Vote for peace*

Letter by Alicia Hull, Norwich

ImageAt a time when the status quo has failed producing war, refugees, starvation, pollution and persecution globally and failing living standards and increasing violence here, we urgently need to consider new ways.

Please will you consider the underlying role of our first-past-the-post voting in producing destructive policies. In our system, it is normal for the ‘winner’, even if by just one vote, to take all.

Members of the opposing party are seen as ‘enemies’ not colleagues. Co-operation and consensus, so common in Europe with their proportional representation, are viewed here as weakness.

In 2010 and 2015, the two main parties received about two-thirds of the votes, yet they took 87 percent of the seats. In 2015, the Green party, with well over one million votes, only got one seat, as did UKIP with 3.9 million votes.

In 2010 and 2015, the Tory government gained majorities with the support of less than 40 percent of the 65 percent of the population who voted.

Completely out of touch with the living conditions of most people, the Conservatives used those majorities to ram through ‘austerity’ which has been a disaster, producing poverty, hunger, homelssness and despair, and damaging basic services and the economy.

Austerity has alienated large sections of the public who feel insulted and desperate and that they no longer have a stake in society. ‘Austerity’ is almost certainly a root cause of the current growth in violence and a large factor in the ‘leave’ vote.

In addition to the Citizens Assembly demanded by the Extinction Rebellion to organise the response to the climate catastrophe, one huge cause of war and turmoil, we need one to organise a system of proportional representation.

This will not immediately solve our problems, but would be an important step in starting real conversations and the civilised exchange of views. Only with caring government can we start to solve our many problems to bring peace. Only with an informed public can we hope to get a caring government.

It is worth remembering that, had the Green Party proposal of a Progressive Alliance been adopted by the Labour Party and others at the last election on the promise to end austerity, sort out Brexit and organise a proportional voting system for future parliaments, we would probably not have had to suffer the chaos and pain of Theresa May as prime minister.

Topics: Westminster