This letter appeared today in The Times

Sir,

David Cameron defends the first-past-the-post system as he claims that it allows for voters to throw out a government (interview, April 22). However, our current electoral system denies this choice to the majority of voters. Voters can only instigate a change in government by returning a new MP and thereby influencing the balance of power in Westminster.

Yet more than 60 per cent of seats are so safe that it is all but impossible for them to change hands. Only voters in marginal seats can exert their full democratic power and all the main political parties know this. Politicians therefore spend their time crafting policies and soundbites for the swing voters in “key marginals”. Meanwhile, the rest of us are left wondering what happened to the idea of “one person, one vote”. As the two-party system breaks down, growing numbers of electors grasp how the current system robs them of their democratic rights by serving only the vested interests of career politicians, suppressing the plurality of political viewpoints and breeding disengagement.

We must create a fairer and more representative way of electing our future governments.

Nic Marks, nef (the new economics foundation)

Professor Joni Lovenduski, Birkbeck College

Dr Ricardo Blaug, University of Leeds

Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society

Pam Giddy, Director, Power 2010

Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Director, Democratic Audit

Stuart Weir, Associate Director, Democratic Audit

Peter Facey, Director, Unlock Democracy

Anthony Barnett, Founder, openDemocracy

Gavin Hayes, General Secretary, Compass

Jonathan Bartley, Co-Director, Ekklesia

Will Straw, editor, Left Foot Forward

Sunny Hundal, editor, Liberal Conspiracy

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