Cometh the hour, cometh PR?

It’s quiet in LDV Towers this afternoon as all the responsible editors have day job responsibilties.

We can always tell when we’re not talking about something our readers want to have their say on, because you kindly have your say on it anyway on whatever was the top post.

And today’s topic is clearly Call Me Dave’s speech on parliamentary reform, in which he sets out a series of Lib Dem policy proposals and pretends they’re new.  There’s no zealot like a recently converted zealot, but hang on a minute, Dave?  Power to the people?  Small government?  All of that is Liberalism 101, the first chapter from An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Liberalism.  We’ve long held it dear, and we simply don’t believe you when we hear it from your lips.

As Lynne Featherstone said earlier today on her blog

There is stuff that Cameron’s said which I agree with – as you would expect given that many of the ‘ideas’ he puts forward in today’s Guardian are long-standing Liberal Democrat policies! Fixed-term parliaments, reducing of the power of the executive, cutting the number of MPs, devolving power to councils and empowering individuals. Transparency and accountability – definitely. Shame Cameron has had to be dragged kicking and screaming on these. But – to be fair – at least he is going out there.

Meral Ece went one step further and noted that Cameron’s words are not all that dissimilar from Nick Clegg’s speech to conference last Spring:

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. It will take a whole nation to raise us out of these turbulent times. That’s why, if we’re to build a better tomorrow.It must be driven by a different kind of politics. Winner-takes-all politics will only ever deliver boom-and-bust economics. So, to make sure growth is driven in every part of Britain, not just London: we will devolve power. To stop vested interests from controlling the economy and holding back reform: we will bring an end to big donations. And to create an open balanced politics that includes, engages and involves every citizen of this great country: we will secure fair votes for all. And you know what else? We need to give people back their rights. We need to stop people being bullied and chivvied by a state that invades every corner of our private lives, putting our DNA on a database, fingerprinting our children at school and losing their private data on commuter trains. Our freedom is a hard-won inheritance: Liberal Democrats will get it back”

But much of the comment on the LD blogosphere this morning is reserved for David Cameron’s outright rejection of PR on the basis of a straw man paragraph at the end of his speech:

[…] a Conservative Government will not consider introducing proportional representation.

The principle underlying all the political reforms a new Conservative Government would make is the progressive principle of redistributing power and control – from the powerful to the powerless.

PR would actually move us in the opposite direction, which is why I’m so surprised it’s still on the wish-list of progressive reformers.

Proportional representation takes power away from the man and woman in the street and hands it to the political elites.

And you m’colleagues have been quick to put him right on where’s he’s wrong with this.

Millennium recaps why we’re here – from Mark Reckon’s analysis that “safe seats equals sleazy seats.”

Jennie Rigg joined Millennium and explained it’s not any old PR we need – not the bad PR we have at European elections, or the messy AV+ Scottish systems, but genuine single transferable vote in multi member constituencies.  (Oh – and David Cameron didn’t answer Jennie’s question about a return to traditional British multi-member constituencies.)

When the revolution comes, my placard will read “STV MMC FTW!”