Well, so much work on electoral reform and so little time to do it.
On Tuesday 18th April, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that we are to have a General Election on 8 June, in addition to local elections on Thursday week, 4 May, in England, Scotland and Wales and metro mayoral elections in the city regions based on Birmingham, Bristol (West of England), Cambridgeshire, Liverpool, Manchester and Tees Valley. Doncaster and North Tyneside are electing their own mayor.
Various voting systems will be used, Single Transferable Vote for Scottish Local elections, Supplementary Vote for the Mayoral elections and our creakingly old fashioned first past the post system in English and Welsh local elections, and of course for the General Election throughout the United Kingdom.
We are asking our members, friends and contacts to do two things which could literally change the course of history.
1. Shape Labour’s Manifesto: Please reply to the Labour request for policy input here. Where it asks for other ideas point to the importance of Our Democracy and say that you want Labour in government to adopt or address the voting system, and in consultation with other parties, hold a constitutional convention or citizens’ assembly.
2. Maximise the PR supporting Labour MPs in the next parliament: Please let us know, at firstname.lastname@example.org the position of your Labour candidate on electoral reform. We have a list of Labour MPs who have supported in the past so we can let you know the information we have about your constituency. It would be good to have emails or other contact details during the General Election Campaign.
Most Labour MPs and some Labour candidates from the 2015 general election will be standing again. We wish them all good luck and can provide briefings. Several MPs are standing down and we need to thank particularly Graham Allen, Alan Johnson and Fiona Mactaggart. Andrew Smith has also been supportive since 1987 when he won Oxford East. If they or their staff read this it would be good to keep in contact when they change their email address.
But before we get to a General Election we have all out 32 council elections in Scotland when some of Labour electoral reformers are standing – good luck particularly to Stephen Curran and Richard McCready– and thank you for his work to Andrew Burns who is standing down see here.
We also have all outs 22 councils in Wales under first past the post. Good luck to those electoral reformers standing there. And then in 34 English shires. Good luck particularly to those who are fighting in Derbyshire, Durham and Nottinghamshire. Let us know if you are standing, your experience and what that means for the General Election in your patch.
If you have time to read, the Electoral Reform Society has produced its ideas on local empowerment here
LCER is not part of the Progressive Alliance and many of us believe that withdrawing Labour candidates is not necessary, could be counterproductive and is not going to happen. What matters is that people know which party is likely to beat the Conservatives in Labour-Conservative and Conservative-Labour marginals.
Also in terms of the new political culture we need a non aggression pact between non Conservative non UKIP candidates and Leaders. If these parties concentrate on how much they have in common they can change the mood music. The tactical unwind we experienced in 2015 where Labour got more votes and lost seats needs to be encouraged by a Labour offer on electoral reform, in the manifesto and by candidates like Rupa Haq, see here.
But do check out coverage of the arrangement made to support http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/left-wing-parties-progressive-alliance-general-election-tories-a7696806.html. And see latest polls where only Remain, younger votes prefer Labour