The latest online posting by Gavin Barwell should make for an interesting conversation when the former Tory HQ functionary bumps into his new LibDem “partners” in the corridors of power.
Ashcroft is the slot machine multi-millionaire who has bankrolled the Conservative party for three decades. For his dosh, Ashcroft has been given a seat in the (unelected) House of Lords, with a right to vote on all aspects of life in Britain, for instance including the amount of tax that you and I pay, despite the fact that Ashcroft pays no UK tax.
The Tory party’s agreed news line since the election of Ed Miliband as the leader of the Labour party on Saturday is clear: try to revive old fears of the trades unions.
It is a theme which Barwell enthusiastically embraced today on his blog (which may, or may not, be paid for by UK taxpayers, through his parliamentary allowances – something we’ll be looking in to in due course).
“The actual result is surely the worst possible outcome for Labour,” writes Barwell.
“Ed Miliband has won, despite not being the choice of Labour MPs or Labour Party members, because he secured very strong support from the trade unions and other organisations affiliated to the Labour Party.”
This, simply, is untrue, and it has not been true since voting in Labour elections was reformed 17 years ago.
The Labour-supporting website leftfootfoward highlighted the bias of the Murdoch-owned media today, and the lack of truth in what amounts to Tory propaganda that is being trotted out by the Sunday Times, Barwell and his ilk:
The truth, of course, is that individual votes from trade union members – such as teachers, nurses and carers – and members of affiliated organisations including the Fabian Society, Labour Students, Black Asian Minority Ethnic Labour and the Christian Socialist Movement gave Ed Miliband a clear victory in the affiliates section.
Although he narrowly lost the Labour Party membership and MPs/MEPs section of the electoral college, when all votes were counted together, he received 175, 519 votes to 147,220.
Block votes distributed by “union barons” were abolished by John Smith in 1993.
New fissures between the two parties in the ConDem coalition appear by the day. One area where the LibDems will surely throw their rattles out of the pram if not delivered will be over electoral reform, which was the condition that Nick Clegg demanded for selling the soul of his party and putting “Call Me Dave” Cameron in power.
The Conservatives, as their name suggests, are intrinsically opposed to any form of voting reform. Barwell is clearly of that mind.
Referring to the system of transferable votes used in the Labour leadership election, Barwell writes, “This is of course the electoral system which could replace the first-past-the-post system we use for General Elections depending on how we vote in the referendum next May – today’s result is a good example of how treating a fourth preference vote as equivalent to someone’s first preference does not necessarily produce a fairer result”.
Why does this bother Barwell?
Take a look at the votes in Croydon Central general election last May.
Despite managing to spend one and a half times more than his Labour rival, with nearly £35,000 pumped in to the Barwell election campaign – some of it in breach of strict rules on elections, which has put the new Tory MP under formal investigation – in the end only 19,657 people actually voted for Barwell in May.
That means more than 30,000 Croydon people did not vote for Barwell.
No wonder Barwell, his paymaster Lord Ashcroft, and the Tories, are against real democracy.