Category: Electoral Reform

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Thought for the day: Labour, first past the post and a united front

Peter Roberts

Labour is tearing itself apart (as usual), leaving the Conservatives to get on with misgoverning us without the punishment due to them (as usual). It’s dispiriting for anyone who cares for this country. As usual. Why does Labour do this? Why has it no settled purpose? Why does it throw hostage after hostage to the […]

The V-word

Graham Hurley

The role of leader of the opposition can be a curse, as well as an opportunity, and just now – as Johnson completes his second drive-by reshuffle – must be the perfect moment for Sir Keir Starmer to pause and take stock.  The worst government in living memory is beset by crisis after crisis, and […]

It could all have been so very, very different

Anthea Simmons

For the purpose of this article, let us accept that the Conservatives are in power and were in power when some of the events referred to occurred. Readers may say “But what if it had been Corbyn or Starmer?”. Please set that alternative scenario to one side. I am looking at what was genuinely a […]

Make noise for PR! Make Votes Matter summer day of action

Laurie Taylor

Local residents in Totnes will join hundreds of people across the UK on Saturday 31st July to make noise for Proportional Representation (PR). PR is about the seats in Parliament being proportionate to the number of votes. From singing to banging drums or pots and pans, people will be out in force to break the […]

Levelling up? Freedom Day? The dark reality behind sloganeering populism

Phil Syrpis

The debate about ‘levelling up’ prompts this summary of the Johnson government. The Johnson government excels at ‘sloganeering populism’: ‘Get Brexit Done’, ‘Global Britain’, ‘Freedom Day’… and now ‘Levelling up’. The rhetoric projects energy and is meant to show a governmentt devoted to ‘the people’s priorities’. Behind the rhetoric, one might hope for some substance, […]

Labour – dodging the issues that matter

Eric Gates

The Labour Party has launched a national consultation on policy which runs until 19 July.  As one of those consulted, Eric Gates responds by switching the focus to the important issues the document omits rather than what it covers. Dear Sir Keir, You asked for my thoughts on a number of topics in the recent […]

Forget this government’s twisted idea of the ‘people’s priorities’: here are some we can unite behind

Anthea Simmons

In Amersham and Chesham, many who traditionally voted Conservative abandoned the party which has abandoned them and whose leadership, priorities and methods they view with increasing distaste. Instead, they voted for the party most likely to remove the Conservatives from a seat they had held since the constituency’s creation in 1974. In this instance, it […]

Letter to the editor: Make Votes Matter

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, On 6 May, much of the country went to the ballot box to select county council representatives.  “On the doorsteps people told me that ‘politicians don’t listen to us anyway’ ”. So said Ruth Rollin, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brockenhurst. She continues, “I’d like to hope that we would all welcome a voting […]

We need MORE democracy, not less: Make Votes Matter launch petition

Editor-in-chief

This is a press release from the Make Votes Matter team. Multi million pound police and mayoral budgets could be controlled by officials that most people simply didn’t vote for under new voting Bill The British public is being urged to tell the Government not to impose First Past the Post for mayoral and police […]

Is Cornwall seeing a return to rotten boroughs?

Tom Scott

The local elections in Cornwall have seen the Conservatives take control of the council with the votes of fewer than 15% of registered voters. In the 18th and early 19th century, Cornwall was notorious for having more so-called ‘rotten boroughs’ than anywhere else in England. The historian Lewis Namier described Cornish politics in the 1760s: […]

No-show Mangnall fails to engage with democracy

Laurie Taylor

Our MP’s empty chair was part of the focus of an online, public meeting on the evening of Thursday 11 March, held by Totnes Make Votes Matter (MVM), to discuss voting reform for parliamentary elections to Westminster. “Make Votes Matter”, a national cross-party campaign group, organised a mass lobby of MPs all over the country, to propose a change of the voting system […]

Voter ID and voter suppression – another threat to our democracy

Robert Saunders

For millions of voters, the most basic act of democratic citizenship – casting a vote – is about to get harder. Under legislation being trailed in the media, it will no longer be possible simply to walk into a polling station, give your name and address, and cast a vote. Instead, voters will have to produce […]

Will Mangnall be empty-chaired?

Laurie Taylor

Laurie Taylor of Make Votes Matter in Totnes : Our local Make Votes Matter (MVM) group has been working hard to develop something in the place of the ‘lobby’ about Electoral Reform which Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall (AM) has refused to have with us. We have decided on a different zoom event where we will […]

The US has foiled a coup, but could we?

Mick Fletcher

Several writers, including West Country Bylines’s Tom Scott and Sadie Parker, have drawn attention to the disturbing parallels between the anti-democratic activities of Trump in the USA and Johnson here. Many, however, are reluctant to accept that Johnson is in effect Britain’s Trump, despite the fact that this dubious accolade was bestowed by none other […]

Dark Wednesday: Trumpism has also stained and frayed British democracy

Sadie Parker
montage of Johnson and Trump pictured together

Judging by the liveliness of social media platforms well into the night, as 6 January rolled into 7 January on the European side of the Atlantic, half the UK was glued to CNN – watching agog as insurrectionists invaded government offices in Washington D.C. They stormed the Capitol building, the heart of American democracy, equipped […]

Hope and horror

Anthea Simmons

I had begun an article on the confirmation of more hopeful signs for democracy in the USA coming from the run-off elections in Georgia…and not because Democrats won, but because the long hard effort to secure voter engagement right across the electorate had paid off. I will return to the subject, because there are important […]

“A bad Brexit deal done by bad people in a bad way” Dr Philip Lee

Editor-in-chief

This short but powerful thread from former Conservative MP, Justice minister and part time GP Dr Philip Lee warrants sharing far and wide. “This is a bad #Brexit deal done by bad people in a bad way. It doesn’t have the public’s explicit informed consent. It bears little relation to Vote Leave’s promises in 2016. […]

Trump pardons, Johnson ennobles – the swamp deepens

Anthea Simmons

It is impossible to shake off the sense that decent people, on both sides of the pond, are being brazenly trolled by their corrupt and mendacious leaders. “Look what I can do!” Trump and Johnson seem to say, “and there’s not a darned/damned thing you can do to to stop me.” Trump’s sick execution spree […]

2026: an irreverent look into the future

Devon Doodler

It is the Autumn of 2026. The general election of late 2024 produced historically low voter participation and resulted in no overall parliamentary majority for any single party. A Government of National Unity has now been formed, following a protracted period of bitter in-fighting amongst Tory MPs about the dire consequences of Brexit on the […]

People, Poverty, Power

Catrina Davies

Cornwall-based author Catrina Davies offers some tips for leading a better life on this beautiful planet – and for changing the broken system that is driving poverty and environmental destruction. Last Saturday I was on the BBC, talking to Simon Reeve about Cornwall and housing. Many of you have written to me about it, via email […]

Time for the wisdom of the people

Laurie Taylor

I’ve been reading quite a bit by Fintan O’Toole, lately… talks on YouTube and most recently his book Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain. For me, he really helps my understanding of all things Brexit, the history of Ireland/Northern Ireland, and much more. I find he makes the ‘warp and weft’ of it […]