We have in the rest of 2020 opportunities to work with other reform groupings.
Besides the South West trade union meeting on 19 November, on 17 November we have the annual meeting of the Make Votes Count which still functions as a cross party electoral reform intelligence meeting chaired by Jonathan Reynolds MP.
Chartist Magazine has just joined Labour for a New Democracy. In their new magazine, you can read their article, Voting change at heart of new democracy, by Tessa Milligan, co chair of Open Labour which itself has pro reform position and in the LfaND coalition. And Chartist is looking to publishing a series of New Democracy articles in the New Year on voting reform and allied issues on the Constitutional Reform agenda, including devolution and federation, a written constitution and voting reform and issues like Votes@16 and Lords Reform which Labour is already committed to.
We have the Annual General Meetings of Unlock Democracy with speakers including Clive Lewis MP and Neal Lawson, Compass, on Saturday 17 November with their new Director, Tom Blake former LibDem MP who only won when his Labour opponent was given the role of throwing the General Election to the LibDems.
Then the AGM of LCER on 26 November, and of Electoral Reform Society on 5 December. On 12 December Make Votes Matter has one of its action days.
Lockdown apart, and do stay well and safe, some of us have done more reading than in recent years: I aim to catch up with autobiographies, Rodney Morgan and Paul Flynn, Caitlin Moran’s More than a Woman and Helen Lewis’ Difficult Women,, Yanis Varoufakis’s Another Now, Paul Foot’s The Vote and perhaps Notes from the Graveyard of Diplomats by the Swedish Ambassador Ingemar Lindahl. I ought to read the former UK Ambassador to Washington’s autobiography, Nigel Kim Darroch, Baron Darroch of Kew’s Colateral Damage: Britain, America and Europe in the Age of Trump.
This has ironically been a busy and productive year. We need the next, 2021’s New Year’s Resolutions to be resolutions, from trade union branches, Labour branches and all member meetings or constituency Labour Parties. Let ‘s focus in on the trade unions and the Red Wall Labour seats, lost or won where discussions on our voting system could turn around the default support of first past the post.
We need to thank all those who made our collective fringe meetings the success they were: Apsana Begum MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Cllr Doina Cornell, Mike Davis, Billy Hayes, Clive Lewis MP, John McDonnell MP, Sandy Martin, Jonathan Reynolds MP, Alex Sobel MP, Paul Sweeney, Nadia Whittome MP, Daniel Zeichner MP, Cllr Mark Child; and outgoing members of the LCER Executive, Andy Burkitt, Theo Morgan and Jane Speller and outgoing Vice Chairs, Paul Blomfield, who served as the Chair after William Bain from 2016 until this year now working with the Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves, as Brexit and EU Negotiations Shadow, alongside Cat Smith and Helen Hayes, and in the Shadow International Trade with Emily Thornberry Also our other Vice Chairs: the Peer Ruth Lister, and Sam Tarry MP and our two Honorary Members, whom we decided to create this year, Ron Medlow who took over LCER in 1983 and stayed on until he retired and Lord Jeff Rooker who was LCER Chair for the vital years from 1989 to 1994 when voting reform was as now in the air.
We need to convene our LCER trade union working party and have a look at new cultural messaging and narratives. We can draw on the arguments we used in the last thirty years. Making votes matter prevents taking people for granted and does not allow the rich and powerful to bribe or send different messages to the only sections of the electorate that matter. We the people can change that. You cannot fool all the people all the time but you can win elections with first past the post by fooling or communicating with some of the people, some of the time.
Let’s change that by telling people our roadmap to a better voting system. It is about listening, learning and working cooperatively even with people who don’t agree with us about everything.