An email popped into my inbox the other day from the Take Back Parliament people, informing me of a meeting which had been called at a pub just a couple of minute's walk from my house. It's a part of a programme which has been touring the country trying to drum up support for the yes vote in the (hopefully) forthcoming referendum on the change to an AV voting system.
I'd rather see a full PR system in place, but one step at a time, eh?
Anyhow, this evening was the appointed time and as it was so close to home, I thought it would be churlish not to toddle along, although to be honest, I wasn't expecting much.
Well, what a pleasant surprise. A good turnout of almost two dozen people was pretty impressive for what is a small town on the back of the email equivalent of a cold call. Without wanting to get all New Labour, there was a very healthy cross section of ages, gender and, most importantly, political belief. It felt weird sitting there, agreeing with Labour and Green Party members.
We've all swapped email addresses and have agreed a provisional date for another meeting to organise some events, get to know each other a bit better and generally try and raise the profile of this issue.
It's an issue I think is very important. I have almost no common ground with a Green Party member, but if they, we as Libertarians and other small parties are to make any inroads into the political orthadoxy we have to persuade people that it is worth their while voting in the first place. We could have the best policies in the world (and I believe we do) but it won't matter a pair of dingo's kidneys if people turn round and say 'yeah, I like that, but there's no point, the Tories/Labour/Lib Dems have this seat sewn up.'
I'll disagree with pretty much everything else they say, but if I have to work with a Green Party member to ensure that both our parties get a decent chance of picking up the votes they have the right to, then I'll do it. Let's get a fair system in place first, the tribal ad-hominem attacks can wait for later.
Anyhow, to this end I've set up a blog for this group which is linked on the right, and a link to sign the petition if you've not done so already and would like to. If you live in the Canterbury and East Kent area and would like to more, keep a weather eye on the other blog, if all goes to plan there'll be details of events, meetings, rallies etc. You'll be more than welcome, it really is a very broad church. Hopefully I'll not be the only person burbling along over there, you'll be able to read other people's burblings as well.