Archives for posts with tag: electoral reform

As Steve Beauchampé writes in the Birmingham Press and Political Concern, generations of an elite have ruled this nation (with a few intermissions) for as long as anyone can remember, due to a rigged electoral system.

Their dual achievements:

  • comfortable tax arrangements for the few, a political/corporate nexus which ensures highly paid and nominal duties for all in the inner circle
  • vast military expenditure bestowed on the arms industry, as rising numbers of the population survive in relative poverty, wait in hospital corridors, receive a sub-standard education and depend on handouts to eke out their existence.

Direction of travel

Beauchampé:(The) economy is increasingly kept afloat by the economic support of China . . . The modern high-rise residential blocks that have sprung up throughout the capital may give the impression of a modern, flourishing economy, but look closely and you will see that many are all but empty, whilst homelessness and a reliance on subsistence level housing grows . . . “He notes that surveillance is at an historic high with spy cameras, and even microphones installed in many public places -describing the state’s ability to track the population and follow their activities and conversations as ‘frightening’. . .

The elite stranglehold could be broken

OB’s editor agrees with many that electoral reform is a priority for beneficial change – but even under the rigged ‘first past the post’ system, if the weary mass of people (Brenda of Bristol)  saw the true situation they would vote for the candidate with a credible track record who would be most likely to work for the common good.

 

 

 

 

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A cross-party alliance is being proposed in some quarters – see MP Clive Lewis and Jonathon Porritt, who responded to a call from Neal Lawson of Compass. 

On the 5th July, Clive Lewis joined Caroline Lucas, Sir Vince Cable, Tommy Sheppard (SNP) and 1,000 audience members at a sold-out Progressive Alliance event, in Westminster. 

MEP Molly Scott Cato suggested contacting Neal Lawson of Compass. She recommended this article.

Neal Lawson would like to plan another meeting in Birmingham to focus on building a progressive alliance to promote electoral reform. He spoke at the discussion initiated by the Green Party on building a progressive cross party alliance at the University of Birmingham on 2nd September. He said this went well – almost 1000 came.

All those satisfied with the status quo would support the argument made by Conservative former minister John Penrose that electoral reform would harm our democracy rather than help it and the issue should be left alone for a “long, long time”.

 

 

 

 

momentum first meeting city

Quiet, courteous and all-embracing – the Corbyn ethos prevailed at this civilised cross-party meeting, chaired by Rachael Harris, assisted by Richard Hatcher.

The writer estimates that about a hundred people attended the Priory Rooms in Bull St, with younger folk having to stand along the sides and at the back in the George Fox room designed for seventy.

A meeting with a difference:

  • no top-down agenda set by the organisers;
  • no invited speakers pinning folk to their seats for hours and
  • all who wanted to speak were heard.

momentum logo and pictures

Misgivings were voiced about the imposition of an elected mayor at this meeting – and at a meeting on electoral reform taking place at the same time in the Impact Hub, Digbeth.

Setting up local groups

Volunteers prepared to set up groups in five wards were found. One, from Birmingham University, fifth from the left at the back on the picture of a section of the audience, hoped to set up a group there and we may hear more from this group through the columns of ‘Redbrick’.

An accessible, affordable city venue

A group of disabled people attended, with speakers noting the effect of cuts on their lives, but primarily focussing on their inability to take part in many political events in the city. They stressed that an accessible, affordable city centre venue is needed.

Labour’s democratic deficit: a 20 year mystery to constituents and MPs alike

On her feet in the picture (taken and posted by Mohammed Jamil), Julia Larden, one of Birmingham’s most active citizens, focussed on the plight of Labour Party members in Hall Green, Hodge Hill, Ladywood and Perry Barr who are unable to function locally, to meet ‘officially’, to vote for councillors or to select MPs, due to being placed in ‘special measures’ in 1995. This situation has been described by Sandwell Councillor Bob Piper as a Kafkaesque farce; we read: “The first branches knew about it was when applicants to join Labour’s campaign against an uncaring coalition received a letter from said centralist bureaucracy explaining that they couldn’t join the Party because the CLP was in ‘special measures’ – although they weren’t offered an explanation either”.

The most imminent campaigning concern is agreed

As David Cameron returns to the issue of bombing Syria – execution by drone not only of ISIS fighters but also of civilians in the vicinity – it was agreed to focus on this issue before a formal proposal was made. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said “At the present time, the issue of the bombing of Syria does not seem to me to be the right way forward on this and so I don’t support it at this stage.” He insists that any military response should have the support of the international community and be legally sanctioned by the United Nations.

The meeting was united in enthusiastic support for Jeremy Corbyn and the aims of Momentum: to build a social movement for real progressive change, to make Labour a more democratic party and to work for a more democratic, equal and decent society.

Comment by email: Great counter-narrative to what we’re getting from the mainstream media,