This is a guest blog by Natalia Waring. Natalia is a Make Votes Matter local group leader from MVM Hereford, she played a key role as a volunteer at our recent #SaveOurDemocracy rally.
Just metres away from Big Ben a different bell tolled, as distinguished and passionate political speakers chimed in defiance of the extremely unfair and fruitless electoral voting system we currently use to elect MPs to the House of Commons in Westminster. So logical are the arguments for Proportional Representation; so blatant is the damage being done to our democracy by this voting system; the message from the speakers could not be said too loudly or too clearly. The votes of the people are being wasted! Your views are not being represented! This electoral system serves the interests of an elite few, not the people - this is not democracy, and they know it!
With speakers from the right and left of the political spectrum, this event was an important reminder that although different parties hold different political views, we hold plenty of core values in common, one of them being a natural desire for a fair system and a recognition of the merits of a multi-party politics. This event brought different voices together on the same platform, which is what we want to see in parliament.
Large crowds of people, having travelled from far and wide to attend this demonstration, congregated at this event to signal to the world their huge dissatisfaction with the voting system in this country. And the heads of passers-by turned in intrigue as the zealous and feverish notes of the speakers rang out across Parliament Square Gardens. The tide is turning on this two-party system! The people are winning this battle!
20-30% of people voted tactically in the 2017 election and therefore couldn’t give their vote to the party they support. Under a system of Proportional Representation they wouldn’t need to do this. All votes would hold the currency they are supposed to! Shouldn’t it be as easy for the Green Party, the Lib Dems or UKIP to win a seat in the House of Commons as Labour or the Conservatives? Shouldn’t it take the same number of votes? It should do, but this is far from the case.
Volunteers from the crowd came up to the stage to pin on different party rosettes and hold big bunches of different party-coloured balloons to represent the different numbers of votes each party needs to win a seat in the House of Commons; a great visual illustration of the in-built unfairness in the system. A few balloons from the very large Green Party bunch broke loose and floated away – a stark and poignant sight as one audience member shouted ‘that’s our wasted votes flying away!’.