We’d all like to believe that the 80+% of voters who stayed at home for last week’s PCC elections would have voted for a Lib Dem candidate had one stood in their area. But the result can probably more accurately be seen as mass public apathy, or even hostility to the Police and Crime Commissioners policy.
A major problem with our electoral system, then, is that there is no effective way to capture and represent ‘none of the above’ or ‘no-one under any circumstances’ viewpoints that so many potentially hold.
As a democrat, I want to fix that. That’s why I hope you’ll support a recently launched government e-petition to add ‘Re-open nominations (RON)’ and ‘Leave position vacant’ to all UK ballot papers for all future elections. Click here for the link to the petition.
Concepts familiar to many students, a RON victory would mean a new election, with all new candidates, offering the voting public a fresh choice; whilst a majority voting for ‘Leave position vacant’ would mean no-one elected and no further election – like in the case of PCCs, a message from the public that ‘we just don’t want this, and will do without’.
Sometimes the answer is different politicians, sometimes it’s none. It’s time for a clear Public Voice to go with the Lib Dem one.
* Andrew Tennant is a Lib Dem member in Loughborough.