LCER post Conference 2017 Briefing

October 6th was the last day to submit your application to stand for the LCER Executive.  Read below what the 2017 EC working closely with others have achieved and dates for your diary. 

 

LCER EC is the group who will coordinate, along with others, the attempt to change Labour’s position on our outdated voting system in 2018.  You can join LCER here (https://www.labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk/join-2/).

 

Although 2016 was successful for LCER with people queuing in the streets and turned away, Conference2017 reached a new level of activity and engagement with delegates. 

1.    Our stall featured a huge coloured map showing constituencies and current incumbent party, identified by MPs and other visitors to the stall. It attracted people to the stall. “That’s me”, said Luke Pollard, one of our new MPs, pointing to his isolated red constituency in Plymouth.  Emma Dent-Coad, Anna McMorrin and Laura Pidcock also showed up. We made useful contact with staff of other politicians who support electoral reform, delegates, visitors and stall holders.

2.    We had a computer program (thanks to John) where visitors to the stall could find their constituency, the name of their GE2017 candidate, learn the result and their position on electoral reform or let us know it. We are still open to add to our list so let us know or find out by contacting your Labour MP or candidate.

3.    Our stall with Make Votes Matter was staffed from Sundayto Wednesday – thanks to Benj, Dan, Joe, John, Joseph, Ken, Klina, Martin, Mary, Owen and Tim who together and separately talked with delegates collecting contacts for speakers to be invited to meetings back home.

4.    On the stall we had not only leaflets, LCER badges but of the new, post GE2017, edition of the many, not the few, the Labour arguments for electoral reform which was launched on Sunday.  Thanks to Joe and Mary we have a well researched (by Joe), up to date document which represents most of LCER and MVM accumulated evidence and values and which can be given to key people who can help change Labour’s position.  

5.    LCER worked with the Colne Valley delegates, Hester and Lynda.  Their constituency and new MP, Thelma Walker, had put in the contemporary resolution below. The Conference Arrangements Committee ruled it out of order but expressed sympathy towards the importance of the issue and the significance of the subject.  They referred it to the National Policy Forum.  Thanks to Hester and Lynda for their initiative and work at conference. See below.

6.    Policy Seminars, where shadow ministers introduce themselves and listen to input from delegates, were held on Monday and Wednesday.  The relevantPolicy Commission isJustice and Home Affairs which needs to hear your views.  The Colne Valley and other delegates raised the issue of changing our voting system.  So in future no one can say it never comes up.   The Chair, Diane Abbott, took a copy of the many, not the few and says she is reading it.

7.    LCER leafleted Conference on Tuesday morning with details of our main fringe meeting.  It quoted Chris Williamson MP who has changed his mind as well as 2010 and 2015 winners and quoted the late Robin Cook on vision and values. 

8.    Our LCER and Makes Votes Matter 2017 Brighton Fringe/Rally/Reception, Proportional Representation for the next Labour Manifesto? took place at St Nicholas’ Church, with thanks to their clergy for being there, with LCER Chair Paul Blomfield in the Chair.  He was joined by representatives of UNITE the Union, PCS, Richard Burden MP, Mary Honeyball MEP, Sandy Martin MP, George Monbiot of the Guardian, Lord Jeff Rooker, Stephen Twigg MP, Chuka Umunna MP, Alan Whitehead MP and Jess Garland, Research Advisor, ERS, introducing her analysis of GE2017.  Jonathan Reynolds MP and Julie Ward MEP joined us for the reception afterwards with Songs and Music. 

9.    Other fringes we supported and attended were: The Many, not the Few: Proportional Representation and Labour in the 21st Century, Alliance Building for a Progressive Future, Why Labour needs PR and Votes at 16 Rally: How to stop Teenage Voter Suppression.

 

The Colne Valley Contemporary Motion - Electoral Reform – democracy for all

Conference notes

The recently published report from the Electoral Reform Society (The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting, Random Results – 21 August 2017) found that

·         222 million votes were wasted

·         The last 3 elections demeaned the electoral process by resulting in the elected MPs not reflecting the total votes cast

·         An estimated 6.5 million voters second-guessed 

·         First past the post neither reflect voters wishes nor provides a strong government.

Conference believes it is now time to deliver electoral reform which will better reflect the democratic wishes of the electorate.

Conference calls on the next Labour Government to legislate, without recourse to a referendum, and in its first parliament, on electoral reform, such that representation in the House of Commons is broadly proportionate to the votes cast by the electorate.  

LCER and Make Votes Matter have agreed a minimalist model asking for Labour to reject our out dated voting system and to consult Labour members and particularly affiliated trade unions. This can be built on at your meeting or you can make an individual submission with your own arguments: 

Dates coming up

17 October the PR Alliance meets in Parliament (invite only event) s

30 October Parliament is going to debate the petition “To make votes matter, adopt Proportional Representation for UK General Elections”, see

https://petition.parliament.uk/archived/petitions/168657

 

Although LCER is committed to electoral reform, getting rid of first past the post, so that the next general election is the last to use this anachronistic voting system, we urge all supportive MPs to be there to fly the flag for Labour in this grassroot initiated debate.  If MPs not yet in favour of change ask them to consult their members or constituents.  Most of our Labour MPs who support the current system are in safe seats where Labour gets elected election after election but not since 2005 been in government.  They need to empathise with others less lucky and apply our values and vision to the corrosive system at the heart of our democracy.

 

Regional Conferences LCER (and Make Votes Matter) will attend with either a stall and/or fringe meeting. 

 

North West 4/5 November in Blackpool

East of England 18 November

London and South West in Plymouth 25 November – London 2-day

 

Contact us if you are going to any meeting with Labour members where electoral reform can be raised and be prepared to help us help the voting system on its way out.

 

Last but not least LCER’s AGM 2017 is on 27 November 2017. Keep the evening free.

 

2018 is the year to make this happen.  You can be part of this crucial change to our democracy. Join LCERs as an individual, branch, constituency party, only £10 a year (concessionary £5).  Together we can make it happen.  Go to our website www.labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk or write to EmailLCER@gmail.com.

 

 

Postscript for any talent graphic designers – we are looking to get LCER’s logos together and a housestyle to go along with new printed leaflets on: electoral reform and women, trade unions, young people, regions, rural areas, BAME, LGBT, environment, further reading, voting systems, democracy, what you can do to change the voting system.  If you can help us sort out our logos and get our arguments and quotations in place – LCER needs you!

John Doolan