Over the last two days before the election in Stroud an extra 1,311 people applied for postal votes and 740 for inclusion on the register of electors. Many, like myself, have been frustrated that once again having voted, the results don't reflect the will of the British people. There is no question we are at an historic moment. Stroud District Green party have added their voice to a change in the electoral system - see here.
Picture by Russ for Ruscombe Green: "The Clock is Ticking"
Several campaigns have been launched like Take Back Parliament who are demanding a fair voting system so that we have a Parliament which properly represents the British people. Take Back Parliament brings together a coalition of different groups and organisations in the call for fair votes. They include POWER2010, Unlock Democracy. Electoral Reform Society and Vote for a Change. Over 50,000 people, including myself, have signed up in the couple of days since the election - the demo in London got great coverage on the BBC.
Hopes for a changed system now rest on a knife edge
Rumours this morning are that Clegg is set to give in....City traders and the press are pushing the Liberal Democrats to back a Conservative government unconditionally, giving up on vote reforms and principles of fairness.
Avaaz have a petition that hopes to deliver 100,000 signatures to party leaders before they decide. Sign here: www.avaaz.org/en/fair_votes_now/?vl
As I've said here before a balanced parliament is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform our tired political system. Will the Lib Dems stick to their principles?
Britain's first Green MP and Party Leader, Caroline Lucas commented at the weekend:
These are uncharted waters for all politicians. But this only makes it more important that Nick Clegg makes his decisions based on the clear steer given to him by voters. In this election the British people have brought in a House of Commons in which a majority of MPs are from parties which support reform. A clear majority of people in the United Kingdom voted for reform of our political system. Therefore any arrangement between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives must include genuine and comprehensive reform of the political system. A commission, inquiry, or any other delaying tactic will not be acceptable. There should be a referendum before the end of the year which includes options for a genuinely proportional system not the self-serving system of AV which is even less proportional. The people should be asked what voting system they would prefer. That is proper democracy. The first past the post system has created a situation where people cannot vote positively for the candidate or party whose policies they most agree with. Instead, they are forced to vote in fear, working out how to vote to keep out the party furthest away from them in policy and values. This leaves us a grotesque democratic deficit and a poor basis on which to govern. The Liberal Democrats must not be seduced by the trappings of power. The people have voted for reform: Nick Clegg must not betray them.
Send Clegg a message on the Environment
There are also fears the Environment might be dropped in discussions with the Tories. Friends of the Earth have launched a campaign as well. See it here: http://election.foe.co.uk/DealOrNoDeal
The majority of those voting want change
We don't want a monopoly government, based on the support of less than a quarter of the electorate. I suspect only a partnership between Labour and the Liberal Democrats can give the country the proportional electoral system it is crying out for. The election showed that at least 57% voted for parties seen as being of the centre-left. As things stand 'progressives' can claim in total at least 326 seats in the new parliament: an absolute majority.
More blog posts soon (incl Wap) but must dash to meeting.