Saturday, May 08, 2010

Clegg Feels The Heat as PR Protesters Take To The Streets.

And now, as expected, Clegg is facing pressure from supporters, insisting that he stick to his guns on the subject of PR.

He addressed a demonstration in central London today demanding electoral reform.

Alex Salmond had spoken to the rally earlier promising that the Liberal Democrats can get what they want with a different coalition.

The assumption is a Tory/Liberal Democrat pact is not correct. There are alternative and more progressive options available if politicians have the will to seize the moment. The SNP and Plaid are indicating that we do.

If Labour (258 MPs), the Lib Dems (57 MPs), the SNP (6 MPs), Plaid Cymru (3 MPs), the SDLP (3 MPs) and the Greens (1 MP) all join forces, they would have 328 votes in the Commons - a majority.

I have never understood Clegg's position because I have friends who voted Liberal Democrat in places like Richmond, Surrey, precisely because they wanted to stop Cameron becoming Prime Minister.

There is simply no natural alliance between the Liberals and the Tories.

The Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform has urged Clegg to resist the Tories offers:

The Tories want to seduce Clegg into throwing away this golden opportunity for delivering a new, consensus-seeking political system. David Cameron's promise would see PR kicked into the long grass. He would be looking to call a second general election before it reports.

By contrast, Labour's manifesto contained clear pledges to have a referendum on scrapping the broken first-past-the-post system, and having a second chamber elected on a form of proportional representation.

Who would the Lib Dems prefer to work with? Conservatives offering cynical promises they don't believe in, or principled supporters of the reforms for which Liberal Democracts have so long campaigned?

Nick Clegg has addressed the crowd and stated this.
I never thought in my wildest imagination that central London would have 1,000 protesters protesting for PR.
He has refused to discuss the talks taking place with the Tories, but he offered those marching this reassurance.
But take it from me. Reforming politics is one of the reason I went into politics ... I genuinely believe it is in the national interest ... for us to use this opportunity to usher in a new politics.
He's not saying that he'll hold out for PR, but he certainly knows that he'll disappoint a lot of supporters if he settles for anything less.

Click here for full article.

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