The Crying Need to Renew British Democracy

Posted: June 5, 2009 in democracy, electoral reform, unlock democracy

Following the recent MPs expenses debacle and the announcement from the floundering Brown of a –National Council of Democratic Renewal– here are a couple of projects worthy of following for Cornish democrats. I’ll just add that Brown seems to have missed the point, yet again, that the UK is clearly a multinational entity. The Scots and Welsh likely to resist being pulled into such a ‘national’ council or any of its outcomes without having their own individual say.

Unlock Democracy has spearheaded the launch of the Public Accountability Bill along with a cross party grouping of MPs and MEPs. Among other things, it will bring forward proposals to: Bring elected representatives to book when they step out of line; Change the way in which Parliament is run to ensure that the government is properly held to account; Decide on our electoral system. Peter Facey adds:

“There is a danger at this stage that politicians see this as little more than an opportunity for a bit of one-upmanship and point-scoring. This approach has undermined democratic renewal for decades. We will only make progress now if politicians learn their lesson and take a back seat in the process. The Public Accountability Bill is designed to enable this to happen.”

The Electoral Reform Society, focusing on the electoral system, has equally launched its –Vote For Change– campaign that is demanding a referendum on electoral reform before the 2010 general election.

The expense crisis reveals a nation governed by a political elite that has stopped listening and who are accountable to no one but their party machines. Too many MPs seem more interested in changing their homes than changing the world.

Our society faces real problems – mass unemployment and growing poverty, the threat of climate chaos and an erosion of our civil liberties to name but three. These all require effective government working on behalf of the popular will.

Yet our whole political system is close to collapse. Just when the system needed to be strong it has been brought to its knees. Only the British people can put this right. We demand a new electoral system that makes everyone’s vote count.

Alongside the next general election there should be a binding referendum on whether to change to a new more proportional electoral system. This should be drawn up by a large jury of randomly selected citizens, given the time and information to deliberate on what voting system and other changes would make parliament more accountable to citizens.

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