Democracy groups are meeting MPs to push the voting system senior Tories are panicking about

Sort the System Make Votes Matter
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According to the campaign Sort The System, “politics isn’t working”. It argues that this is chiefly because Westminster’s first past the post election system fails to reflect how people actually vote in elections. So, to aid its mission, the group will be convening in Westminster to tell MPs that “it’s time to sort the system”.

The move comes as senior Tories are expressing their dismay at the prospect of the electoral system changing:

First past the post versus proportional representation

There are now multiple groups in the UK campaigning for proportional representation:

Read on...

Make Votes Matter has organised Sort The System. It argues:

Over the past few hundred years, our society and democracy have developed and changed beyond recognition. However, our voting system has failed to keep pace.

It goes on to explain:

The idea of a minority ruling over the majority goes against our most basic ideas about democracy. But with First Past the Post, it’s the norm. For about 90% of the time since 1935 we’ve had single-party ‘majority’ governments, but not one of them had the support of a majority of voters. The Conservatives currently hold a majority of seats with just 43.6% of the votes. In the 2019 election they gained an extra 48 seats despite an increase of only 1.2% of the vote share. Almost since the first general election, politicians who most of us didn’t vote for and don’t agree with have had the power to govern the UK however they like.

In contrast, Make Votes Matter notes that:

With Proportional Representation [PR] political diversity is reflected in Parliament, not suppressed. PR makes sure the share of seats each party gets matches the share of votes they receive. It would mean that if a party gets 20% of the vote, it wins 20% of the seats. Parliament would accurately represent the people’s range of views and perspectives.

Sort the System

On Wednesday 24 May, Sort The System will “bring hundreds of people from across the UK to Westminster to meet with MPs”. Organisers state in a press release that:

MPs will hear first-hand from constituents that the political system is not working for ordinary people because, under First Past the Post, Parliament does not properly reflect their views and needs as expressed at the ballot box.

The mass lobby will underline that, nearly 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was expanded to extend the franchise on equal terms to both women and men, the fight for equal votes is still ongoing.

For example, 71% of voters were unable to affect the outcome of the last general election, either because their votes went to candidates who lost, or went into padding the majorities of winning MPs.

In giving voice to the public demand for change, Sort The System seeks to apply pressure on all parties to commit to introducing Proportional Representation.

Klina Jordan, CEO of Make Votes Matter, commented:

Despite all that suffrage campaigners achieved a century ago, votes in this country still don’t count equally: First Past the Post means the votes of millions of people effectively go to waste, with elections decided in a cluster of marginal seats that are unrepresentative of the country at large. Polling shows the public is eager for change – it’s time their voices were listened to.

Politicians including baroness Natalie Bennett and Clive Lewis MP will be among those speaking at the event.

Sort The System encourages attendees to ask their local MP to meet them at the event to discuss the matter. The group also wants to know how MPs respond to the request.

Political divide

The prospect of switching to proportional representation has recently incited a strong response from the political right:

Keir Starmer, however, has a “long-standing view against proportional representation”, his official spokesperson claimed in April. The comment came with no explanation as to why Starmer opposes the system. Others within Labour have shown more support:

You can find out more about Sort The System’s lobby on 24 May here.

Featured image via Sort The System

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  • Show Comments
    1. About bloody time it changed. I did some rough maths a few years back and worked out that the same 300,000 people [don’t know/changeable] in the same 150 marginal seats decide nearly every election.

    2. Starmer’s paymasters won’t allow him to bring in PR as it would be a threat to the Zionist/Nazi regime in Israel. That threat would be a recognition of Palestine by the British Government which could lead to many other countries following suit.

    3. Pr would be a start in solving the massive democratic problems this country has. In my life, I’ve only ever voted once in an election that mattered, a marginal seat. The rest of the time, I was living in a safe seat, usually Labour, where my vote didn’t matter, even if I was inclined to vote Labour (which I was, mostly). As noted by the fact that no canvassers ever came round. Why bother? Labour were going to win anyway, so what’s the point in canvassing, especially as there’s a marginal constituency next door where canvassing might actually make a difference? Which is why, in 2019, when canvassing for Labour I travelled 5 miles every day to that marginal constituency for precisely that reason.

      Under PR, every vote matters. There are no safe or hopeless constituencies. Everywhere is a marginal. Every vote is worth fighting for.

      That, of course, is the reason it’s not popular amongst the Tories or Labour. And that, of course, is the reason we must fight for it.

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