Gordon Brown will today announce legislation guaranteeing a referendum on voting reform. In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank the prime minister will announce plans to ensure those elected to parliament in future will arrive with the support of over 50% of voters, one method of cleaning up politics just days before public anger over expenses abuse is likely to be revived.
The issue of electoral reform has set most of the cabinet ‑ who decided to act now to bring in the alternative vote at a meeting last year ‑ against the whips office and a portion of the parliamentary party who believe the issue will divide Labour.
Hmm. The Labour Party has been in government for nearly 13 years, and I definitely remember them talking about bringing in some changes to the electoral system before the 1997 election.
Funny how they seemed to forget all about it when they looked invincible at the ballot box, isn’t it? They had plenty of time to bring in legislation to bring in ID cards, despite the massive costs and minimal benefits, but no time for the referendum on electoral reform they promised us 13 years ago though.
And now, in 2010, in the dog days of a government that looks like losing an election, they’ve suddenly remembered about that dusty old promise. They’re trying to dress it up as something to do with the expenses scandal, as though it wasn’t the poor MPs fault they were filling their boots whilst riding ‘the gravy train’ as Kevin Barron is alleged to have called it, it was simply because they hadn’t been endorsed by more than 50% of the electorate, bless them (although as Kevin Barron received 55% of the vote in the Rother Valley, he has no excuses).
Anyway – whatever the reasons are for bringing it up now, with no more than 5 months of the parliament left, one wonders what our MP, Kevin Barron, makes of it? The article above suggests it is a divisive issue within the party, but Kevin Barron – despite his protestations to the contrary – represents us. So I think it’d be nice to know what our representative thinks about such a major constitutional change. I’d ask him, but he completely ignores me. I only voted for him but have the temerity to expect something in return you see. Anyone else want to ask him what his views on electoral reform are?