PR "They won't like it up 'em, Mr Mainwaring!" "What's that, Jones?" "Voting Reform, Sir. They won't like it one little bit!"
Originally published by Nick Hollinghurst - promoting social democracy as a Liberal Democrat and working for a greener world!
"They won't like it up 'em, Mr Mainwaring!" "What's that, Jones?" "Voting Reform, Sir. They won't like it one little bit!"
While tidying up recently I came across a copy of moderngov an occasional publication published by HM Government. It was dated September 2011 and the three main party leaders had been given a couple of pages each.
I thought David Cameron's contribution was very revealing. There he was, pleased and proud with what he felt was his "victory" in 2010 and with his position as UK PM.
So what was he so proud of?
Well, getting the deficit down (the "piggy bank" theory of economics) and getting more people into work.
Yes, that latter is very important to Tories! As long as they can keep wages down, but maximise the number of people going to work, then everyone will be working flat out just to get by, and no-one will have the time to get involved in politics and make trouble.
Then the usual things: Cutting corporation tax to help businessmen and freezing council tax so councillors have to focus on the bare minimum of services. Converting more schools to academies to bring them under direct government control and out of councillors' hands.
Yes, there were some good things in there: Triple Lock on pensions (a Lib Dem idea and now scrapped), increasing foreign aid (now cut back again) and "helping families" - but all that happened there was that the Sure Start programme of Families Centres (Labour's flagship project from 1998) was "de-ring fenced" so the funding given to councils could be used for other things and a slow and steady decline set in, which still continues.
Cameron summed it up in his own words as follows, "We've got to build a more sustainable economy, with new businesses, different industries taking roots, growth and jobs spread across the country."
But that was all about business for his Tory chums, nothing about you and me.
No word there about "families", "education", "health", "NHS", "environment", "mental health services", "climate change", "benefits", "public transport" or "communities" or "reducing inequalities".
Actually, "society" was mentioned - apparently it was broken - and "an erosion of responsibility" and "a complete moral collapse". So there you have it. Perhaps you and me get mentioned after all - as the people who are responsible for all the bad things.
It turns out, and this is very revealing, that what he mentioned first and what he felt was his greatest achievement was the Tory "victory in the AV campaign". They avoided the "real danger of a disastrous electoral system" and he rejoiced in having kicked electoral reform out of the public debate "for good".
So it's not snakes, or rats or spiders - the Tories' biggest fear is Electoral Reform!
So we must be doing the right thing to be pursuing it. We must continue pushing for electoral reform until we get it. But he was wrong too. It hasn't been kicked out - it's still in the public debate. And now we know that electoral reform must be the top priority for all people and parties that favour political progress and social change.