Thursday, 6 May 2010

I am voting Labour for constitutional reform: here's why

Ben Goldacre is voting Lib-Dem for constitutional reform.  Respect for his principled position, but I fear if others follow his lead, it is an approach doomed to failure.


  1. If the Tories get an overall majority, we will not get constitutional reform.  Therefore those in favour must vote tactically against the Tories, including voting Labour in a Conservative-Labour marginal.
  2. If there is no overall majority, but the Tories are the largest party by a significant margin, the Lib-Dems will feel obliged to consider coalition with them first.  The Tories will gain their cooperation by playing lip service to voting reform, e.g. by agreeing to a referendum, but in practice strongly oppose it.
The second point is the reason why I am voting Labour in a Lab-Lib marginal.  Labour and the Lib-Dems in coalition would deliver substantive constitutional reform.

Labour already have a good track record of delivering constitutional reform:
  • Adoption of the European Convention of Human Rights
  • Partial reform of the House of Lords
  • Partial devolution of the UK
  • Proportional representation in elections for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments
  • Freedom of Information Act 
If Labour are wiped out in this election we will not get constitutional reform.

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