The Tories chose a scorched earth policy rather than trust in their arguments on first-past-the-post (FPTP) or in the judgment of the on to the British people.
Our guest writer is Willie Sullivan, campaign director of Vote for a Change
Yesterday, the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – which would have guaranteed us a referendum on a new electoral system during the next government – died during the wash-up process. The Tories chose a scorched earth policy rather than trust in their arguments on first-past-the-post (FPTP) or in the judgment of the on to the British people.
In wash up and armed with a veto not granted them by any voter, the Conservatives have killed reform of the voting system and reform of the House of Lords. David Cameron’s message is clear; and it isn’t change.
It is sad that the government have backed down. But it is a scandal that Conservatives have been so willing to sacrifice constitutional reform to further their own prejudices. This scorched earth policy reveals a party that is simply too scared to leave the verdict on FPTP to the British people.
All the other parties want change. The Liberal Democrats, the nationalist parties, the Green Party, and now even death bed converts in Labour. Even Tory voters have expressed their enthusiasm for this referendum. Now facing a General Election, the Conservative position is looking very lonely indeed.
Both parties claim they can deliver change alone. Yesterday Mr Brown offered us a Democracy Day, and a future referendum on fair votes. We welcome these moves, but we’ve heard promises before, we’re still waiting. Mr Cameron talks change. His draft manifesto even promises “Fair Vote” reforms, but he offers nothing that might actually deliver on it, short of an obsession with boundary changes.
We don’t have a referendum on the statute book. But voters still have a chance to vote for a change. A hung parliament is a reforming parliament. And that must be the objective of anyone interested in democratic renewal.
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