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37% is not a majority – now is the time for proportional representation

The voting system has been exposed as illegitimate in the eyes of millions – we have a historic opportunity to push for change, writes Nicole Anders

May 10, 2015
3 min read

Democracy in Britain has never looked more broken. The Tories have won an overall majority with just 37 per cent of the vote – while the Greens stacked up over a million votes but are still stuck on one MP.

It’s only an accident of geography, and the hard work of local campaigners, that has kept Caroline Lucas in place in Brighton. What kind of democracy is it when over a million voters only have one representative? And how can people say with a straight face that the Tories have a mandate to govern?

I’ve been, to be honest, frustrated that this feeling is so widespread, but not much has been done apart from e-petitions. E-petitions have their place but I feel like we need so much more! So some friends and I decided to do something about it.

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We believe there is a historic opportunity to launch a huge, public campaign for proportional representation. We’re not a pre-existing campaign group, and we want to be open to all, as accessible as possible and putting the case in the clearest language we can.

Our campaign is called Proportional to be totally clear what it is that we want, and it is our specific focus. This isn’t just a call for ‘fairer votes’ or electoral reform generally, and it definitely isn’t the non-proportional alternative vote (AV) system that voters rejected in the referendum. We need proportional representation, the only system that fairly represents what voters want. 94 countries have proportional systems – why should Britain be any exception?

The most common objection we hear is that Britain has a different tradition, where MPs are linked to constituencies. But this can easily be preserved through the use of a ‘top-up list’, as it already is in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly. The public at large needs to hear these arguments.

We plan to use a diversity of tactics – whether it’s videos, stickers, infographics, social media, mainstream media, rallies, posters, lobbying MPs… there’s so much to do and we’re open to everyone’s ideas.

Proportional representation could transform British politics and give us hope again. Please, get involved and spread the word.

Proportional is currently fundraising on Indiegogo. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter at @proportionaluk.