LCER New Year Briefing 2018
2017 has been the most successful year for Labour and electoral reform since perhaps 1918 when women, of 30 at least, won the vote and all men over 21 were enfranchised, thereby tilting the first past the post voting system, always a two party system, away from the Liberals and towards Labour. So one hundred years later why have we still got a voting system born of and relevant to the 19th not the 21st century?
LCER wants to thank all those who made this year so good for PR and voting reform. There was of course Theresa May who called a snap general election which allowed those who wanted reform to do a lot of work. There was a cross party dimension especially in the Progressive Alliance where local arrangements allowed candidates, particularly the Green Party, to stand down in favour of often Labour candidates. In many cases those candidates were electoral reformers. And in some cases they won and became MPs, or just lost, or increased the Labour vote. Well done to all the Labour candidates who espoused voting reform in GE2017, in their literature, in hustings, on the doorstep.
Working with our twitter account, @Labour4PR, we managed to connect with many candidates who we have subsequently made contact with or had on our platforms, or asked for quotations to illustrate the many reasons why Labour should endorse electoral reform, or drop its status quo support for first past the post in the near future. How about 2018?
We know we have a lot of work to do to reengage with Scotland particularly, with trade unions and totally with women to ensure they see reform as a principled and transforming political culture issue not a technical one to do with transfers, percentages or even proportionality. Making votes count and people matter is the project. We embarked on a programme of stalls and fringe meetings at conferences which has been brilliant in 2017. We have worked with Make Votes Matter to our mutual benefit, see www.makevotesmatter.org.uk. Like us they see Labour as key to electoral reform for everyone.
Over the last year, Damien Welfare, as Secretary, has reconstructed our LCER Constitution which is posted now on our website. He also oversaw a letter from our Chair, Paul Blomfield MP to everyone on a database updated by Mike Huggett and Mary Southcott removing many people who we inherited from Make Votes Count and the Labour Yes to AV campaign. In future, thanks to all this work, we have the potential to hold an election so think of standing or getting involved in 2018. We have positions for regional representatives on our Executive and as speakers and contacts on our LCER Directory. The idea came from Ed Straw who retweeted one of our tweets at the end of 2017.
Together with MVM we published our first and second version of The Many, Not the Few which details different Labour arguments for PR. Working with Joe Sousek (on our LCER Executive), who read an awful lot of LCER material over the years, Mary evoked Robin Cook's contribution in the last chapter of his The Point of Departure and his last speech at our July 2015 AGM when he spoke about the value of democracy and our vision. What he said was quoted in the Westminster debate on 30 October and on twitter over the Christmas/New Year period. 12 years after he died Robin Cook is quoted: “When we will, let us seize the opportunity to change the electoral system so we do not have ever again to return to elective dictatorship of the kind we have experienced.”
LCER supported the petition and it was brilliant to see all the Labour contributions from new MPs as well as those whom LCER has worked with over the years, read it or watch it if you haven't already, it is inspiring: or watch the video here
We particularly want to thank all those Labour representatives who spoke at the Debate, appeared on our fringe (LCER and most often with MVM) platforms around the country and others who gave us quotes, their arguments for electoral reform or worked on our conference stalls: Howard Beckett, Paul Blomfield MP, Ben Bradshaw MP, Richard Burden MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Anne Campbell, Sarah Church, Elly Curran, David Drew MP, Margaret Greenwood MP, John Grogan MP, Billy Hayes, Mary Honeyball MP, Mike Huggett, Rupa Huq MP, Maria Iacovou, Susan Elan Jones MP, Stephen Kinnock MP, David Lammy MP, Clive Lewis MP, Kerry McCarthy MP, Sandy Martin MP, John Metcalf, Cllr Robin Moss, Nancy Platts, Lord Jeff Rooker, Tulip Siddiq MP, Joe Sousek, Mary Southcott, Tony Taylor, Stephen Twigg MP, Chuka Umuna MP, Julie Ward MEP, Stuart Weir, Alan Whitehead MP, Chris Williamson MP and Daniel Zeichner MP.
2017 was the year we had a working website thanks to John Doolan, now our Administrative Coordinator working particularly with the Social Media group. If you are interested in communicating our message or have graphic design abilities or joining our speaker programme, do contact us on our new email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Kate Tattersall has run our twitter account since she founded it in 2015 and is taking a sabbatical in 2018. Thanks to her work and for our 9000 followers.
The 2017-2018 LCER team is :
Chair: Paul Blomfield MP
Vice Chairs to be confirmed: Ruth Cadbury MP, Mary Honeyball MEP, Susan Elan Jones MP, Baroness Ruth Lister, Daniel Zeichner MP (we will continue to work with and thank the outgoing Vice Chairs: Richard Burden MP, Stephen Kinnock MP, Clive Lewis MP, Jonathan Reynolds MP, Chuka Umunna MP)
Administrative Coordinator: John Doolan
Parliamentary and Political Officer: Mary Southcott
Treasurer Andy Burkitt
Trade Union Officer: Billy Hayes
Local Government Officer Cllr Mike Roberts
Youth Officer: Owen Winter
Assistant Secretary: Cllr James Roberts
Justina Cruickshank links us with the Electoral Reform Society
Joe Sousek with Make Votes Matter
Martin Prior with New Zealand
Michael Calderbank who we worked with when he was at the Electoral Reform Society is now back with us at a crucial time
Prem Sharma our long standing supporter and link with other BAME members
We have coopted: Ken Ritchie to be our East Midlands Executive Regional Representative
and Benjamin Eckford for the North East.
We seek to coop from Scotland and the West Midlands so the new Executive truly represents and has input from all the nations and regions.
New Year's Resolutions for all Labour Electoral Reformers
Support the movement for change, Involve friends, family, colleagues, local party, union and women's forums
Write/speak with your Labour representatives,, we are still looking for the positions of some of the Class of '17 MPs and Labour candidates
Join LCER (£10, £5 concession yearly), it is easy now just go to www.labourcampaignforelectoralreform.org.uk
Request/become a speaker, we can offer speakers and speaker’s notes/copy of The Many, Not the Few arguments
Input into Labour’s policy process/pass a resolution, we need the Justice and Home Affairs Commission to hear from you
Involve women on platforms and membership remembering that it is only when women join the struggle that things change
Follow our twitter @Labour4PR
84 Cranbrook Road, Bristol BS6 7DB
0117 924 5139 077 125 11931
0117 924 5139
077 125 11931