Archive for ‘Electoral Reforms’

June 16, 2017

Thank you voters – General Election Count 2017

We would like to thank everybody in Medway who voted with their hearts last week for a Green future in the General Election.  We had anticipated a lower vote this time due to tactical voting by people trying to overcome the limitations of the ‘first past the post’ electoral system.  While out canvassing, many people told us that although they would prefer to vote Green and intend do so in local elections, they would be voting Labour this time in an attempt to defeat the Tories. Unfortunately this didn’t actually change much locally.

Nationally, while we welcome the big shift towards progressive politics, we are left with a minority Tory government who will go to any lengths to retain power, including an irresponsible deal with the DUP, a party with controversial views on climate change, abortion and gay rights. Yet more people voted for progressive parties! Also of note is that while the DUP received fewer votes than the Green Party, they now have ten MPs while we still have only one!

Our current electoral system is inherently undemocratic by failing to reflect the true opinions of voters.  The Green Party will continue to fight for a fairer voting system in which everyone’s vote counts.

Locally, we are undeterred and looking forward to continuing our various campaigns in the coming months and years to allow more of you to see what Green politics is about.

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Clive, Sonia and Bernard, our candidates after votes had been declared

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June 3, 2017

Medway Greens call on other party candidates to commit to voting reform #MakeVotesMatter

make votes matterMedway Green General Election candidates have signed the “Make Votes Matter” pledge to do all they can to bring in proportional representation if elected and are calling for candidates of other parties to do the same.

The Make Votes Matter campaign is encouraging all General Election candidates to pledge to support the campaign to make everyone’s vote count equally. The Medway Greens are also claiming that a vote for them will help to stop this issue being sidelined.

In the 2015 General Election the government were elected with only 24% of possible votes. The Green Party attracted over 1.1 million votes and yet only one MP in parliament; the Conservatives achieved just over 11 million votes and have 320 times the number of MPs.

Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Gillingham and Rainham says:

“Millions of people are denied representation at Westminster because of our out of date voting system and, faced with this reality, the number of people who don’t vote often outnumbers those who do.  This is really bad for democracy.  We need to move towards a fairer voting system in order to have a true say in our future. This is something the Greens will continue to fight for whatever the outcome on polling day. We also support votes for 16 and 17 year olds as we think they should have a voice in their future too.  We are calling on the other parties’ candidates in the Medway Towns to support the Make Votes Matter campaign and pledge to campaign for electoral reform”.

Sonia Hyner, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood adds:

“Over the weeks leading up to this election we were pleased to have encouraged some who hadn’t intended to vote to do so.  Every vote is important, as it increases the national vote of whichever is the preferred party and prevents the issues people care about (such as the push for electoral reform) being sidelined.  From a Green point of view it is also particularly important to keep up the pressure on other parties to ensure that our environment is protected, particularly as we risk the loss of vital EU protections. However it would be much fairer with proportional representation as everyone’s vote would count the same.”

Details of how voters can approach candidates to ask them to pledge their support for voting reform can be found on the Make Votes Matter website –  https://www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/

May 27, 2016

Time to reform our unfair voting system

Written by Steve Dyke (First published in the “Party People” column in Medway Messenger on 13th May).

In April seven candidates competed in a House of Lords by-election following the death of a hereditary peer.  Anyone could stand – if they were a Liberal Democrat and had inherited a peerage.  The entire electorate was the THREE current Liberal Democrat hereditary peers.  Seven candidates, three voters.

The winner can now vote on laws and propose amendments.  He can claim £300 a day for turning up and has the job for life.  All simply through being chosen by a couple of his mates. An extreme example of how ludicrous and out of touch our electoral system can be.

However one central aspect of the system affects us all more directly: the ‘first past the post’ method used for general and local elections.  This method may have been OK in the era of two partypolitics but in our modern multi-party political landscape it is unfair and not fit for purpose.

Less than a third of those on the electoral register voted for our three Medway Tory MPs.  Everyone else find themselves represented by people who do not generally share their views and who seldom depart from the party line.  Medway Council is similarly unrepresentative, with a Conservative administration who got only 43% of the votes but 66% of the council seats.

Many people are fed up with not getting what they voted for, others don’t vote at all.  Democracy suffers as a result.

It doesn’t have to be like this.  Last week’s elections for the Scottish, Welsh and London Assemblies produced fairer results by including a form of proportional representation.  Under such a system votes for those perceived as ‘smaller’ parties can make a real difference – for example Scotland now has six Green MSPs.

Everyone’s vote should count and we badly need a reformed, modern electoral system that ensures this.

February 21, 2016

Make politics fairer say Medway Greens

Medway Greens have called for fairer and better policed politics.
This is in light of the revelations by Channel 4 News that The
Conservative Party may have broken electoral spending rules in the
Rochester and Strood by-election in 2014.

Clive Gregory, former Green parliamentary candidate in the Rochester
and Strood by-election says:

“The claims of illegal spending put further light on how unequal the
battle is. It seems the £100,000 limit on expenses, intended to
produce a level playing field, may not have been enough for the
Tories, who have allegedly put themselves above the law and any sense
of fair play. We are never going to take the corruption out of
politics unless we remove the power of big money.

“Added to the effect of financial imbalance, the communication of
ideas and solutions which differ from those of the powerful is made
much harder by our first past the post electoral system.  As well as
meaning that millions of voters are unrepresented, this broken
electoral system squeezes out grassroots political movements
orchestrated by ordinary people in favour of the money men.  Electoral
reform isn’t just about an attempt to get some form of true democracy,
it’s also about reducing corruption and making things more difficult
for those that can spend huge sums swaying elections to their
advantage; an advantage that consequently works for the richest and
most powerful members of our society”.

Mary Smith, Medway Green Party Treasurer and Election Agent adds:

“I have been watching the re-run of ‘The Pallisers’ and the
similarities are frightening.  It seems the only thing that has
changed in 150 odd years is that over-spending is now illegal; but
no-one seems to be policing it.  Channel 4’s news item was well put
together and seemed to make a good case.  However, as it takes some
considerable time to make an investigation of this depth, I would very
strongly suggest that the one year limit, within which legal action
can be taken, is not nearly long enough.

“As often happens, the person or persons prepared to spend the most
money gets the result.  Ironically, in this case they didn’t.

“However we will never know how much impact the money spent on the
by-election had in raising the profile of the previously little known
Conservative candidate and her subsequent General Election success”.

August 1, 2015

Press release: Medway Greens join electoral reform campaign demo

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Medway Greens, Trish, John and Simon

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Peter Tatchell

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Owen Winter

Last Saturday, Medway Green Party members were among hundreds of voters who converged on Parliament to campaign for electoral reform.  While not a new issue, the campaign for electoral reform has become prominent due to this year’s general election being the most disproportionate ever.

The demo was jointly organised by Owen Winter, a 16 year old member of the UK Youth Parliament (whose petition for electoral reform s achieved over 200,000 supporters), together with campaign groups Unlock Democracy and The Electoral Reform Society. They invited a number of guest speakers including representatives from all the major electoral parties in England.

Speakers included Green Mayoral nominee Sian Berry, ex Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, human rights activist Peter Tatchell and John Strafford from Conservatives for Electoral Reform. Guest speakers spoke about the unfairness of the current system, the history of suffrage and the fact that documented complaints about the current system go back to the early 20th century, including by a young Winston Churchill.

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Sian Berry

John Little, who attended with a number of other Medway Green Party members, expressed concern that the first past the post system is allowing government without a true mandate. Mr Little said:

“If voting reform doesn’t happen soon, the Mother of Parliaments will become a democratic joke. We have a majority government elected with only 24% of possible votes. The Tories are intent on privatising anything they can lay their hands on and are attacking the NHS and vulnerable people, essentially without a true mandate of support from British citizens.”

Nationally the Green Party attracted over 1.1 million votes and yet have only one MP in parliament; the Conservatives achieved just over 11 million votes and have 320 times the number of MPs. In Scotland, the SNP took 95% of parliamentary seats with 50% of the vote.

Trish Marchant, also at the demo, added:
“We believe that proportional representation is essential to allow a more diverse, democratic, range of views in parliament. The injustice of the first past the post system doesn’t just affect smaller parties, like our own, but means that millions of people are denied representation at Westminster”.

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May 18, 2015

Campaign for fairer voting system #fairvotesnow

Please see below a press release that Medway Greens sent out after the general election last week.

Today a broad coalition of representatives from the Green Party, Plaid Cymru, SNP and Ukip, presented a petition accessed here to 10 Downing Street organised by the Electoral Reform Society calling for a fairer voting system.

There are likely to be many additional petitions, including one by the Green Party here and by Change.org here

And another here from 38 degrees.

Please sign the petitions.

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Press release: Local Greens celebrate results but call for fairer voting system

Local Greens were delighted with their results in last week’s elections. In only their second general and local election campaign in Medway, the Green Party increased their share of the vote to double that of the previous elections. The Greens fielded thirteen candidates in the locals and one in all three of the parliamentary constituencies.  In Rochester and Strood, Green candidate, Clive Gregory, once again beat the Liberal Democrats into fifth place. Clive Gregory who is also Medway Green Party co-ordinator says:

“We would like to thank everybody who voted for the progressive movement that is Green politics. Such a large vote is very gratifying and we hope it is a reflection of all the work we have put into helping people and raising issues. We have

been connecting with ordinary people who are struggling against the way things happen in the Medway area and the terrible effects of the coalition policies on public services and vulnerable people. We have been trying to get the council to take notice of the genuine opinions of the people who disagree with what is being done, as well as the way things are done.”

The Medway Greens plan to build on their growing success over the coming years. Clive Gregory says:

“We beat the Lib Dems despite their determination to regain lost ground, suggesting that Greens are putting forward a serious and enduring message that has now become well and truly established in the Medway area.

“Membership of our local branch has more than tripled in the last six months, giving us a much strengthened party with enthusiastic members who are raring to go. We will be working even harder in the coming months and years to allow more of you to see what we are about, and why voting Green is the best decision you could make”.

Nationally the Green Party attracted over 1.1 million votes and yet have only one MP in parliament; the Conservatives achieved just over 11 million votes and have 320 times the number of MPs. Clive Gregory comments:

“Despite the enthusiasm and growth in our party, we are acutely aware that our work is made much harder by our broken electoral system. This does not just affect smaller parties, like our own, but means that millions of people are denied representation at Westminster, as well as being forced to put up with yet more devastation in the hands of a stronger Conservative Party, one that the majority didn’t vote for. Our future campaign will highlight what is both an injustice and a very visible lack of democracy at the top of our agenda, and call for a new voting system where everyone’s vote is represented”.

Mr Gregory concludes:
“We are greatly looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail in the coming months, raising local issues and highlighting the lack of democracy both locally and nationally”.

This was published in the Maidstone and Medway News here.

May 4, 2011

AV Explained Through the Medium of Ketchup

Trish Marchant says: AV may be being portrayed as over complicated but we use AV all the time in everyday life.

Imagine you have run out of ketchup

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You go down the shops to buy your favourite brand but they have run out and when you look on the shelf there are 3 different brands of ketchup and 1 bottle of brown sauce.

Most of us will look at the other brands on the shelf as an alternative if our favourite one is not there and our fish and chips are getting cold.

So you plump for a different make but essentially its tomato sauce just not as nice as your favourite.

Thats AV

You go out for ketchup, you come home with ketchup.

But under First Past The Post it doesn’t matter what you selected you get brown sauce.  It claims to be what you wanted but it tastes completely different.

May 4, 2011

Video: Eddie Izzard Says Yes to AV

Thank you to the New Internationalist for this video.

David M. Davison

April 29, 2011

AVing a beer today? Think Yes when you down your pint!

Trish Marchant says: On a day of celebration what better way to explain the AV (Alternative Voting) system than through the medium of that traditional toasting drink – beer!

April 28, 2011

The Medway Towns Needs Green Councillors – Think Green on May 5th (and Vote Yes to AV while you are there!)

Trish Marchant says: You will remember me mentioning that we are standing 14 candidate across Medway, the first time we have stood anyone in the Medway locals? Scroll down for the wards and candidates names so you know who to look out for.

If you vote Green you are voting, not just for change, but for fairness, for equality and for protection of our green spaces. We are committed to involvement of residents and retailers in decisions that affect travel, access to shops, and new developments. If elected we will push for adoption of the Sustainable Communities Act through petitions and argument. We will develop a local animal welfare policy, with help from Medway based animal charities and sanctuaries, to reduce the suffering of unwanted pets and strays.  We are already campaigning on your behalf against the devastating cuts to public sector funding and undemocratic decisions such as enforcing city status.

If you want to know more about our candidates there are short biographies to be found here

As well as some new faces you will be able to vote for last years general election candidates, Trish Marchant (Rochester West), Simon Marchant (Gillingham South) and Dave Arthur (Luton & Wayfield), as well as the double  By-election candidate, Steven Keevil (River). We have Radio Kent gardening expert Doug Goodyer (Gillingham North) and Edith East (Walderslade) ,Greenham Common campaigner and local activist, who hits her 90th birthday this year.  If you don’t think power hungry Rehman Chisti MP should be re-elected as a councillor then vote for Andy Rogers (Rainham Central) who played a big part in the Stop Kingsnorth campaign alongside Mary Smith (Rochester West) and David Davison (Strood Rural). Candidate Chris Price (River) is active on green spaces alongside artist Tina Lawlor Mottram (Twydall), and newbies to elections Dave Heritage, Tony Major and our press officer Richard Patey are yours to choose in Rochester East, Rochester South & Horsted and Peninsula respectively.

Are we in your ward?

Gillingham South:  Simon Marchant

Gillingham North: Doug Goodyer

Luton and Wayfield: Dave Arthur

Peninsula: Richard Patey

River: Steven Keevil and Chris Price

Rainham Central: Andy Rogers

Rochester East: Dave Heritage

Rochester South and Horsted: Tony Major

Rochester West: Trish Marchant and Mary Smith

Strood Rural: David Davision

Twydall: Tina Lawlor Mottram

Walderslade: Edith East