This election has proven that we need to overhaul our rigged democracy
There we go. Another general election, and this time things have really gone wrong. Johnson and his gang of extreme right wing Tories have got the majority they need for five painful years of what they want on far less than half the vote.
Parties calling for a second referendum collected over 50% of the popular vote, yet Johnson will use his 80 seat majority to claim a massive popular mandate for his damaging hard Brexit. For the next half decade, the Tories will railroad through parliament Act-after-Act scrutiny free.
Johnson’s government will have more power than any right wing government since Thatcher’s, having picked up only 300,000 more votes than his predecessor, who had as little power as any PM for years.
What’s to blame for this? Our broken democracy. It’s not just first past the post, but a whole range of deeply rooted flaws in the way we vote and hold politicians to account. It’s something we have to be angry at, and it’s something we have to work to change. To kick this process off, yesterday the Young Greens launched a petition to the government with 6 key demands.
It’s wrong that Britain’s major elections use first past the post, which skews outcomes far from what people voted for. By prioritising the voices of a tiny number of voters in a few marginal seats, millions of voices are excluded and votes wasted. It’s no wonder that a third didn’t vote on Thursday.
We’re calling for a complete overhaul. The only path to fairness is proportional representation, and we need it at all levels. This must be the last time a party can win 56% of seats on just 44% of the vote.
But we can’t stop there in our quest to make everyone’s vote count. The government also needs to commit to proper and thorough devolution. Communities should have the power to determine their own futures. Communities should have the power to determine their own futures, including through regional assemblies and processes of local direct democracy.
To complete our addressing of the disenfranchisement this failing system has brought to millions, we’re pushing for the government to hold citizen’s assemblies. These would further bring the centers of power close to people, and go hand in hand with Swiss-style citizen’s initiatives and participatory budgeting.
We have to stop excluding people from votes that determine the future of the country they live in. We’re very clear that the right to vote in all elections should be extended to all residents of the UK. Millions of migrants are unfairly stopped from voting, and they deserve full and equal political rights.
16 and 17 year olds should have full and equal political rights too – and that extends to the rights to vote and stand. So many young people can’t make their views clear at the ballot box whilst being able to leave home, work, be taxed, and be recruited into the armed forces. This is not controversial: every major progressive party agrees the franchise should be extended to everyone over 16.
Finally, what this election has made clear is not only the power held by the media, but also the way that power is concentrated in a few reactionary hands. If we don’t have plurality in our media ownership, we will never have media that really speaks truth to power instead of acting in its owner’s interests. Our last demand would give us this plurality: we say no individual or corporation should own more than 20% of the media market.
Only with these changes can we begin to solve our democratic crisis and bridge the divide our politics has created. Join us and call on the new government to create a democracy we can all be proud of by signing our petition here.