Tag Archives: House of Lords referendum

Opinion: The myth of the referendum convention

All three major parties committed to Lords Reform in their 2010 General Election manifestos, however Labour promised an elected Second Chamber via a referendum. This explains why Labour MPs dragged their heels during the Second Reading of the Lords Reform Bill, though a cynic may suggest that Labour did so not as its job as Opposition but because of a more insidious agenda to break up the Coalition. Nevertheless, Labour profess that their opposition stems from a belief that ‘constitutional convention’ requires that the Bill must include a …

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Opinion: Why a referendum on second chamber reform would be good for the party

The Liberal Democrats built their electoral success on the three ‘Cs’: Concentrate, Communicate and Campaign. The campaigning zeal of the Party took us from a handful of councillors and a few MPs dotted around the Celtic fringe in the mid ‘Seventies to a truly national party, with over 3,500 councillors, 60MPs, power and influence in the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, power and influence in over 150 councils, from Newcastle to Newquay, Liverpool to Islington.

Campaigning is the life blood of the movement we endeavour to create around the drive to seize and redistribute power. We do this by the simple means of helping people to take and use their power in their communities. Campaigning succeeds by involving people beyond the party in our campaigns. It energies and strengthens communities and nurtures the tolerance that comes from understanding others and identifying the common causes that link us. These common causes centre upon the injustice stemming from subjection to illegitimate power – be that banks that gamble with our money and provide shocking service, supermarkets that drive farmers to ruin and fix prices or bureaucrats who entangle citizens in red tape and restrict people’s opportunities.

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How referendums are the most effective way to maintain the status quo & what it means for Lords reform

Warning: this post contains paradoxes and thinking in progress…

Paradox 1: When asked, most people in this country say the current system of British politics needs to change. Yet the public consistently votes for small-c conservative parties and causes.

Paradox 2: As both a liberal and a democrat, I want a more participative democracy. Yet I’m sceptical referendums are the best way to achieve this.

A brief history of referendums in this country

Let’s take a look at our three most recent experiences in this country of referendums:

  • Just three weeks ago, 11 cities in England voted on whether or not they

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Opinion: Lib Dems should not fear a Lords reform referendum

We got battered last year. So it would only be natural if we were to be a little wary of plunging headlong into another referendum for changing our political system so soon after the public rejected our proposal for AV for the Commons by such a wide margin.

There are now rumblings from Conservative MPs and also the Labour leadership that any change to the Lords should be subject to a referendum. Nick Clegg has strongly argued that this is …

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Recent Comments

  • Marco
    I think Labour will borrow more to invest than the Tories. Nevertheless we could pledge to spend more than them in areas such as education, early years and soci...
  • Matt (Bristol)
    Peter and Fiona - I think the chaotic possibilities of the coming election could include parties not being able to predict which seats fall to them, and non-exp...
  • Marco
    @ Alex Macfie as well as the points raised by Martin another problem is that boundary changes can drive a coach and horses through tactical voting. For example ...
  • David Raw
    @ David Symonds "One of the key things that Conservatives and Labour like is negative campaigning". Watch tonight's edition of "Have I got news for you", Dav...
  • Martin Bennett
    I certainly agree with William that we could and should be taking a stronger line on depleted services and yet worse public squalor as a result of a stagnation ...