The case for Proportional Representation has never been stronger

Westminster isn’t working and we need change now.

Voting Ballot Box

Nancy Platts is the Coordinator for Politics for the Many, the trade union campaign for political reform.

We’re getting used to seeing strikes in the news with workers from different industries and sectors across the country, from nurses to post-workers, all having taken industrial action in the last twelve months.

But this week sees possibly the biggest day of industrial action we’ve seen in a generation, with over 100,000 civil servants walking out of government offices across the country, train drivers continuing their ongoing strike action and teachers and university staff joining picket lines too.

The government’s response? To rush through anti-worker legislation that could see workers fired for taking action to defend their working conditions. Make no mistake, the Minimum Service Level Bill is more about suppression than it is about safety. Removing the rights of workers to stand up for their interests at a time of skyrocketing living costs and falling pay.

At the same time, we’re seeing scandal after scandal in Westminster. From partygate to PPE contracts and now Nadhim Zahawi finally sacked over his dodgy tax affairs and failure to come clean.

Politicians are playing by their own rules whilst ordinary people suffer.  The NHS is crumbling, the cost of living is rising and more and more people are struggling to make ends meet.

Even long-time Tory Rod Stewart took the time to call into Sky News last week to call for a change of government, slamming the Tories’ treatment of striking nurses and claiming he’d never seen the state of the country so bad.

Westminster isn’t working and we need change now.

But it’s not just the tired Tory government in power we need to fix. It’s the system that is keeping them there. The system that hands near total power to governments of the day who fail to represent the interests and the opinions of the people they’re meant to serve.

Working people are being let down by this Tory government because our electoral system means they can be. Our broken Westminster system means that those in power don’t have to govern in the interests of the majority – because when it comes to election time they know they don’t need a majority of their votes to win.

They’ve repeatedly refused to negotiate or find common ground with public sector workers attempting instead to use the issue to drive a wedge between those workers and the rest of us, banking that they can use this conflict to shore up the support of those voters they do need while ignoring and even antagonising, those they don’t.

This kind of politics means the views and voices of too many of us are ignored by politicians in Westminster. The result is the chaos we see with a government more interested in the survival of itself and its allies than addressing the big political issues of the day.

We need a new kind of politics where the views of ordinary people are heard in Westminster, where governments are accountable to the people and, their focus is on the issues that matter to them.

That’s why we need proportional representation.

Only when every vote counts and we have a parliament that accurately reflects the view of voters across the country will our politics in turn begin to reflect it too.

It would end the ability of politicians to play the interests of one group of voters against the other by ensuring that a full range of opinions is reflected in parliament – amplifying the voices of the working people that are being ignored by this Tory government.

Until then the chaos we see will continue – with workers forced to take to the picket line to have their voices heard while ministers stumble from scandal to scandal appearing to care little more than advancing their own interests.

It’s clear that Westminster is the cause of Britain’s political problems and PR must be part of the answer.

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