‘Unlocking’ Democracy? A can of worms

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  • Comment at end

    8th May 2010

    UPDATE: Gordon Brown has spoken again tonight by telephone to Nick Clegg. (more here at end)

    To Nick Clegg “P.R.” means “proportional representation”.

    To David Cameron it means “public relations”.

    Odd co-incidence, you might think, that the Tory P.R man is in deep discussions with the Lib Dem P.R. man.  What are Public Relations on Proportional Representation? Don’t ask.


    • Messrs Clegg and Cameron spent over an hour this evening in face-to-face talks described as ‘constructive and amicable’.
    • At 6:00pm Tim Razzall of the Lib Dems said, emerging early from the ongoing Executive Committee meeting, that they are “listening to Labour”.
    • A poll on Brown remaining as leader from YouGov suggests that nearly 70% would like to see Brown out and Cameron into Downing Street. I don’t know if any other option than Cameron was offered in this poll.
    • And at 4:15pm today David Laws, the Liberal Democrat MP who helped negotiate a coalition settlement in the Scottish SNP/Lib Dem pact says that the MPs have endorsed Nick Clegg’s discussions with Mr Cameron. Mr Laws says he is not putting an artificial timetable on concluding these talks. Also, he gave no confirmation that electoral reform will definitely be part of any settlement.  Shortly Mr Clegg will meet with his 30-strong Federal Executive Committee.


    The “Unlock Democracy” group today managed to bully, sorry persuade Nick Clegg to emerge from the meeting with his colleagues to speak to the collected and vocal multitudes.  He didn’t seem to think their intrusion at this delicate time was exactly unhelpful.

    An estimated 1000 demonstrators in support of "fair votes" outside the Smith Square venue where Nick Clegg was updating his MPs on talks progress with the Conservatives.

    Nick Clegg to the demonstrators:

    “I never thought in my wildest imagination that central London would have 1000 supporters protesting about proportional representation. I would ask you to do what you are doing so well here today in every single street in our country – to continue your campaign…”

    I DO hope Nick was NOT asking them to demonstrate everywhere in this way. It WILL lead to tears.

    This leader seems to know who pulls his strings. As long as the puppet masters are on his side, he’ll dance for them.

    Hmmm …

    Mr Clegg, power means YOU take responsibility, not your demonstrators. Today it is proportional representation. Tomorrow?

    And remember – this is representative of only one half of the present negotiating sides. Many, many Conservatives are just as adamantly against P.R. as Lib Dems are for. Tories won’t be demonstrating, though.

    Liberal Conspiracy (interesting name) announced this demo here. It’s lovely how these people assume that ALL the voters that voted for the Lib Dems on Thursday voted for electoral reform. I’m sorry to disappoint them. It just isn’t so. Their votes were for the ‘anti-politics party’ as a consequence of dissatisfaction over plenty of issues, the LEAST of which  was electoral reform.

    At the BBC news channel live you can catch the latest fun and games in this very fluid political situation.


    It is reported that Gordon Brown has been speaking by phone to Nick Clegg tonight. His offers will be more tasty to the 57 Lib Dems than Cameron will be able to offer. But Brown with 258 MPs will also have to be able to bring on board ALL the Nationalists – 6 Scottish & 3 Welsh, and at least 2 Independents in oder to have the majority required to outvote the Tories (306, expected to be 307.)

    Back to top


    Labour MP John Mann has called on Gordon Brown to step down as leader of the Labour Party.

    The Bassetlaw MP said this is the only way for Labour to have any influence on the outcome of negotiations on the future of the government.

    Mr Mann said Labour had lost votes in the election because the PM appeared to be “aloof and “out of touch”.

    He said it was “extraordinary” that the party had not been convened in this “emergency situation”.

    Mr Mann had been considered a loyalist who opposed Geoff Hoon’s leadership bid against Mr Brown in January.

    BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said he was a “credible figure” within the party.


    Watch Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg appear together at the Cenotaph in Whitehall to mark the 65th anniversary of VE Day


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