Tonight, Labour leader Ed Miliband made the case for electoral reform in a key note address at the launch of the Labour Yes campaign, reports Shamik Das.
Tonight, Labour leader Ed Miliband made the case for electoral reform in a keynote speech at the launch of the Labour Yes campaign, in which he stressed how the alternative vote will help “build a fairer and better politics”, was “a fairer system”, spoke about the kind of party Labour must be and was consistent with Labour history – urging people to vote Yes on May 5th.
“In 1918, nearly a hundred years ago, Labour’s leader, William Adamson, led Labour MPs into the division lobbies in support of the Alternative vote.
“Eighty years ago, another former leader of our party, the Labour Home Secretary, J R Clynes, launched a bill to introduce the Alternative vote.
“Clynes told MPs that:
“…our system has been good, but good must give way to better…”
“Sadly, when the national government was formed, the chance for reform was lost.”
The Leader of the Opposition then explained the three key reasons for political reform, namely that “our politics needs repairing”, “the alternative vote is a better, fairer system than the one we have”, and it will “improve the way politics is conducted”.
The case for reform, he said, was simple:
“Politicians should never be insulated from those they represent. Opening up the electoral battleground will be a significant step in making more votes count. So on May 5th ask yourselves one simple question: Are you happy with the condition of British politics? If the answer is no, then seize this chance for change.
“The Alternative vote will make votes fairer for one simple reason: It will make more votes count. And when more votes count, politicians have to count on more voters. And at the same time alternative vote keeps the constituency link people really value – the ability to contact, even to berate, their local MP.
“So the reform case for AV is simple. If you want more voices to be heard – and if you want more votes to count – then you should vote yes on May 5th.”
“Our long journey to a better politics didn’t stop with secret ballots. It didn’t stop with universal suffrage. It didn’t stop with devolution. On May Fifth, we can take another step on this journey to a fairer politics.
“So I urge people to say: Yes to change. Yes to a challenge to the status quo. Yes to a system where more voices are heard and more votes are counted. Yes to AV.”
• Tomorrow, Left Foot Forward will have more from the launch of Labour Yes, including interviews and reaction.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.
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