Julian Says…

Dear Rebecca,

The Canvey Beat has kindly allowed us to debate some key issues on their forum, and I have been asked to kick this off. I shall begin with a subject that ought to be non-partisan, and we may even agree.

Last year’s furore over MPs’ expenses raised a number of concerns over the integrity of our democracy. The Government set in motion a number of measures to address the misuse of expenses and allowances, and have committed to some fundamental change and discussions on modernising Parliament.

Ours is the most ancient of Parliaments; a good look at how it works and how the voters engage is long overdue. Some, myself included, have argued that the MPs’ expenses row highlighted the lack of accountability in the vast majority of constituencies. The remedy is a voting system where all votes matter.

I am no Johnny-come-lately on electoral reform – this has been a concern of mine for some thirty-five years. I am a member of the Electoral Reform Society and the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform. If elected I will be pushing for change.

I accept that change cannot be rushed, and that change must have the buy-in of the electorate; hence my approval of plans for a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. The result of the referendum will be a voting system that has the approval of the majority of the electorate, in my view a good way of not only achieving change, but also key in re-establishing trust.

Specifically, I favour the following three changes:

  1. A fully elected second chamber (House of Lords)
  2. The introduction of the Alternative Vote to replace the current first past the posts system for electing MPs.
  3. The voting age lowered to 16.

Do you agree that change is needed?..


Julian Ware-Lane
Labour, Castle Point

… (Rebecca Harris, 17/03/2010) – Rebecca Replies…

… (15/03/2010) – Soap-box 2010


3 Responses

  1. I remain unconvinced about any need to change our voting system. First past the post, it seems to me, is totally democratic and has the virtue of being completely transparent for the election of individual MPs.

    Any form of alternative vote system simply tries to overcome the position of a tie and, in doing so, does not reflect the primary votes cast by the majority. When there is a numerical tie, and only then, may an AV system make sense.

    The position of saying that total votes cast in an election for each party is not reflected in the make-up of parliament – as the Lib Dems often say – fails to recognise that parliament does not reflect individual preferences but individual, democratic, communities that go to make up the UK.

    Constructing a government from total votes cast would be an entirely retrograde step becasue there would be no local community input or reflection in the result. It would only work if all communities were static and there was an equal number of each community types – equally distributed gegraphically and equally composed of an equal number of voters for each party.


    But that is what all AV systems seek to implement.

    If it ain’t broken – why change it?

  2. How about a referendum on the extraction from the EU and reinstating our English parliament. Why should English tax payers continually support the rest of the UK and the EU. One man one vote is what your Marxist doctrine supported murder for in Africa (Still does in Zimbabwe) yet now the people are waking up to the fact that socialism is dead you want to change the voting system.

    [MOD: https://canveybeat.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/how-the-politics-of-hate-are-set-to-derail-local-elections-this-year/%5D

  3. Make up your mind! Am I a Marxist or a socialist? I have never described myself as a follower of Karl Marx, but I have read some of his works.

    ‘Reinstating our English Parliament’ – when did we ever have that in the first place?

    We have had a referendum on EU membership – Labour gave us one in 1975.

    I don’t understand your comment about Africa – if you could reconstruct that sentence using grammatically correct English I will attempt a response.

    Socialism is not dead.

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