The referendum battle starts now

With the historic referendum on electoral reform to take place in May 2011, there are just ten months to change democracy. Join Take Back Parliament.

Our guest writer is Andy May, National Coordinator of Take Back Parliament

With the historic referendum on electoral reform to take place in May 2011, there are just ten months to change democracy.

There is a lot to do. Take Back Parliament, the coalition which organised the purple protests is now mobilising. Winning this referendum could finally open the door to a fairer and more open democratic system many people hope for.

It won’t be easy. We already know who the opposition will be – the same political and media elites who have sat idly by while banks lent recklessly, politicians fiddled their expenses, and the Lords was stuffed with unelected cronies.

Others will join them. The narrow minded tribalists of all parties, who would put short term gain in votes and seats above moral considerations. These people have learnt nothing of past political failures and will try to scare people into choosing party loyalty over rebalancing a fundamental injustice.

Those with an interest in maintaining this morally bankrupt status quo do not receive genuine mass support, but do not need to for they are powerful and masters of manipulation. They represent the old politics and the old media of patronage, inherited power. They have no inclination in apportioning any of this power to the British people. They will spend a lot of money and tell a lot of lies.

They will be backed by dishonest journalists and editors, who have no qualms applying spin and vitriol to achieve this aims. After all the status quo also suits media barons – one party rule gives those newspaper owners and editors who desire it significant power themselves to wield. Even in practical terms it is much easier to report on one party rule than two and many journalists can’t be bothered with explaining the vagaries of various different voting systems.

So can we beat them? We must and we will. We’ll beat them both with old fashioned grassroots campaigning combined with the new emergent power of social media. We’ll beat them by locally organising, educating, campaigning and taking bold action to challenge any dishonesty in our opponents. We’ll meld the old fashioned on the ground campaigning with Facebook, Twitter and the other groundbreaking online tools that are breaking both political and technological barriers to mass mobilisation.

We’ll also need a broader coalition than we’ve seen in democratic reform movement thus far. The few groups who fight on these issues can’t do it alone and people must in the coming months prioritise the work that needs to be done on this cause.

AV isn’t PR but nevertheless this referendum needs to be won, it is still a historic opportunity and we must get fully behind this referendum.

Help us to Take Back Parliament and to win a ‘Yes for AV’!

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