Archive for July, 2010

Success for our Campaign: Government backs Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum

July 28, 2010

For over ten years our Campaign for Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum in Britain has worked to promote genuine direct democracy. So we welcome the inclusion of our major proposals in the coalition agreement of the new Conservative and Liberal-Democrat government.

In short:
The Government backs our proposals for Initiative, Citizens’ Referendum and Recall (sacking) of Members of Parliament!

Three items from the coalition paper:

We will give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue.

We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.

We will ensure that any petition that secures 100,000 signatures will be eligible for formal debate in Parliament. The petition with the most signatures will enable members of the public to table a bill eligible to be voted on in Parliament.

Campaign work must continue!

The realisation of these coalition proposals would bring considerable improvement to public participation in government. This reform could become a quiet revolution, a move from “steered” democracy to one with practicable, pro-active and veto rights for everyone, in a living, everyday democracy at local and national levels.

In order to ensure that these promises are fulfilled our Campaign will continue. There is a long way to go before legislators in parliament formally introduce genuine citizen-led democracy. Broad public demand for progress on this must become loudly audible. Our Campaign will:
— inform
— educate
— advocate
— lobby
— publish
— research

All of these activities depend on real people doing hard work with professional skill and original flair.

The Campaign for Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum in Britain needs helpers and support, see volunteer support index
Independent of any political party


Electoral system referendum announced

July 5, 2010

The Con/LibDem government has announced that a bill about the electoral system will be submitted to parliament proposing a referendum on May 5, 2011, on whether to keep “first-past-the-post” or switch to another system known as the Alternative Vote (AV).

Why must we be satisfied with the offer (see below*), made first by a desperate Labour party last year, of such a bad “reform” of the electoral system, “alternative vote”? New Zealand in the 1990s showed us a democratic way to go from first-past-the-post to a fairer and party-proportional system. In 1992 the people of New Zealand were asked (a) if they want a change then (b) which of four electoral systems they would prefer! The systems considered were: Mixed Member Proportional, Supplementary Member, Single Transferable Vote, or Preferential Voting. For descriptions of these consult the Electoral Reform Society or the London School of Economics Guide.

The Conservative/LibDem coalition’s plans are not chiselled in stone. With an effective campaign one or more alternatives to AV and FPTP could be pushed into the public debate and so widen eventual choice.


* See some comments:
Cameron Clear as Mud on AV. WSJ Blogs Iain Martin On Politics July 5, 2010

Nick Clegg July 2010 “Surely when dissatisfaction with politics is so great, one of our first acts must be to give people their own say over something as fundamental as how they elect their MPs.”

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