An Open Letter Regarding Electoral Reform
As with everything on theSprout.co.uk, the views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of theSprout.co.uk
Firstly, I have to admit that I am too sick of the politics talk but please read on, this is important.
As you might have heard on the news it is currently UKIP who are trying to be the voice of electoral reform, they are the third largest party here in Wales but have no seats and more than double the votes as SNP but 55 fewer seats, so it makes sense.
The Greens are also calling for a change to make their over million supporters heard. Can I ask what your position is? The first seat announced on Thursday was Sunderland South with just over 56% turnout and yet we've seen in Scotland that when the vote really matters people come out. We also know that marginal constituencies are going to get far more attention over the next five years than those who are fully Labour, Green, Plaid, Lib Dem. Surely it's time for a change?
I'm aware that several of the parties are currently looking for a new leader, however I feel that reforms to the voting system are incredibly important and should become part of the new agenda.
I'm also aware that those who benefit most by the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) system will say that electoral reform was offered and completely bombed not so long ago, but I feel that there are clear reasons for that:
i) The Alternative Vote (AV) was effectively pictured on the front page badly eating a bacon sarnie - the unfair and unflattering campaign Ed Milliband has faced was also faced by AV. Critics said that no new democracy have chosen AV but this wasn't countered loudly enough by the question of how many democracies have chosen FPTP - the answer is not many at all.
ii) Those calling for AV didn't really want AV either. Every vote for AV was really a vote for Proportional Representation (PR) and many votes against AV were also votes for PR (I've today been told by someone who instead of marking a box wrote "I want PR not AV" on the top of the page). It was difficult to argue for AV when we really wanted a second change almost as soon as we had changed once.
iii) Changing a voting system is costly and no one really wanted that when people were so concerned about the economy. It was also so soon after we had struggled into a coalition and years before a new election so people didn't want to think about the voting system.
The third point might still be true today but with voices on the left and right now wanting reform there is clearly a better chance than just the Lib Dems wanting it.
It would be a disaster for Wales if the only referendum we see in the next five years is one that could cause so much damage to our economy. Please do all you can to make sure we have a chance for progressive and fair politics rather than just a chance to leave Europe.
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