An Open Letter to:
A winner-takes-all election can only divide us;
Proportional Representation would bring us together
For the vast majority of the world’s developed democracies, a General Election is the time at which Parliament is brought up to date with the views of the public. Parties win seats in proportion to the share of the votes they receive - so Parliament comes to reflect the balance of opinion held by the people.
However, in the United Kingdom this is not the case. There is no reason to expect our Parliament to better reflect the electorate the day after a General Election than it did the day before. The reason for this difference is that, while most of our peers use proportional voting systems, the UK is one of the last developed nations still to use First Past the Post.
Instead of producing a Parliament that reflects the people, First Past the Post grossly distorts the decisions made by the voters. In the last election many millions voted for parties that now have little or no representation in Parliament, while other parties took a share of seats far greater than their share of the votes.
It has been said that this General Election will bring about “unity” after the divisive EU referendum campaign, but it is hard to imagine how a winner-takes-all election will bring people together when so many voices will not be heard. With the country deeply divided and more politically diverse than ever, we need a Parliament that genuinely reflects the views of all voters. The way to achieve this is the way most countries achieve it: a form of Proportional Representation.
Research over many decades shows that countries with proportional voting systems tend to perform better on a wide range of economic and social issues. They also have greater democratic participation and performance; the nations that are independently assessed as being the most democratic all use Proportional Representation.
Every opinion poll shows that the overwhelming majority want seats to match votes*; the move to Proportional Representation is inevitable. By making this the last General Election held under our broken voting system, you will stand on the right side of history and create a democracy fit for the 21st Century.
To bring people together and for the sake of our democracy we call on you to make votes matter by adopting a proportional voting system.
*Since this letter opened for signatures, a poll conducted by ICM on behalf of Make Votes Matter found that 67% of those polled believe that seats should match votes, with just 12% disagreeing.
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