Tuesday, 11 May 2010

on the hung parliament and the Tory deal

There is a fundamental distrust in British politics between all the main political parties; if this is to change we must as the party of progress take the first step. If as a party we are to accept proportional representation we have to accept coalition governments and that no party will be able to dictate, not just now but in the future. Nick told us in the debates that we need to work together and we do.

In Germany they experience coalitions of all sorts, left-green, right-liberal, left-liberal, left and right! Both at national and state level, they cope, so can we. We need to look beyond this election to the next five, and what change now delivers for each one of these.

In this country we have created artificial divides where divides some times do not exist, in the struggle to reach the finish line we've raked up mud in the face of our opponents, driving society apart, lowering the quality of debate and creating generation after generation of divide, tribalism and the us vs. them.

So some Lib Dems might quit the party, but is it fair to accept that we have been battling for PR simply to exclude the Tories from governing, an eye for an eye? We've just experienced 13 years of Labour failure are we really arguing for more? We don't even know who the next Labour leader will be!

Let us not forget the gains. A coalition will see many leaving the Tory party too, mostly those on the right, they will be forced to choose either no party, a new excluded right party, or to accept that their views are extreme and join the mainstream political debate so that progress prevails over party for the benefit of all.

We need electoral reform and we need a firm commitment on this from the Tories, we also need the referendum to happen this year. What bemuses me is why the Tories are against a referendum on changing the voting system but a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty the full details of which no ordinary person could be expected to fully grasp they were all in favour of (aside from the gains they would get in ensuring that a 147 seat Labour majority would become a thing of the past).

So let's accept the Tory deal and the option to 'agree to disagree', a Parliament that truly debates rather than rubber stamps. Let's have free thinking MPs who represent their constituents. Let's start this journey down the path to political reform so that we can have all the other reforms, economic, social, and environmental in a chamber that is fit for debate.

Finally, let us have a Constitutional Convention, because this country needs a constitution to define the rules of the game for a new politics.


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