IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

It’s disappointing that Corbyn has failed to publicly a more democratic voting system

22 November, 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

• NEXT month’s general election will be held under the outdated, anti-democ­ratic, “first-past-the-post” (FPTP) electoral system – as, of course, will the St George’s ward by-election, (Islington environment chief on course for Westminster, November 15).

“Safe” seats, to which your piece refers, are a symptom of that system, so it’s worth reminding ourselves of the words of Cat Smith, the Labour Party’s shadow minister for voter engagement and youth, in May 2017: “It is no exaggeration to say that in the 21st century, proportional representation (PR) is a prerequisite of a properly-functioning democracy in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few,” (foreword to, The Many, Not The Few, report by the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform and Make Votes Matter).

We hear much in Islington and in the country about “the many, not the few” where the slogan is emblazoned on Labour Party placards – and may well be the party’s manifesto slogan – so it’s disappointing that Jeremy Corbyn, unlike his shadow chancellor John McDonnell, has failed to publicly support a more democratic voting system under which seats won match up with the votes cast.

The public is constantly told that “Labour is a democratic party”, consulting with its members before policy decisions are taken. A pity, therefore, that it continues to see the electorate as nothing more than campaign fodder, rather than active citizens empowered to make changes to the areas in which we live through a proportional representation system.

MEG HOWARTH
Ellington Street, N7

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