In a meeting with our lawyers to try and finalise our position on contract variations and delay payments to subcontractors. Pretty heavy going. The industry has a rather unpleasant culture of aggressive pursuit of unreasonable claims, with arbitration or court an early rather than a last option. For a naturally cooperative person like me I find this very wearing to deal with. It has been a very full and tiring day all in all.
I am a strong supporter of proportional representation, by the single transferable vote. I believe it would open up our politics and roll back some of the corporatism that makes our national politics so unresponsive. The purpose of this post is not to argue that case; we can do that another day.
Alternative Vote seems to me only very marginally preferable to first past the post. Rather than everyone having a good chance to be represented in a multi-member constituency, increasing diversity, AV advantages the inoffensive, it brings the elevation of mundanity. It is only marginally better than FPTP, which advantages the offensive and the funded to the exclusion of everyone else. The main reason I shall vote yes in the referndum is that at least AV will dispense with the ridiculous argument that the British people are incapable of ranking 1,2,3.
But after Barnsley Central it must be extremely likely that the AV referendum will be lost, because the electorate will fear it will bring an electoral advantage to Nick Clegg.
I rejoined the LibDems after Norwich North because I learnt from that experience that electoral politics in the UK are near impossible for an individual to crack. Ironic then that, as just an individual, I polled very nearly as well in Norwich North as the LibDems did in Barnsley – not just as a whole national party, but as a party in government. Indeed, as just an individual in Blackburn in 2005 I polled significantly better than the LibDems did in Barnsley Central.
Not only did I rejoin the LibDems, but at the LibDem Special Conference in Birmingham I voted for the coalition. But that was for a coalition agreement that bears no relation to what the government has actually done. I did not vote for £9,000 tuition fees. The LibDems could have abstained on tuition fees as the agreement I voted for provided – but it turns out that agreement was merely to placate the membership and bore no relation to what the right wing enthusiast Clegg actually intended to do in government.
Free schools, £9,000 tuition fees, ideological market mechanism reform of the NHS bringing yet more bureaucracy, internal invoicing, accountants and waste, 28 day detention, the continuation of control orders, war without end, children still in immigration detention, no sign of an open inquiry on complicity with torture…. I shall be astonished if anyone votes LibDem ever again. There must be some extremely happy Tories out there. Did they always know Clegg would turn out to be to the right of Thatcher?
A great many people are asking me why I am not leaving the Lib Dems. Well, I am a party member because of John Bright and John Stuart Mill. I am not leaving it because of a nonentity like Nick Clegg.
I am hugely angry over tuition fees. The policy itself, with the effective withdrawal of the state from university teaching and the reinforcement of social division, is a terrible disaster. The blatant display of political opportunism and bad faith by Cless and his ilk will poison politics for a generation.
But not only am I staying in the Lib Dems, I am seeking actively to recruit students. A very high proportion of the student vote went to the Lib Dems at the last election. Those genuine Lib Dem voters are absolutely entitled to join the party. They voted Lib Dem – this is not entryism from outside.
Every Lib Dem MP must win a majority of a vote of his local party members to be reselected.
Under clause 11.7 of the Federal Constitution if a sitting MP wishes to be reselected they have to either:
win a majority vote of the members present at a local party general meeting (conducted by secret ballot)
If that resolution is defeated then the MP can request a ballot of all members of the local party.
I want to see many, many students join the party, in places like, oh, Sheffield Hallam, for example. The answer to the disillusion of students with our democratic system is for them to join the party and actively participate in, oh, Nick Clegg’s reselection vote, for example.
I set out a comprehensive attack on the withdrawal of public funding from university teaching (for it is no less than that) here:
Now the actual figures have been released – £6,000 fees and up to £9,000 if you can prove you condescended to admit a few plebs – I do hope some Lib Dem Ministers will be shamed into rediscovering their integrity. But I doubt it.
If the object of this “reform” is to ensure that the Camerons, Cleggs and Osbornes of this world can go through life without ever meeting a member of the hoipolloi who is not serving them, it will succeed. If it has any other aim it will not.
The British government will spend less in total and less per student on higher education than any other developed country. It already spends less government money per student than the United States. This is a national disgrace much more fundamental than all the
macho nonsense about sharing aircraft carriers.
I am not at the moment resigning from the LibDems over the tuition fees issue. But I have seldom in politics seens anything as nauseatingly insincere as this statement from the Liberal Democrats Federal Policy Committee.
Tonight, Wednesday October 13, the Federal Policy Committee of the Liberal Democrats held their regular meeting.
During the meeting they held a special session to discuss the latest announcements following the Browne Review.
In a statement following the meeting, the committee spokesperson said: “FPC confirms the Liberal Democrat party policy remains to phase out tuition fees.
“We are now in a coalition government and we will continue during the period of discussion and consultation to work with our coalition partners towards achieving a policy that meets our key concerns and is progressive
I am not going to deconstruct it because it makes me want to vomit. Over to you.