WITH Brexit finally off the front pages and the pandemic drawing to an end, one could be forgiven for expecting a quieter period lay ahead in 2022.

Yet we’re still in a world of political turmoil, with many people losing patience and faith in the system and our democracy. And my view is that it isn’t any politician that’s to blame but the very way in which we elect our MPs to Parliament and OUR councillors to councils.

In the 2019 election, 44 per cent of the country voted for the winning party. This gave that party 56 per cent of the seats in Parliament and 100 per cent rule. It is a minority rule.

Our electoral system – called First Past the Post (FPTP) – takes away the right of millions of people to be represented. It does not reflect how you and me actually vote. In the 2019 general election, the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party received 16 per cent (5.2m) of votes between them, yet they shared just two per cent of seats.

Most MPs do a good job helping us with problems and doing ceremonial duties but they cannot represent our diversity of views, beliefs and values, as their constituents have diverse and contradictory views to them.

Most of us believe in democracy, but the FPTP system is bad for democracy and for our society. Millions of us have no voice in national decisions or, holding the government to account (which is very relevant at the moment).

It is logical that all votes are worth the same, but with our present system Labour had to gain more than 50,000 votes to elect each MP, while the Conservatives needed only 38,000 and the Green Party 800,000. The Brexit Party got more than 600,000 votes but did not get one seat.

Even for those who voted for the winning candidate, some votes can be regarded as wasted. A constituency won by a majority of one still gets the same number of MPs as a seat won by 50,000. The other excess votes have no effect on the overall make up of parliament. In 2019, 71.2 per cent of votes were wasted.

My answer is to start to put pressure on our government to introduce proportional representation (PR).

• PR means that any government has to have the majority of voters behind it. It means political diversity in society is reflected by political diversity in parliament.

• If a party gets 30 per cent of the vote, they get 30 per cent of parliamentary seats.

• Votes would have equal value and we would have equal voices.

Voters would be represented by a local MP who shares their values and beliefs.

The majority of votes would go towards electing an MP we wanted, giving us all a reason to take part in elections.

Sadly, we missed a chance to have PR for our Police Commisioners.

We have seen how PR systems in our devolved nations have led to a more collaborative, less combative and divisive government. As in North Yorkshire, local democratic representation is being cut by two thirds in the latest re-organisation, wouldn’t it have been a giant step forward to see PR in place for the new unitary authority that is elected this May?

The Northern Echo: Make Votes Matter

  • Georgie Sale (below) is part of the Make Votes Matter campaign which has a stall on Saturday, February 12 on Richmond market handing out leaflets. For more info, go to makevotesmatter.org.uk

The Northern Echo: Georgie Sale