2 Oct 2015

Revealed: the cost of one-party councils

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that First Past the Post hurts our democracy. But it might be hurting our pockets, too. Councils dominated by single parties could be wasting as much as £2.6bn a year through a lack of scrutiny of their procurement processes, according to a new report for us released today. The study – undertaken by Cambridge University academic Mihály Fazekas – […]
30 Sep 2015

Building Alliances for Electoral Reform – ERS at Lib Dem conference

With five parties united against First Past the Post – the Lib Dems, UKIP, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru – the issue of how to win proportional representation has come to the fore. And it’s a particularly pressing issue after the most disproportionate election in British history on May 7th. With that in mind, we went to Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth last week to share ideas on how […]
18 Sep 2015

An Elected Lord?

The British constitution, its parliament and its institutions are well known for its oddities and eccentricities: the space provided in the Commons cloakroom for MPs to hang their sword; the fact that all swans in the River Thames are the property of the Queen; or the fact that MPs aren’t allowed to name each other in the Commons. Defenders will argue that such things are harmless eccentricities […]
17 Sep 2015

The Scottish people should be involved in the devolution debate

Yesterday (Wednesday 16th September) the Scottish Parliament debated ‘Scotland’s Future: Democracy and Devolution’. One year on from the independence referendum, and with the Scotland Bill due to go to report stage in the next few weeks, this debate offered parliamentarians the chance to reflect on the debate in the run up to September 18th 2014, and to consider progress on promised further […]
15 Sep 2015

TUC Congress: A historic moment for electoral reform

Yesterday may well be remembered as a historic day for the campaign for electoral reform. At the TUC Congress in Brighton, trade unions voted by a large margin to consider electoral reform - just two days after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the new Labour leader. It’s an important move because unions were some of the main opponents of change in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum. Now they […]
11 Sep 2015

Democracy Matters: Why we’re launching our own Citizens’ Assemblies

With so many constitutional debates flying around – and so little public involvement in them – we think it’s time for citizens to have a say about where power should lie in the UK. So next week, leading academics and civil society organisations (including ourselves) will be launching a major democratic project in Parliament. The Economic & Social Research Council-funded ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ […]
7 Sep 2015

Unspeakable: the scandal of silent Peers in the House of Lords

The reputation of the House of Lords is going from bad to worse. Today we’ve revealed new figures that show just how democratically dire the situation has become for our upper chamber. At the end of August the government announced 45 new Peers, taking the chamber to nearly 830 members – when it’s already the second largest upper house in the world. Today we’ve released research showing that Peers […]
4 Sep 2015

Not such a good idea: Why you should think twice about online voting

The following is a guest blog from Jason Kitcat , who is on the Advisory Council for digital campaigners, the Open Rights Group . At first blush it’s understandable why many would think that Internet voting is a good idea… shouldn’t it be faster, better and cheaper than our current paper-based voting system? Wouldn’t such a modern, convenient system encourage more people to vote? If we can shop […]
24 Aug 2015

Costly cronies of the House of Lords

In our new report, House of Lords Fact vs Fiction , we took a look at some of the enduring myths that surround our unelected second chamber. Peers are technically unpaid, but unlike the thousands of people around the country who volunteer in their local communities each week, members of the House of Lords effectively get to pick how much they get in allowances. Just for checking in, Peers can […]
24 Aug 2015

Are the SNP about to break the Holyrood voting system (again)?

This article was co-authored by ERS Scotland's Juliet Swann and Danny Zinkus Sutton from Unlock Democracy Pollsters are perhaps not to be relied upon after their predictions for the General Election earlier in the year. Yet, despite scepticism, the polls for Scotland turned out to be largely accurate. And, as we reflected on in the week before the election, the predictions weren’t terribly […]