Kent Deserves Democracy Public meeting and NEW cross-party campaign group in East Kent for fair proportional voting (PR).
A public meeting was held at the Astor Theatre, Stanhope Road, Deal on Monday 3 October 2022. It was organised by Kent Deserves Democracy, a new cross-party team of campaigners for fair proportional voting and cleaner, more accountable government. The new team has links with the national campaign groups Make Votes Matter and Get PR Done, and its campaign work will focus on East Kent.
Guest speakers with national reputations
It was almost a full house and the lively and interested audience heard three guest speakers with national reputations, Neal Lawson of Compass & Labour, Tom Brake of Unlock Democracy, and Gavin Esler, broadcaster and author, most recently of ‘How Britain Ends’.
Local party representatives also spoke on the need for fairer voting and cleaner government. They were Sarah Waite-Gleave of Dover & Deal Green Party, Penelope James of Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats and Jo Rothery of Canterbury Labour Party.
Fair proportional voting
Neal Lawson said, “After the week we’ve just seen, Conservative chaos is obvious to all. It is the Westminster out-dated political system that allows Conservatives to inflict chaotic mess on people’s lives. And the Labour grassroots vote to bring in fair proportional voting last week is the only way to clean up the chaos and give all different sectors of UK the votes and voices that really count.”
“In 2022 there is more interest in electoral reform than ever before. This month the British Social Attitudes survey showed that 51% of Brits want a switch to proportional representation, while only 44% want to keep the current system. Again, an Opinium poll conducted in August 2022 showed 56% felt badly served by the UK’s political system and wanted change. It is because people feel they need to call political leaders to account more effectively in these unstable times,” said Tom Brake.
“We have a range of systems used in our four nations, three of them use a form of PR. In Scotland we can see the AMS proportional system producing much more stable government than Westminster (elected under the old system) has seen over the last 10 years,” said Gavin Esler.
“Younger folk are very aware we could bring in fairer voting and keep the MP/constituency link, if only we can vote in a new, fair-minded government who will introduce proportional voting to the House of Commons. How dare Conservatives make it tougher for young people to vote with their Election Bill,” said Sam Brookfield of Deal and Dover Young Greens.
“We need to recognise that people are struggling to feed families, keep warm and keep a roof over their heads, so a better political system doesn’t seem top of their list. But people are angry and we won’t get cleaner government that prioritises real-life problems until we introduce genuine, not gamed, democracy.
We all saw homes burning during this year’s 40-degree heatwave, a result of our climate crisis. The current system has put us in the current mess, we’ll need a better system to resolve it. I have local ex-Conservatives, emailing me, saying they support the introduction of PR to restore integrity and honesty to British government” said Sarah Waite-Gleave of Dover & Deal Greens Party.
Jo Rothery of Canterbury Labour said, “On 26 September there was delighted whooping at Labour Conference when we passed the motion to put proportional voting in the next Labour manifesto. Labour for a New Democracy won’t rest until this is a reality.”
“Various organisations have been pushing for proportional representation in Great Britain for 134 years. It is the only way forward to ensure we have a fair system which elects MPs, councillors from all walks of life and at all levels of government.” said Penelope James of Dover & Deal LibDems.
Readers can find out more about the new group on Facebook (20+) Kent Deserves Democracy | Facebook on twitter @KentDemocracy and on Instagram kentdeservesdemocracy.
Note to editors: references
Only one in seven voters feel well served by the UK’s political system – Left Foot Forward