10 May 2010

Lib Dem Members Should Demand A Say In Any Deal

I had assumed that even without a referendum on PR, Clegg & Co would at least stop the Tories proposed gerrymander of the boundaries. Now I'm not so sure. Recent comments by David Owen suggest that as long as the gerrymander also favours the Lib Dems it would be acceptable. This is terrible news and puts a question mark over everything we thought about the Lib Dems on fairness.

I suppose when we think about all this it is hardly surprising - what would be the over-riding concern of Lib Dem MPs, fairness or the safety of their own seats?

Safe seats is also the reason why Cameron can safely offer a 'free vote on a PR referendum' knowing that only 10 Labour MPs, about 3% of the total is needed for the Tories to win a Commons vote to stop the people having a say. Basically the present system props up the present system by not delivering a parliament that is representative of what people voted for. 53% voted for manifestos promising a referendum, over 60% voted for parties promising a reformed voting system - Labour, Lib Dem, Green, even UKIP.

When it comes to fairness of tax or the media we also have to worry. The Lib Dems proposals to raise the income tax threshold to 10,000 will cost £17bn, most of which will go to those on above average incomes. At a time when public service cuts will be drastic, only the proposal to counter-balance this with higher wealth taxes made the proposal fair. Without the wealth taxes it is just another Tory tax cut. Maybe the Lib Dems will also cut a deal on Murdoch in exchange for an easier ride.

It seems all the talk of the Lib Dems being principled and democratic has disappeared now they have a real sniff of power. Suddenly it is not important to consult their members over any deal and fair votes can wait. We will have to see if all this comes about, but it is looking increasingly likely. Lib Dem members and voters out there should be very angry, it looks like you are about to betrayed, to be sold out. You should shout very loudly that you want to have your say on this.

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