Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Peter Black says First Minister should not rush to give formal notification of EU withdrawal

A senior Welsh Liberal Democrat and former Assembly Member has criticised the First Minister’s call for official notification of the UK's intention to leave the EU under Article 50 to be sent as early as possible.

Councillor Peter Black has called on his former colleague Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Liberal Democrats Education Secretary to distance herself from the proposal, arguing that giving formal notification before proper arrangements are in place could leave Wales worse off.

“I understand that the First Minister wants to limit the amount of uncertainty faced by Welsh businesses,” said Mr. Black, “but if we go too early then negotiators could find themselves battling against an immoveable deadline to put in place new agreements on trade and free movement of labour. It would significantly weaken our negotiating position and potentially leave Welsh businesses struggling to compete.

“This is not a position that the Welsh Liberal Democrats support. It is important therefore that our only AM, who sits in the government, distances herself from Carwyn Jones’ statement.

“The vote last Thursday is a potential disaster for communities in Wales. It puts jobs under threat, it places key funding for agriculture and deprived areas in jeopardy and it undermines Welsh businesses. That is why Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats are right to say they will put a pledge in their next manifesto to seek to re-join the EU.”

Monday, June 27, 2016

Referendum shows that people turn out when they know that their votes count

Anthony Tuffin of STV Action says:


Yesterday’s EU referendum turnout was 72% compared with 65.1% and 66.2% in the 2010 and 2015 general elections.  An important reason for this is, as David Cameron said on 8 June, “every vote counts the same [in the referendum]”.


Although the referendum result was very close (51.9% – 48.1%), at least it was clear and obvious – unlike the general election results in 2005 and 2015 when, respectively, the Labour Party was awarded an overall majority for only 35.2% of the votes and the Conservative Party was awarded an overall majority for only 36.9%.  This needs to be repeated over and over again.  Every vote should count in elections as well as referendums.

Who will represent us in the exit negotiations?

All of us, Remainers and Leavers alike and whatever party loyalties we may have, must hope that the Government gets the best deal possible in the crucial exit negotiations that will take place.  The Government’s duty is to represent us all but, elected by only 36.9% of the voters, it is not representative of us.

David Cameron has recognized this a little by announcing his resignation, but his successor will be chosen by the Conservative Party and not by the voters.  Others have recognized it a little more by calling for a general election but a new Government, elected by about 35% - 40% of the voters by First Past The Post, would still not be representative.

We should have a general election now by STV/PR to elect a truly representative Parliament and a Government with a mandate to negotiate.

Owen Winter launched a petition today for a PR general election.  Even if you think the Government will ignore it, it is worth signing to increase publicity for electoral reform and attract new supporters.  As he has written:

After a divisive referendum campaign, UK public opinion is deeply split. The only way to reconcile our differences is an election where all voters have a stake in the result. As David Cameron said, every vote in a referendum ‘counts the same’. Surely this should apply for general elections too?

Please click on MVMbrexit-petition to see the petition and sign it.

What next?

38 Degrees consulted with its members today on what its priorities should be now that the decision has been taken to leave the EU.  Unsurprisingly (because they never do), they did not even mention electoral reform as one of their possible priorities, but their final question invited general comments so I wrote:

The Government is responsible for representing us in the vital exit negotiations but, elected by only 36.9% of voters, it does not represent us and a new Government, also elected by First Past The Post, wouldn't represent us either.  We need a General Election NOW by STV/PR.

Constitutional issues

The Electoral Reform Society has published a blog, in which it makes the point that “the referendum demonstrated a clear public appetite to engage with constitutional issues of where power should lie” and suggests that the public should continue to be engaged.  The blog continues, “Leaving the European Union and determining the future shape of the United Kingdom are huge and difficult tasks – far too difficult to be left to politicians behind closed doors.

Please click on ERSpublic-engagement for the full text.

Frank Little, secretary of the local Liberal Democrat party writes: "I largely agree with this and have already supported the inclusion on the agenda for the next Liberal Democrat conference a motion calling for a fair voting system for Westminster elections and local government elections in England and Wales. If the latter is good enough for the Scots, it is good enough for us."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

UK's influence in the EU

The EU cannot override the UK in the following areas:

There are more facts here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Referendum campaigning has ceased

As a mark of respect to Jo Cox, and with regard to the current overheated political atmosphere, it has been decided not to proceed with campaigning. In particular, the street stall planned for the Lidl store in Bryncoch South this weekend will not now take place.

 - Frank Little, Secretary