Tag Archives: voting reform

A Liberal Democrat Case for Universal Civic Duty Voting

Liberal Democrats are staunchly opposed to the Conservative government’s Elections Bill currently moving through Parliament. Its provisions of mandating photo ID at polling stations and imposing the use of First Past the Post for mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections are actively harmful to democracy and solely for the benefit of the incumbent government.

It should go without saying that this bill is diametrically opposed to our own party’s constitutional and electoral reform policies including the adoption of single transferable vote and removing barriers to exercising the right to vote. However, in the face of undemocratic legislation, we as a party should contemplate advocating for stronger protective measures, namely universal civic duty voting, otherwise known as compulsory voting.

Turnout for British general elections during the twenty-first century has never surpassed 70%. This contrasts sharply with the 90%+ turnout rates in Australia and Belgium, with the former having adopted UCDV in response to low turnout of under 60% at its 1922 federal election. With FPTP skewing results and breeding voter dissatisfaction, no party in the UK having won more than 50% of votes cast since the Conservative did in 1935, governments are formed or decisions made via referenda that reflect the will of only a plurality of the electorate. For government to be more reflective of the will of the people, greater turnout should be encouraged, with UCDV probably being the most effective method of achieving it.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Votes 4 Life

3,000,000 – that is the estimated number of UK citizens who currently have no right to vote in UK parliamentary elections, despite the fact that decisions made in Westminster affect their lives in their countries of residence. Currently, only those UK citizens who have lived abroad for less than 15 years are entitled to vote at their last place of residence. At the last General Election, our manifesto supported the claim to a “Vote for Life”, as did the Conservative one, but the government announced no legislation in the Queen’s Speech. Fortunately, Conservative MP Glyn Davies introduced a private members …

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Opinion: Voting reform must take a back seat to maintain #LibDemFightback momentum

Standing at a North London bus stop the evening after Britain went to the polls, I overheard a man give his take, on David Cameron’s surprising majority, to a friend:

You see people that don’t live in cities just don’t understand…they’ll always vote right-wing.

As someone from the countryside who has now voted for a hat-trick of different parties, I took offence in a quietly British way to his throwaway analysis of the left’s failure to make gains outside of London. And yet of course he had a point, too.

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Opinion: Paddy Ashdown’s appeal to Green and Labour

 

Lord Ashdown’s call for ‘progressive forces’ to  collaborate before the next election  does not go far enough, especially now there is talk about Labour never winning again. He rightly talks about  Lib Dem collaboration with Labour and the Greens. But there can be no ‘progress’ without prior electoral reform: the alternative is the old see-saw, but worse – Labour’s Scottish  amputation has moved the pivot. ‘Progress’ demands the rout of the Tories and their money, and that can be achieved if all other parties gang up on them. That sounds unsporting, but the Tories know well that this is no game.

All those parties which together represent that huge majority which voted 2:1 against the Conservatives must grit their teeth and do the needful thing, for their several and their collective futures: they must form a Mayday Alliance: an Alliance short-lived, but irresistible as a rescue force.

Posted in Op-eds | 70 Comments

We bored people rigid about electoral reform for decades and learned to hold our tongues – but now is the time to pipe up!

For decades we were the party that was known for wanting electoral reform. Many people thought it was our only policy.

We went on and on and on and on about it. Then we realised we were getting nowhere with it and started to shut up about it. Then came the AV referendum debacle which shut us up even more on the subject.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 105 Comments

Opinion: Chris Bryant is right, though he doesn’t know why

As I write, Chris Bryant is arguing during the Whole House committee for the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill that a method for drawing up constituency boundaries that is severely confined by a mathematical formula is misguided.

I completely agree, although possibly for a different reason to the one he uses to support his argument.

Mr Bryant has been arguing that a strict mathematical formula will have to ignore natural geographical and physical boundaries.

It’s true: to bring in the Bill as it stands will create constituencies that are almost constantly shifting and where previously combined communities may very well find themselves …

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