Monday, February 29, 2016

Alliance Buildng Conference 8th February 2016

Seven political parties came together to campaign for electoral reform by promoting proportional representation. See this great video on which I am the speaker.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Proportional Representation

The following is a speech I made at the PR Alliance Building Conference on 8th February:

Proportional Representation

Ladies and gentlemen today, we took a giant step along the road to creating a fair democracy in the United Kingdom.

 I am privileged to stand alongside all our political parties as we step down that road together.

Why, as a Conservative am I so sure we will reach our destination?

Ask your local Tory MP or candidate why they do not support a proportional representation and I imagine this is what they will say:

I am in politics to get things done.   In order to get things done I have to be in government.   To be in government I have to be in the Party that has a majority of MPs in the House of Commons.   So look at it like this, under First past the Post the Tories got 52% of the seats with only 37% of the votes.   Labour is in disarray. We have a big lead in the opinion polls. We are implementing the Boundaries Commission proposals which will give us an extra 20 seats in the General Election. We are passing legislation which will harm the Labour Party through its funding by the Trade Unions.   We are cutting the “Short” money to all the opposition parties.   We are increasing the amount the Government spends on Special Advisers.   We are going to be in Government for at least ten years. Now, tell me why we should change the electoral system?

Arrogant – yes.  Goes with the territory!.    Complacent – Yes!.  

Why complacent?

The Conservative Party is the only party which has not increased its membership since the General Election.   Membership is about 135,000.   Compare this with the Scottish National Party which has a membership of 110,000 and only fights 59 seats in the Westminster parliament.   To fight a ground campaign at a General Election on a National basis the Conservative Party would need 1,000,000 members.

Both Labour and Conservative parties have similar but for different reasons, major problems

In the EU referendum, whichever way the electorate vote there will be a substantial minority perhaps as many as 10 million who will be bitterly disappointed and who may have voted against their Party for the first time.   They will be deciding which political party to support in the future.    Which party will the disappointed turn to after the European referendum – one of the major parties or another party?

The kaleidoscope of party politics is being shaken.

Out of the turmoil there will be a great demand for change.   Either the two big parties recognize this and change or other parties will take their place.

This will provide us here today with a once in a life time opportunity.   Out of that opportunity comes hope.   Out of hope comes action.   Out of action comes success.

That is why I say, by working together we now have that opportunity to shape all our futures.  Arm in arm let us walk together down that road to create that fair democracy that this country so desperately needs.