Blogs

27 Apr 2017

Where are the women in May's local election?

Jess Blair highlights the problem of diversity ahead of next week’s council elections. Since the Prime Minister’s unexpected announcement of a General Election last week there’s been little time to talk of anything else. Our 24 hour news cycle is now dominated by images of May, Corbyn et al traveling the country and trying to persuade us voters that they are the right choice to lead after June […]
19 Apr 2017

Democracy, Diversity and English Devolution

The excitement of the general election aside, it’s important to remember that there are other important elections coming up – ones that have gone largely under the national radar. As well as important local elections in Scotland, Wales and much of England, the first ‘metro-mayors’ will be elected. Six new city-region mayors will be elected with wide-ranging powers over the local economy, […]
13 Apr 2017

Deadline Day: Our Voter Registration System Needs An Overhaul

On the evening of the 7 th June last year – just a couple of weeks before the EU referendum – the website to register to vote crashed. Cue havoc, thousands of disappointed and angry people, and then an arbitrary extension of the registration deadline once the site was back up. On the whole, it was a slightly embarrassing affair for the government and Britain’s system of registration. It all fell […]
11 Apr 2017

A month before polling day, nearly 100 candidates in Wales have already won

Voting is an essential part of democratic life - from Mayoral contests to Westminster elections. Yet in an alarming number of places next month, voters in Wales will be denied a vote. That’s not because there aren’t elections happening – there are. It’s because in 92 local council seats, there’s only one candidate standing: which means there’s no ballot box. Those 92 candidates have won before […]
7 Apr 2017

Fighting for fair votes around the world – lessons from the Global Greens Congress

Pic: @JohnGormley Proportional representation has been a longstanding campaign of the Greens. But not just here in the UK – democratic reform is often a key plank of Green platforms. So it was fascinating to see leaders of the Green parties of Canada, New Zealand, the US, Japan and Korea come speak alongside each other at Make Votes Matter’s fringe at the Green Party’s Spring Conference in […]
6 Apr 2017

How PR ‘completely transformed’ New Zealand politics: Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader

In 1996, New Zealand introduced the Mixed Member Proportion (MMP) voting system – a mixed FPTP and proportional list voting system. It was a big step forward for the fight for fair votes everywhere. I went to the Global Greens’ Congress in Liverpool last weekend – and had the chance to catch up with Metiria Turei, the co-leader of the New Zealand Green Party - who was elected when PR was first […]
3 Apr 2017

Enough is enough - it's time for a full review of Lords' expenses

It seems that each new batch of expenses from the House of Lords is yet another scandal. This weekend we saw fresh revelations – and with it, some pretty egregious abuses of the system. Yesterday the Sunday Times revealed that some Peers are claiming up to £40,000 a year in expenses – while making little or no contributions to debates, committees or questions. It follows news that former Lords […]
27 Mar 2017

The Brexit deficit

If there was a ‘word cloud’ of popular news topics over the last twelve months then ‘Brexit’ would be front, centre and in bold. Since last June’s referendum the topic has dominated headlines, been the focus of family discussions over the dinner table, and of course the workloads in Westminster and beyond. On Monday the Institute for Government published a report highlighting the dominance of […]
21 Mar 2017

We did it: petition for PR hits 100,000 signatures

We did it. The petition to introduce real Proportional Representation for Westminster has hit its target of 100,000 – with over two weeks to go. Thousands of you shared our blogs, tweets, emails and posts about the petition. And it’s paid off. It had about 50,000 signatures at the start of February, meaning it has surged over the past month to get it over the threshold to go before the Petitions […]
17 Mar 2017

Cyfnod Newydd i ERS Cymru

Wrth iddi ymuno â ERS Cymru, mae Jess Blair yn nodi'r heriau a'r cyfleoedd i ddyfnhau democratiaeth Cymru Yn ystod y deuddeg mis diwethaf, mae’r tirlun wleidyddol wedi newid yn sylfaenol dros y byd. Rydym wedi gweld y refferendwm ar aelodaeth y DU o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, yn ogystal â Llywydd Trump a dau etholiad yng Ngogledd Iwerddon. Tedyd eleni ddim yn debygol o fod yn llai cyffrous gydag […]