We have a rare opportunity - the kind that might only come once in a generation.
In 2022 - or whenever the next general election takes place - we can wake up to a government set on replacing First Past the Post with a system of Proportional Representation fit for a real democracy.
Or we can wake up to what we’re used to: a government determined to keep Parliament, representation and government out of the hands of the voters.
The difference between these two outcomes is simple. It’s you. If we’re going to end FPTP, we need you and thousands like you to get involved.
This isn’t going to be easy and it won’t be handed to us on a plate. But if, and only if, we get to work now, we can see real democracy in the UK just beyond the end of this parliament.
Whatever your background and whatever skills you have to offer, we want to hear from you. Let us know you want to get involved and we’ll be in touch about how you can play a vital part in the biggest advance in our democracy since universal suffrage.
What we need to do
Three things need to happen to get fair votes in the UK.
Firstly, the Labour Party must commit to PR. We need one of the two largest parties on side and the Conservatives, with a few honourable exceptions, have remained almost totally opposed to fair votes. Whoever you vote for, there’s no escaping the need to bring Labour into the fold if we want a democracy worth its name.
Labour was founded on the principle of a proportional electoral system. Our independent polling found an overwhelming majority of Labour voters want their party to back PR - 76%. And if the party is democratic, as it claims to be, then its policy must flow from this basic fact.
Secondly, we need to bring all the parties, organisations and public figures who want PR to the table so that through their combined efforts they can make our lack of democracy a major part of the national dialogue. It wasn’t enough that most of the parties standing in GE2017 committed to PR in their manifestos. When it came to the debates, the interviews and the editorials, the voting system barely got a look-in.
Getting a Parliamentary petition to over 100,000 signatures in the middle of a parliamentary term, as we did in April this year, showed a first glimpse of what we can achieve when everyone who wants fair votes works together. We need our movement’s most prominent leaders to constantly champion initiatives like this: always raising PR up the agenda and never letting it fall.
Finally, all of us need to make enough noise to make change possible. Parties don’t abandon their longstanding support for a rigged voting system without outside pressure. Voters won’t believe reform is possible if they only hear about it occasionally in abstract newspaper editorials. Politicians can’t afford to champion causes if they aren’t certain that large sections of the electorate are behind them.
But huge sections of the population are behind them. And since founding Make Votes Matter two years ago, we’ve seen the start of an assertive and determined movement - the kind that all expansions of democracy everywhere have been built on.
How we will do it
Not one of these three things will be possible without people like you. Our right to have any say in who governs us was hard won by our great and great-great grandparents. To keep hold of power, the forces of the establishment will resist us now just as vehemently as they resisted those women and working men who claimed their right to a vote a hundred years ago.
If we’re going to win real democracy in the UK, we need to get to work: from running stalls, to designing media, to organising talks and protests, to meeting and challenging our MPs, to changing our parties’ policies, to supporting others to make all these things happen.
But if we do this, we really can wake up one day soon to a government set on tearing down First Past the Post and replacing it with a system of PR fit for a real democracy.
Join the movement and we’ll get in touch about how you can play a vital part in the biggest advance in democracy since universal suffrage.