Welcome news for all you Yes To Fairer Votes fans out there! As reported in The Guardian the Labour leader Ed Miliband is joining eight other members of his shadow cabinet in backing his party’s campaign for the Alternative Vote. As the article by Patrick Wintour states-
Miliband’s decision to put his name to the AV campaign is a sign of his willingness to combat the big Labour beasts who have come out against changing the voting system, including Lord Reid, David Blunkett and Margaret Beckett.
A clutch of shadow cabinet members are backing AV, including Sadiq Khan, Hilary Benn, Tessa Jowell, Liam Byrne, John Denham, Peter Hain, Alan Johnson and Douglas Alexander.
Other supporters across the party spectrum include Ken Livingstone, Lord Mandelson, Lord Kinnock, Jack Straw, Tony Benn, Jon Cruddas, James Purnell, Lord Hattersley and the former Brownite minister Tom Watson.
The campaign also has the support of Compass and Progress, arguably the two main pressure groups inside the party.
Carrying on the Labour & Guardian themes, there is also an open letter in today’s Guardian (8th December) entitled “Labour’s Yes to AV” which is signed by over 70 prominent Labour MPs, Peers, MEPs, supporters & people from influencial Labour-related groups, with includes all of those listed above plus other notable people such as Chris Mullin, Tony Robinson, (Baroness) Oona King, (Baroness) Glenys Kinnock, (Lord) Andrew Adonis, John Rentoul & MPs such as Stephen Pound, Frank Field, Stephen Twigg, Gloria de Piero, Fiona MacTaggart & Helen Goodman.
Here’s a couple of quotes from the letter–
First past the post isn’t working. When just a few thousand people determine every election result in a few swing seats, the interests of the Labour party and the people we represent go unheard. The alternative vote means the majority get their voices heard…
When people switch off from politics it damages Labour, not the Tories. That’s why the Tories don’t want fairer votes. They don’t want change; they say no! Labour is the party of fairness and change. Labour says yes. It’s time for change.
It’s also worth remembering that the debate about whether to reform our elections with AV isn’t just a Labour Vs Conservative battle- it’s far bigger & more important to our democracy than that. At the same time, though, it’s really great news to see all the Labour people listed giving their support to the Yes campaign, just as it’s good to have the support of the Liberal Democrats, UKIP & Green Party (England, Wales & Scotland) as well as all those of us who have no strong party affiliation. This all goes to show that the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign is truly & actively supported across the political spectrum!