'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday, 13 August 2012

Lords Reform; Boundary Changes; State funding for Political Parties. Are they really worth the same?

When Lords Reform was dropped, in the far off days days when The Daily Telegraph was asking whether we would ever win a Gold medal at The Olympics, rightly or wrongly we decided that Boundary Changes had a roughly equal value to the Tories as Lords Reform did for the Lib Dems, and we would therefore cancel one out in revenge for the other.

This may or may not be true - there are some Tories who will undoubtably be delighted that their constituencies are safe - but David Cameron's reluctance to drop the legislation in the face of hopeless odds does suggest they think it very important (though as I have written before - there may be something else going on...).

But now it has been suggested that the Quad had dinner last week and came up with an alternative plan - to give state funding of political parties the same 'tariff' as the other two policies, and allow both this and boundary changes through.

Now, as has been made quickly clear, this would not go down well with Tory backbenchers and so there's no guarantee Cameron can deliver (quite the opposite in fact given his Lord's Reform history...). and indeed a senior party source in the Lib Dems has poured cold water on the idea also...

And without some sort of cast iron guarantee Nick would be start raving bonkers to reverse his position on the boundary's legislation (especially as that would be a reversal of a reversal) - and it's hard to see what that guarantee can be.

But it also seems to be to be getting slightly ludicrous that we are horse trading constitutional changes left, right and centre without actually any central plan of where we want these changes to finally take us. There needs to be a grand vision - and as AV has fallen, and Lords Reform is dead, I can't see the logic in a half baked vision.

But am I wrong? Do all three of these ideas really have the same value? 

Surely not.

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