One of the main complaints against Gordon Brown by Labour backbenchers has been that he has failed to articulate a vision, and instead insists on announcing a raft of unconnected, short termist measures which are politically motivated and designed to put the Tories on the back foot. And that is exactly how they are viewing the announcement today on electoral reform and the House of Lords. The proposals emanated from a meeting of Brown's new Democratic Reform Council, which if rumour is to be believed, lasted for less than ninety minutes. So part of our constitution and our electoral system are to be radically changed, and all in ninety minutes. And someone said yesterday, the main aim is to make life uncomfortable for the Tories.
But as I have said before, make policy in haste and repent at leisure. Now I am a great fan of rederendums. Indeed, I'd like the government to make good on their promise to have one on the European Constitution. I'd also quite like one to let the voters of England decide whether they want an English Parliament. But while I am not against having one on electoral reform, has anyone given any serious consideration as to what question you would actually ask? Think about it. How on earth would you word it? Would you mention a proposed system in the question? Because I am sure they talk about nothing else but the merits of AV+ down the dog and duck.
At the PLP meeting Gordon promised to change. This is the first bit of proof that leopards don't change their spots. No vision, just Gordon.