not being properly reported by the media and shows that the UK is no longer a self-governing nation.
Consequently, that the EU, politicians and our media don’t wish us to know the truth must surely be the greatest insult to what is supposed to be a democratic nation. David Phipps Oxfordshire
Acting responsibly We live in interesting times. The ‘new politics’ has given us a Conservative minister for constitutional reform, committed to seeing a referendum on the alternative vote through Parliament (TP, Sept).
Mark Harper is going to have his work cut out. Many of his colleagues seem to have little faith in their arguments and are determined to kill the bill, while ‘reduce and equalise’ plans have energised Labour ranks.
It’s not rocket science to get this right, but both Harper and the opposition may have to learn some new lessons in compromise. There are practical problems and human costs in this bill – a five per cent rule that simply doesn’t add up, and a decision to build seats on using registered voters that could remove 3.5 million from the political map. Fair seats and a choice on fair votes are attainable, if both sides can act responsibly. Ashley Dé Electoral Reform Society
Ben Duckworth says that with so much going on, it was not hard to fill the longestever issue of Total Politics going on, it was not hard to fill the longest-
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Welcome to our conference bumper special. It wasn’t a struggle to create our biggest ever issue with so much going on. Conference season itself has an urban air this year, as the BBC’s Jon Sopel notes in his diary on the following pages. Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham are where the Big Three will base themselves to discuss moving forward after what has been a unique few months.
Inside this issue you will find our top 50 conferences quotes of all time, made both on the conference platform and, in Cherie Blair’s case, while watching a TV. If you’re after something more substantial, our 22page policy section features some of the coalition v opposition clashes in a lively post-election period. Michael Gove v Ed Balls, Andrew Lansley v Andy Burnham and more can be found in Total Focus starting on p72.
We have different generations of political stars in this issue – Shirley Williams talks to Iain Dale on p24 about her remarkable career, how she never wanted to be prime minister and her experience of being a woman in politics. At the beginning of his political journey,
we tipped Chuka Umunna as one of the top three new MPs to watch out for. In his first high-profile interview since entering Parliament, he speaks to Amber Elliott about how he still gets nervous, despite the hype. Much is expected of him in the future, but at the age of 32, he may see promotion come quickly while Labour is in opposition.
There’s a truism emerging that your chance for political high office now comes in your 40s. It’s believable when looking at Cameron, Clegg and those who choose to stand for the Labour leadership (Diane Abbott aside). Tor Clark examines the rising trend of the 40-something politician on p32.
The new MPs like Umunna have quickly become settled in the Commons chamber. Check out how they’re getting on with our report from a Commons reporter on p40. Of course, this issue also includes all our regular polling analysis, history, campaigns and life sections. With eight cabinet ministers, their shadows and many more politicians inside, it’s a whopper. Hope you enjoy.
October 2010 | Total Politics | 7