Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Brown pledges referendum, no not that one

Just back from the Gordon Brown speech at Centrepoint in London - a location that didn't really speak to the subject matter, the renewal of Democracy.

Sound speech though - three pages long , nine commitments, five new announcements. If only all policy speeches were so rich on news and short on rhetoric.

With the backdrop of St Paul's, the river Thames and the Swiss Re building(The Gherkin) behind him Brown declared that he was the man to clean up British politics.

The list of commitments is long but this is the first time Brown has said fixed term parliaments will be in the Labour manifesto.

Labour would also ban MPs working for lobbyists, give constituents the power of recall and make politicians seek permission to take on outside jobs.

In the Commons it's all power to the backbenchers with secret ballots of all MPs to determine select committees and their chairs.

That last one is a wee bit beltway (or district and circle) but there is also a pledge for a free vote in parliament to reduce the voting age to 16.

Not finished yet, also a Democracy Day referendum in Autumn 2011 on a change to the voting system for Westminster and the democratisation of the House of Lords.

Brown gave details on the staged reform of the Lords, with a third of peers being elected over the next three parliaments.

But, of course, what struck me was - referendum in 2011, isn't there one planned for Scotland at the same time?

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