MPs ignore evidence – “just rearranging the deckchairs”

STV Action issued the following Media Release today:

“MPs ignore evidence

A Committee of MPs investigating voter engagement has ignored the obvious fact that people see no point in voting when their votes make no difference. Under First Past The Post voting, votes make no difference in about 70% of constituencies. Politicians and parties know this. It is why they concentrate their resources on campaigning in the other 30%.

Nevertheless, ignoring the weight of written evidence that it received, the Select Committee dismissed electoral reform with the single statement, “Westminster
has a settled view on First Past the Post.”

This is revealed in an interim report issued last week (on November 14) by the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee of MPs.

So what if Westminster does have a settled view? Of course most MPs don’t want to risk changing the system by which they are elected but committees of clubs, institutes, trades unions etc don’t decide how they themselves are elected. The general membership decides.

And if Westminster does indeed have a settled view, why did the Committee pose the question to the public, “To what extent could electoral reform … improve public engagement and voter turnout?” in the first place? It defies all reasonable logic that the Committee posed the question but ignored the responses.

All – yes ALL – 39 witnesses, who gave written evidence on this question, recommended electoral reform. Twenty-one of the 39 recommended Single Transferable Vote (STV), one suggested another system and the remaining 17 did not advocate any particular system.

The Committee made several recommendations. They may or may not help to increase voter engagement but they do not tackle the fundamental problem that people know that most votes make no difference.

The Good Ship Democracy is going down but MPs are just rearranging the deckchairs again. There is still a short opportunity, though, to tell the Committee it has missed the point. The Committee has invited comments on its recommendations by Friday January 9, 2015.


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