Sunday, 9 January 2011

Thoughts on 2011

Labour off the hook due to the short memories of many.
2011 is going to be a pivotal year for the Lib Dems. The Oldham and Saddleworth Bye -election is not looking particularly good for them and its seems the Labour Candidate, the very pleasant, Debbie Abrahams (who stood in the Colne Valley in the General Election) is probably in with the best shot. The Lib Dems got the bye-election on the basis of Labour's Phil Woolas lying in his election leaflets. As people in the political scene know the irony is heavy given  the many examples of lying in Lib Dem leaflets. Of course since then we've had the student tuition fees vote and the Lib Dems are now dubbed the 'Fib Dems' by people outside the political mainstream.

Labour appear to have got 'off the hook' with many people which is odd given they introduced tuition fees in the first place against a manifesto promise. Many appear to have the memories of goldfish where Labour is concerned and of course we'll never know what the alternative universe would be like if Labour had won the General Election but I reckon it would have still been a slightly different but still the unpalatable cocktail of cuts that we are experiencing right now.

So now we head into May, the local elections and the Alternative Vote Referendum. This I think was the Lib Dems single biggest error during their coalition agreement negotiations. The inequities of the first past the post electoral system are well known. Governments can be chosen by a minority of the electors and most constituencies are 'safe seats' so it is only the votes in a minority of constituencies that decide the election. This is not a matter for a referendum it is about what's right. Either the Tories should have simply agreed to a system of proportional representation or there should have been no deal, this should have been a 'red line' for the Lib Dems. Instead we have a question on an inferior version of 'PR' on offer which is acually not even proportional. A binding agreement to support the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote was what the Lib Dems should have insisted on. Of course we need to back the improvement that AV offers in the referendum but it's association with the increasingly  unpopular Lib Dems might ironcallly work against it in the ballot. The word 'fair' has been so contaminated and misused by this government that valuing 'fair' votes and been seen to be rewarding the Lib Dems by supporting AV might not sit well with many people. I mean how do we feel about putting the duplicitous Nick Clegg in a position of power after the next General Election? Though electors may have the memory of goldfish where Labour are concerned I don't believe they are going to forget the broken Lib Dem pledges for a long, long time.

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