In a democracy, should a governing party change electoral processes in its own favour without a public debate? Big changes are afoot, which will be defended as sensible and appropriate, but all of which will benefit the Conservative Government, and which have not been agreed by any other Party:-
• English Votes for English Laws, will prevent non English MPs from voting on matters deemed purely English. This can be justified by devolution to the other home countries, but favours the one Party that has long won the most seats in England, and because under the Barnett Formula that affects financial allocations to the whole UK, it will directly affect the other home countries;
• Individual voter registration (IVR) means households can no longer register their members. Individuals must register personally. But this has already led to the disappearance of around two million voters in Inner City areas that would be expected to Vote Labour;
• Reduction of seats – the Conservatives plan to reduce the House of Commons from 650 to 600 MPs, drawing new boundaries on the numbers of voters produced by Individual Voter Registration, and so affected by the missing voters in the Inner Cities;
• Trade Union reform – Unions will lose most of their power to fund Labour, while the power of Businesses to fund the Conservatives will be untouched.
The current electoral system is badly flawed. No party in modern times has won a majority of votes cast nationally. In May the Conservatives won power with 36.9% of the vote. Even the Labour landslide of 1997 was won on only 43.2% of the vote.
But fundamental changes to our democracy need open debate taking full account of the views of the public and parties across the spectrum. These changes are dangerous and partisan whatever your political outlook.
Cllr Bill Urry – Roundhay Ward Leeds
Support Executive Member for Homelessness and the Causes of Homelessness