we will campaign strongly to Remain.” I think this is a very good position that we have developed and owned for 3 years. And it is working. I’m really not comfortable moving to Revoke now, and giving the Tories/Farage the open goal of “You have contempt for the 52%.”

  • Ross McLean, here is Stephen Kinnock scoring that open goal as you predicted:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/10/lib-dems-revoke-article-50-undemocratic-no-deal-jo-swinson

  • Katharine Pindar 11th Sep '19 - 12:56am

    It’s clear that there are enough of us who feel strongly that Revoke can only be a last resort, and can’t be bandied about as if it were another telling catch-phrase like B…cks to Brexit, to offer an amendment to the F17 Stop Brexit motion being debated on Sunday at Conference. The actual lines in the ‘Conference reaffirms’ section. of the motion, lines 39-41, do say that Article 59 is to be revoked “if the House of Commons has not passed a resolution approving the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement one week ahead of the date on which the UK is due to leave the EU.” but there is a missing word, ‘only’, there which should be inserted at the very least. Amendments have to be submitted by Thursday. I suppose one of the closed Facebook groups can provide a means of settling and agreeing the wording? Once such an amendment is posted, I would respectfully ask our Leader to note it, and not let the Opposition and Media suppose that the three words Revoke Article 50 at the beginning of those lines can be detached from the rest of the sentence which qualifies them. What is reaffirmed before that is, of course, our commitment to another referendum with a choice offered the public and the Liberal Democrats campaigning for “the UK to remain a full and active member of the EU.”

  • Peter Martin 11th Sep '19 - 8:01am

    @ Michael Romberg

    “Part of democratic politics is making sure that the Losers accept the result.”

    Yep. That’s what leavers have often said.

    “the deal we would put to the electorate would be the existing deal Theresa May’s…..”

    If the choice is between TM’s deal, or something similar, and Remain, the Leave side will simply boycott the poll. The Leave side won’t then consider it to be a loss and won’t accept the result.

  • Michael Romberg 11th Sep '19 - 9:36am

    @Peter Martin

    We should – and certainly I do – accept the 2016 referendum. So the government is right to pursue Brexit. But a decision made without a plan can only provide a provisional mandate to produce a plan. Once the plan has been produced there needs to be a review. At that review all options, including not going ahead with the project, are on the table.

    The point about losers accepting the result is that it places an obligation on winners to behave in such a way as to ensure that losers accept the result.

    I would be happy with a multiple-choice referendum where all available Brexits that have some real support in the country are considered. There are options for how to handle such a referendum, including Round 1 choose best available Brexit; Round 2 best Brexit v Remain.

  • Firstly it is nice to see this report. I wondered if one is normally done on the amendments and I wondered who would do it after the resignation of Zoe O’Connell.

    If someone is looking for someone to put down as one of the 10 members needed to submit an amendment along the lines of Andrew McCaig’s suggestion, I am happy to give you my necessary details.

    Also members could request a separate vote – https://www.libdems.org.uk/submit_separate_votes

    I am thinking about doing so on lines 47 to 49 “with the election of a Liberal Democrat majority government to be recognised as an unequivocal mandate to revoke Article 50”.

  • Nick Da Costa,

    Thank you for posting this. I am surprised that you did not take the description of one of the amendments on F10 from its explanation – restoration of the 2012 benefit cuts and ending relative poverty. Perhaps it was number 5 on your list.

  • Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend Conference, but otherwise would be happy to support any appropriate amendment(s) or separate votes as discussed in the comments above.

  • Peter Martin 11th Sep '19 - 10:37am

    @ Michael Romberg,

    “Round 1 choose best available Brexit; Round 2 best Brexit v Remain.”

    Suppose the electorate is split along the lines of 45% for no deal. 15% for TM’s deal and 40% for remain.

    On the first round the remainers would side with the 15%. Remain would then win round 2. Leavers would abstain in disgust. There would be no ‘losers’ consent’. This is one reason why leavers are wary of being sucked into ‘let’s have another vote’ arguments.

    You are indicating you want to manipulate the process to produce your desired result. What should happen, of course, is that the 15% should be eliminated on the first round of voting and the winning option would be the one which has over half the vote.

  • Dilettante Eye 11th Sep '19 - 10:44am

    Michael Romberg

    “The point about losers accepting the result is that it places an obligation on winners to behave in such a way as to ensure that losers accept the result.”

    So it’s leavers who are to blame for petulance of hysterical remainers throwing democracy out-of-the-pram?

  • Paul Griffiths 11th Sep '19 - 10:54am

    Agree with all the reservations mentioned so far. A pure revocation message would great for campaigning, but only a referendum can undo a referendum. If the clock runs out and a referendum cannot precede revocation, then revocation should lead to Brexit 2.0 – done properly this time – culminating in a referendum.

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Sep '19 - 11:33am

    @Paul Griffiths
    “only a referendum can undo a referendum”

    Where in our constitution does it say this? Especially given that the referendum was (legally) only advisory, significant people with a genuine interest in the outcome were not allowed to vote in it, some who did vote will have died since, many new voters have come on to the register since, some who did vote will have changed their views (as indicated by subequent polling) – and no subsequent government can be bound by decisions taken by a previous one?

  • Michael Romberg 11th Sep '19 - 11:40am

    @Peter Martin

    Gaming a vote is quite hard – think of those Conservatives who joined Labour to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Leader because they thought it would make Labour unelectable.

    More here:
    https://www.london4europe.co.uk/would_remainers_game_a_three_choice_vote

  • Michael Romberg 11th Sep '19 - 11:44am

    @Dilettante Eye

    Remainers of course have accepted democracy. The government’s right to pursue Brexit and try to work out what it might mean has not been challenged.

    A decision made without a plan cannot commit people to go along with whatever plan is later worked out.

    Let’s go to the cinema! I wish to see a drama, you a crime film. We cannot agree. Are we stuck with going to the cinema or could we go to a restaurant instead?

    A belief that the 2016 vote means that whatever form Brexit takes must be accepted without a further review is not a process that would lead either Remainers or supporters of a different Brexit to view it as fair.

  • Paul Griffiths 11th Sep '19 - 11:59am

    @Nonconformistradical

    Well our constitution is largely unwritten, but I believe it follows once you recognise that the mandate conferred by securing a majority in the HoC as a result of a GE is qualitatively different from the mandate given by a referendum. The former is a broad authority to govern, not least because (as been pointed out) there is no such thing as a single-issue GE. The latter is an instruction, albeit woefully unspecific in the current case.

    As to binding future governments, consider this: Suppose a Lib Dem government held a referendum on PR, and won, but for some reason did not have time to pass the necessary legislation before losing power at the next GE. Do you believe that an incoming Conservative or Labour administration would be justified in saying “Sorry, that vote you just had is irrelevant because the people who organised it are no longer in power.”?

  • Peter Martin 11th Sep '19 - 12:25pm

    @ Michael Romberg,

    It’s not really about individual voters trying to ‘game’ the result. It’s about the overall system. IF we are to have another referendum, I personally could support a STV. We indicate our choices in order of preference. 1-2-3. What could be simpler?

    Leavers wouldn’t support your 2 stage system because it’s clearly weighted in favour of remain. There would likely be a boycott.

    Therefore there would be no ‘loser’s consent’ which, we both agree, is essential to the workability of the democratic system.

  • Peter Martin 11th Sep '19 - 12:45pm

    On the general point: an STV would solve the Parliamentary log jam too. We have to look at the situation logically. A simple yes/no vote, as Parliamentarians have just discovered, doesn’t always provide a democratic resolution.

    Suppose we have a single TV, and , say, 20 people who wish to watch it. We have 5 channels to choose from. It is possible that there could be overall majority for one channel but it just as possible there won’t be. A series of votes on the watching of every channel will be defeated.

    It’s no good then saying, as the EU are doing to us, “I don’t know what is the matter with you people. You vote down every option. Why can’t you decide on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want?”

    There’s nothing wrong with the people at all. It’s a lack of what should be a simple level of understanding which is the problem.

  • Dilettante Eye 11th Sep '19 - 12:50pm

    Michael Romberg

    “Remainers of course have accepted democracy.”

    That is blatantly not the case.

    The 2016 vote was for Leave or Remain.
    Leave won, which by definition thus takes Remain off the table.

    If as you say remainers accepted democracy, then your 2nd referendum would accept that the 2016 referendum had taken Remain off the table, and would have only versions of Leave on its ballot paper. By way of example

    a) Leave with no deal
    b) Leave with Mays WA deal

    There could be no Remain option on that 2nd ballot and disingenuously claim with any credibility, to have accepted the democratic outcome of 2016, which eliminated Remain.

    Indeed such is the transparent hypocrisy of Remainers that there is some bizarre attempt to frame your 2nd referendum with two versions of Remain.

    Does anyone seriously think that a 2nd referendum with the weirdly rigged choices:

    a) Remain in the EU
    b) Remain as a Vassal State of the EU

    Is ever going to fly?

  • Andrew McCaig 11th Sep '19 - 5:12pm

    Reading the above, I cannot go to conference either, but would happily sign an amendment.
    I have submitted an article for LDV setting out my argument in more detail, but so far no sign of it. I also posted up page.
    If anyone wants to contact me, email [email protected]

  • Michael Romberg 11th Sep '19 - 8:53pm

    @ Dilettante Eye

    Your method is just not how decisions are taken. Just think of normal life.

    Let’s have a picnic. Oh it’s raining. Under your system our only choice would be umbrella or raincoat. In reality we would choose not to have a picnic.

    I wish to move home. I look at all the available flats and there is none that is better than the one I have. Under your rules I would have to move into a worse flat because of my original decision to move.

    No decision is final until there is a plan whose costs and benefits, risks and opportunities can be assessed. Only then can you decide whether going with the plan is better than not taking the idea forward.

    So yes, obviously, Remain is an option when at last Brexit is defined and formed into a plan that can be set against it.

    As I said in my original post, I am quite happy to have multiple Leave options on the ballot paper. My constraints would be that they should actually exist and have a degree of support in the country.

  • Dilettante Eye 11th Sep '19 - 9:03pm

    Michael Romberg

    “So yes, obviously, Remain is an option”

    Which as I said, means that you disrespect the democratic outcome of the 2016 referendum, which endorsed Leave and eliminated remain as an option.

  • Michael Romberge
    Actually your picnic analogy doesn’t work. It’s more like we’ve had a vote on whether or not to go to the cinema or stay at home and watch what you want to watch because you’re used to getting your own way . The vote was to go to the cinema, but you have dug in and insist that nothing at the local multiplex could ever match your favourite program and anyway it’s cheaper to stay in and the streets can be a bit dangerous and all the neighbours are staying in . To me the answer is to shrug and just go out anyway.

  • @Peter Martin

    The problem with STV (or indeed any other “sort the preferences” mechanism) for the House of Commons is that in the current circumstances it would lead to a result which had more MPs opposed than supporting, who would not be under any obligation to vote for any legislation enabling the result the STV vote had selected. So it wouldn’t fix the underlying problem – that would need a GE, some mass defections, or a similarly major change in the political situation..

    The problem with STV for multi-option referendums is that it’s basically got the same problems as your “two stage” vote held in a different way: STV would see “deal” go out first round as the lowest first preferences, leaving a second round vote between “no deal” and “remain” at the two extremes. But if we instead went for Condorcet, then “deal” would almost certainly win as it’s preferred by each side to the other extreme. Obviously FPTP would lead to a “remain” win by splitting the leave vote across options. Other preferential voting systems are available.

    So the person who picks between Condorcet and STV decides which option(s) get to stand a chance of winning and which can’t. That in itself is a political decision. Given that, Parliament should be honest about it and do the job of reducing the referendum to its “best two” options first.

  • Michael Romberg 12th Sep '19 - 9:49am

    @Dilettante Eye @Glen

    You cannot eliminate the do-nothing option until you have a plan with which to compare it. If you have done project management at work you would know this from your own experience.

    At the moment there is no agreed Brexit plan. We do not know what Brexit means. Leavers cannot agree amongst themselves. @Dilettante Eye for example regards Theresa May’s Brexit deal as Remaining in the EU. Other Leave plans on offer include: Norway, Norway plus, Customs Union, Boris Johnson’s undefined Deal and No-Deal. There is no agreed Leave plan.

    To take @Glen’s cinema analogy: seven of us decide to go to the cinema, though three of us did not wish to and would prefer to remain at home. However, arriving at the cinema the four who wished to see a film cannot agree which film to see. Each wishes to see a different film and does not regard any of the others as worth watching, seeing them as just a version of remaining at home. What do we do? Watch a film making one person happy and six unhappy? think of something else?

    We are having to deal with the problem that in 2016 the Leave campaign consciously decided not to advance a plan for what Brexit would be, what the point of it was. As Cummings’ blogs made clear that was because it would not be possible to get the various pro-Leave factions with their irreconcilable objectives to agree; and his view that voters did not care. He was right on the first point. But the disputes between Leavers about what Leave means – see Dilettante Eye’s view of the May Deal above – show that his view on the second was true only for the period of the campaign.

    Once there is a consensus view of what Brexit is, once there is a plan, then we can decide whether to go ahead with it. Until then, all options are available.

  • Peter Martin 12th Sep '19 - 9:52am

    @cim,

    The ‘problem’, if it is a problem, you highlight with STV is argument against democracy. More often than not, MPs themselves are elected with more voters, at least on the basis of a first preference, opposed than supporting. But given that, somehow, we have to make a choice the STV or AV is as good a way as any of addressing the problem.

    I don’t agree that TM’s deal would be the likely second choice of no-deal leavers. It’s lot harder to get out of the deal than it is the EU itself. So just as no-deal is better than a bad deal, so is staying in the EU better than leaving with a bad deal. At least we’ll be able to make a complete nuisance of ourselves 🙂

    If Parliament picks the “best two” options, we know what they’ll be. Leave will boycott and there will be no loser’s consent.

  • @Peter Martin

    STV (multi-member) is fine since the representatives don’t individually need 50% support – the PR aspect covers that fine. The issue here is that not only doesn’t AV (single-member) guarantee 50% support, it doesn’t even guarantee that there isn’t an option the majority prefers to the winner – again, bad for the losers to consent to the outcome if the majority would in a straight A vs B referendum have picked a different one. (Condorcet has its own weaknesses, of course, but in the abstract its tendency towards compromise options seems ideal for referenda)

    Polling on the matter does suggest that, regardless of what you think Leavers should think, they actually see May’s deal as better than Remain. Maybe not *much* better, but still better given the choice. (Similarly, despite May’s deal being terrible, very few Remainers would put “no deal” as their second preference)

    Yes, indeed, Parliament picking its best two would be seen as undemocratic by people who wanted one of the others. But if it puts up all three/four/ten and then selects by AV, it might as well have just put “no deal” vs “remain” on the ballot paper. So why not just pick that as the referendum question in the first place? (Other than the “what if remain loses?” possibility)

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