21 February 2017

Is your vote wasted?

This question seems increasingly urgent, following the most undemocratic General Election in British history.

In 2015, the Conservatives won 37% of the votes but ended up with 52% of the seats in parliament and absolute power. 24% of votes cast were for UKIP, the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party. However, these parties now have only 10 MPs between them - just 1.5%. Each party’s representation in parliament does not match the share of votes they received. Parliament does not accurately represent the wide range of views and perspectives in British society. Our votes are not equal.

Last month, Swindon Area Green Party hosted a public meeting on this subject. It was attended not only by Swindon Greens, but by people from other political parties as well. Klina Jordan, from the cross-party campaigning group Make Votes Matter spoke on the campaign to introduce Proportional Representation to the House of Commons by developing a grassroots movement across the country, and building an alliance of pro-reform parties at a leadership level. Andy Bentley, Green Party Candidate for North Swindon, put the Green Party case for PR and talked about different voting systems. There followed a lively, and wide-ranging discussion from the audience.

Of course, the Green Party stands to benefit from electoral reform, but Proportional Representation would mean every vote would count equally and everyone would have an equal voice. Proportional Representation would mean that your vote matters.

Earlier this month I attended the Make Votes Matter Congress in London, attended by campaigners from across the country. The meeting was also addressed by Peter Tatchell on creative and effective ways of protesting.

After this meeting, I was inspired to set up a Make Votes Matter group in Swindon, open to people from all political parties, and to those with no political affiliations, who are committed to campaigning for a more equal and representative electoral system. Our first meeting will be on Monday 27th February at The Pilgrim Centre at 7.30pm. If you are interested in being part of this group, please get in touch with me.

The momentum for Proportional Representation is building. The time is now!

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