Wednesday 25 August 2010

Will Glenda put her money where her mouth was?

At the election hustings I attended for Hampstead & Kilburn in April, Labour candidate (and now MP) Glenda Jackson impressed me to a surprising extent - she spoke eloquently on a number of subjects, and I wondered if she was able to shake off her "laziest MP in London" reputation, if she might end up being a half decent representative.

One of the subjects she spoke about most passionately was the electoral system and how it so desperately needs reform; a topic close to my heart. Of all the candidates on stage that evening, she spoke with the most vehemence, gravitas and rhetoric on the subject - and had me totally convinced that she would be a strong proponent of changing the electoral system.

Well, barely three months later and we are looking forward to a vote on the bill to put forward a referendum. Labour, who under Gordon Brown had piped up about being in favour of the Alternative Vote, are demonstrating the destructive, wrecking side of them that we have seen consistently since the election (and are rapidly putting forward the argument that they would be a disaster in any sort of coalition); they are using the "gerrymandering" excuse as the bill also contains elements relating to boundary changes.

Labour will be whipping their MPs to vote against the historic bill. Boundary changes can be argued one way or another, and perhaps it was cheeky to lump everything together in the same bill, but boundaries come and go. A chance to vote on the lame duck electoral system may never come again in our lifetimes. Glenda Jackson is not afraid to vote against her party whips. She should put her money where her mouth was at the hustings and vote in favour of the bill. I intend to speak to her about it before the vote. I hope other local Hampstead & Kilburn residents do the same.

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