Parties pledges for change under the microscope

A news release tells us:

Unlock Democracy, the UK’s leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms, today unveils its new report which looks at how committed British political parties are to democratic reform.

The report, ‘A Vote for Democracy?‘ looks at the parties’ policies in five key areas: fair, free and honest elections; rights, freedoms and a written constitution; stronger parliament and accountable government; bringing power closer to the people and a culture of informed political interest and responsibility.

Allocating each party a score out of 100, the total scores are:
Liberal Democrats: 81
Green Party: 80.5
SNP: 57
Conservative Party: 48.5
Labour Party: 48
Plaid Cymru: 39.5
UK Independence Party: 33.5
BNP: 7.5

Commenting on these findings, the Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:

“That the Liberal Democrats and Greens are vying for first place is perhaps not surprising. Nick Clegg deserves credit for making political reform central to his campaign; past Lib Dem leaders have shied away from this area. Clegg appears to have tapped into the public’s deep desire for change and is now reaping dividends.

“The Greens also deserve credit for the comprehensiveness of their policies; many smaller parties struggle to produce detailed policies in this area due to poor resources. The Greens thus demonstrate a real commitment to democracy and human rights that is to be welcomed.

“While both Labour and the Conservatives score poorly, both parties have significantly improved their policies since the last election.

“Labour are most let down by their shockingly poor policies on civil liberties and personal privacy. Gordon Brown ought to be ashamed of the fact that he has narrowly allowed the Conservatives to leapfrog over his party in this way.

“David Cameron meanwhile has problems of his own. Last week, he launched his manifesto with an ‘invitation to join the government of Britain’. This report suggests that his policies fall far short of this rhetoric. His recent emphasis on hyping up fears about a hung parliament suggests that his commitment to giving power to anyone other than himself was only ever skin deep.

“This report points towards what reforms we are likely to see in a balanced parliament: Labour and the Liberal Democrats are likely to find common cause in drawing up a written constitution, the need for a referendum on electoral reform and replacing the House of Lords with a democratic second chamber. Nick Clegg and David Cameron meanwhile should be able to work together to dismantle the database state and some aspects of civil liberties.

“Balanced parliaments are the norm in most democracies and take decisions out of the hands of government whips. Instead of backroom deals being stitched up between governments and their backbenchers, parliament itself will become the great decider. They should be welcomed, not feared.

“Finally, a word about the BNP. Although we did not expect Nick Griffin’s party to score highly, even we were surprised by how dismal their policy programme is. This report vividly highlights that the BNP apple has not fallen far away from the fascist tree. A vote for this party is a vote for the abolition of democracy.”

A full breakdown, including details of how each score is calculated, can be found on an interactive website: http://www.votefordemocracy.org.uk

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