Monday 27 September 2010

To AV or not to AV

The question of what Labour does about the forthcoming referendum on electoral reform hits the Fabian fringe over the next couple of days.

A similar gathering of the reform tribes took place at last year's conference in Brighton, directly after Gordon Brown's announcement that there would be a manifesto commitment to support AV. The atmosphere was febrile to say the least, with many PR supporters crying sell out. Now Labour reformers are more reconciled to and united behind AV, but the party at large is not - witness the Guardian's report of Emily Thornberry and Sunder's exchange at the Fabian/Observer Question Time last night.

I have a piece in the new Fabian Review investigating the 'yes' campaign, and whether the argument for reform can be won - both in the party and in the country. I spoke to both Labour and non-Labour reformers and found that the politics were beginning to get torturously difficult.

Read it in full here.

Without a full-throated Labour campaign in favour, its very difficult to see how the 'yes' campaign can prevail. Ed Miliband's speech tomorrow will be something of a crunch time: if he does not make campaigning for AV a clear part of his platform for the next year, it will be very difficult to persuade sceptical Labour supporters of the merits of campaigning for the change.

* Today 6pm: Ken Livingstone, David Blunkett and Evan Harris debate whether the Lib/Lab coalition has "gone forever".

* Tomorrow 8pm: Fabian/Compass/Electoral Reform Society/Progress rally "YES to reform - Winning the battle".

1 comment:

Dave Thawley said...

Ed has repeatedly said he wants AV so its time he puts his money where his mouth is. I am sure he is honourable though so I am fully expecting him t come out and show his support now a load of pro reformers have backed him :-)