Monday, 6 September 2010

Alternative opportunity!

I find myself in the position today, of totally disagreeing with the Labour Party, even if I understand their reasoning. However, if they're smart, there is a get out clause for them, which I hope they will take.

This afternoon they will debating the second reading of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, and Labour seem to be saying they will not be supporting AV, because the Bill includes the measures to gerrymander the constituency boundaries in favour of the Conservatives.

I believe this move would be wrong for all sorts of reasons, both morally, we had support for AV in our manifesto, and had produced legislation in the previous parliament. Secondly, it would be politically corrupt, which is linked to pouint one, and take away our opportunities to attack the Liberal Democrats on accusations of political opportunism.

The Bill is likely to pass, so we would merely just open ourselves up to accusations of opportunism, which would be true. We should support the things we do, such as the principle of AV, but then vote against those we don't. We can support Bernard Jenkins on deleying the referendum so it is held separately to the local and devolved elections next May. But we can oppose his attempts to fix the referendum on the lines of the 1978 referendums on devolution.

There is however, an opportunity to embarrass the coalition, without compromising on our manifesto commitments. Green MP Caroline Lucas has put down an amendment calling for a PR alternative to be added to the ballot paper.

We could support this, thereby forcing the Liberal Democrats to either vote in favour of something what in their manifesto, or against it opening themselves up to all sorts of accusations on betraying their voters. This would, of course, still be opportunism on Labour's part, but it would just be that, and not a betrayal of a commitment.


  1. opportunism not opposition...says it all really.

  2. Not an unfair comment ostensibly John, but there will be plenty of opposition in the way we will criticise the way they are going about the boundary changes, and give good reasons for opposing them. However, on this one element, we are possibly being opportunistics, but as you so often say, that's politics!