Recycling gone bad
Gordon Brown recycles old initiatives – again!
“Gordon Brown avoided a leadership election, bottled a General Election, and wants to fiddle the electoral system. Now he is recycling old promises made in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007 – and broken repeatedly ever since. It’s not the voting system that needs changing, it’s this weak and discredited Prime Minister. New politics needs a new government”.
William Hague – Conservative spokesman and Shadow Foreign Secretary.
The Brown stuff – Gordon’s record of broken promises
Referendum on electoral reform
Announced in 1997: We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. An independent commission on voting systems will be appointed early to recommend a proportional alternative to the first-past-the-post system (Labour Manifesto 1997).
Re-announced in 2005: Labour remains committed to reviewing the experience of the new electoral systems – introduced for the devolved administrations, the European Parliament and the London Assembly. A referendum remains the right way to agree any change for Westminster (Labour Manifesto 2005)
Re-announced in 2007: “We will fulfil our manifesto obligation to publish our review of the experience of the various voting systems introduced since 1998” (Gordon Brown, 3 July 2007)
Re-announced in 2009: “in Labour’s next manifesto there will be a commitment for a referendum to be held early in the next Parliament it will be for the people to decide whether they want to move to the Alternative Vote” (Gordon Brown, speech to Labour conference)
No referendum held
Announced in 1997. The right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords will be ended by statute. This will be the first stage in a process of reform to make the House of Lords more democratic and representative. (Labour Manifesto 1997)
Re-announced in 2005: “We will complete the reform of the House of Lords so that it is a modern and effective revising Chamber” (Labour Manifesto 2005)
Re-announced in 2008: ‘The government today set out proposals for the next stage of reforming the House of Lords’ (Ministry of Justice Press Release, 14 July 2008)
Re-announced in 2009: Reforms unveiled today by Jack Straw as part of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill will remove the hereditary principle from the House of Lords (Ministry of Justice Press Release, 20 July 2009)
Recall of MPs
Announced in 2009: “where there is proven financial corruption by an MP and in cases where wrong-doing has been demonstrated but Parliament fails to act we will give constituents the right to recall their Member of Parliament (Gordon Brown, Speech to Labour Party conference)
A written constitution
Announced in 2007: “It is right to involve the public in a sustained debate about whether there is a case for the United Kingdom developing a full British Bill of Rights and duties, or for moving towards a written constitution.” (Gordon Brown, 3 July 2007, col. 819)
Re-announced in 2007: “Gordon Brown has announced the start of a national consultation to draw up a Bill of Rights and establish a written constitution” (Number 10 Press Release, 25 October 2007)
Strengthening Parliament and reducing the power of the Executive
Announced in 1997. We believe the House of Commons is in need of modernisation and we will ask the House to establish a special Select Committee to review its procedures (Labour Manifesto, 1997)
Re-announced in 2005: “Labour will also continue to support reforms that improve parliamentary accountability and scrutiny led by the successful Modernisation Committee (Labour Manifesto, 2005)
Re-announced in 2007: ‘I can today make an immediate start by proposing changes that will transfer power from the Prime Minister and the Executive’ (Gordon Brown, 3 July 2007)
Few measures implemented
Brown’s record is broken, his needle is stuck in the track, the track that plays out with sickening monotony “I will survive”, he has no intention of changing this record and today’s announcement is made surely to tempt the wavering Lib-Dem voters in marginal seats where they hold second place to Labour, pure politics little more.
But what did you expect from a government that is so used to recycling it’s own junk and spin?