COMMENT: Is the mood growing for a reboot of politics?
Britain has rarely known a period of political turmoil as turbulent as we have seen in the past three years. Infighting, argument, dogma and distrust have dented Joe Public’s trust in elected representatives, and, maybe even in democracy itself.
Of course, the referendum on whether to leave or remain in Europe has had a lot to do with it, but it is interesting to ponder whether the problems begin at the ballot box itself.
Our Agenda feature today poses the question of whether the time is ripe to overhaul our first-past-the-post voting system in favour of proportional representation.
It is, after all, how we vote for our members of the European Parliament – but since Britain voted for Brexit, that is largely academic.
Just as turkeys are unlikely to vote for Christmas, some vested interests in the political establishment are reluctant to favour any change which might harm their chances of gaining power.
It would be too complex, they argue, and would dminish the relationship between the electorate and the elected.
But would there be any disadvantage to the electorate if the political make-up of their local or county council, or even central government, corresponded more closely to the number of votes cast for each party.
As we demonstrate, proportional representation could potentially change the political balance of our local councils.
A national campaign in favour of proportional representation, called Make Votes Matter, is gaining traction, and one of its local advocates. Libe Dem activist Philippa Gray, believes its introduction could lead to a ‘new type of politics’. She said: ‘People feel so disenfranchised and they say on the doorstep they won’t vote because they don’t see the point. It’s about that feeling of nobody listening.’
Was there ever a time when politics was in such bad need of a reboot?