River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Democracy & Electoral reform

February 2010

Cyril explains the Governmant's views on Electoral reform

Dear Editor,

Firstly congratulations to Ron Watts on his sensible Village Soapbox reflections in the January issue; I agreed with virtually the whole of his comments under all the topics covered.

On Ron's question of Democracy, ( or the lack of it! ) I understand that the Government has announced it will legislate before the general election for a referendum to be held on electoral reform before the end of 2011. I ask: what will be the questions to be decided by this referendum? If the terms of reference for the referendum are set by the Government, I fear that these will end up as some bland choices that will still not address the real problems.

I recently received some information by an organisation called Unlock Democracy. They are pushing for a Citizens' Convention to be established to overcome some of the failures inherent in the present systems. So far over 150 MPs from across the political spectrum have now signed up in support of the Citizens' Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill. They are asking for the help of the public in writing to their MPs to gain their support.

In the letter I received, Unlock Democracy claims that the Government "are not proposing to move to a system that offers voters a real choice between candidates and parties. They've abandoned their plans to cap donations to political parties. They're uninterested in looking at ways to make MPs more accountable. That's why Unlock Democracy is still pushing for a Citizens' Convention.

Members of the public should decide on what electoral system should be proposed in a referendum. And they should look at other ways in which we can make UK politics more ethical and accountable . . . "

For Readers who may be interested contact details are as follows:-

Unlock Democracy, 6 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF; Phone: 0207278 4443;

Web: www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk

Cyril Marsters

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