Today in Britain there is widespread disillusionment with the two main parties. Yet, there is no avenue to vent these views. This has resulted in Tory rule where large sections of society that have been disproportionately hit by cuts, yet do not vote. There must be a reason for this apathy.
Unlike 1945, Britain is no longer divided purely along class lines. What is important to many people may be sexuality, environmentalism, nationalism among many values. In order to cope with these problems, a new electoral system is needed. Not just to reinvigorate the electoral system, but also to make Labour truly represent those in society that are most disadvantaged, through new radical democratic socialist values. Although first past the post has crucial flaws, it has one asset that will prove crucial to a reformed electoral system: a local MP.
Many people use their vote because they value a local representative who can vent local opinions. This is seen through MPs such as Jess Phillips overcoming a huge Liberal Democrat majority through her understanding of local issues and entrenchment within the community. Therefore, within the new electoral system, an effort should be made to incorporate local communities. This should be achieved within devolved governments. With nationalist parties such as Plaid Cymru and the SNP flexing their muscles, it is time for all the nations within Britain to have their own representation. Steps in this direction have been made, but it needs to be more widespread. Individual governments ruling over a variety of issues will allow people to feel that they are better represented than they are currently.
Within the reformed electoral system devolved governments will have power to rule over the majority of domestic issues, such as: - Economic policy - Health policy - Education policy - Industrial policy - Agricultural policy - Transport policy - Justice policy - Environmental policy. This is obviously a huge shift from current devolution efforts, however it is clear to see that each state within Britain has different intentions of how it wants to be governed. Democratically, this can only be achieved through increased devolution. It is key that England signs up for this mode of governance, as it can take lots of power away from a dominant South East. This will give more influence to the vulnerable North and Midlands areas. Therefore, the English Parliament should be located outside of London, possibly in Birmingham or another major city.
Devolution can reinvigorate politics; making it more necessary, relevant and democratic for many sections of society. Nevertheless, there is still a role for the United Kingdom. This will be a focal point for many non-geographically specific decisions. These will include issues such as: - Defence policy - Foreign Policy (including EU and NATO decisions) - Overseas aid. As an arena where the devolved nations can discuss and coordinate trade, environmentalism among many chiefly devolved issues.
This will be decided through a senate elected through proportional representation, with a President representing the Senate. Huge sections of society will be thrown back into the political arena, making every vote equal and allowing minor parties to have a voice. Elections will take place every 6 years, therefore creating time for conscious, long term and stable government decisions. Britain will therefore have a more democratic government that offers stability and radicalism with equal effect.
Facing Britain today is an identity crisis. Can we tackle increasing globalisation and nationalism with the system we have today? Throw in depreciating voting figures and the answer is clearly no. Everyday people are failing to connect with the current system we use today. Hence, we need to propose an alternative electoral style that will revitalise faith in democracy. No longer can electoral reform be frowned upon, but should be embraced as a tool to create a more democratic system that truly represents the diverse array of people currently living within our great nation.