ERS in the Press: March 2021

Jon Narcross, former Communications Officer

Posted on the 15th April 2021

The warping effects of First Past the Post were in the news again this month, with the Times’ Patrick Maguire penning a piece on the ‘one-party fiefdoms’ that plague our politics. Darren Hughes, responded with a letter to the Times highlighting the effects of one-party councils and the need for proportional representation in local government to ensure a broad range of views are represented in Town Halls across the country.

There was news on electoral reforms this month as the government announced plans to change the voting system… to First Past the Post as plans to scrap the current Supplementary Vote system for Police and Crime Commissioner and some Mayoral elections were announced.

As Willie Sullivan told the Independent, “Imposing Westminster’s broken first-past-the-post voting system on the mayor of London and mayoral and PCC elections across the UK is a step backwards that would see multi-million pound budgets handed to people the majority of voters don’t want – damaging accountability and undermining the legitimacy of those elected.

We were also featured in the Mirror, CityAm and Nation Cymru talking about how these proposals to introduce Westminster’s discredited voting system aren’t wanted.

Voter ID

The government continue to press on with their damaging plans to introduce mandatory photo ID for UK elections a move that would serve as ‘a wrecking ball to political equality’ as Josiah Mortimer told Our warnings, that the move could block millions of voters who lack the required ID from the ballot box were also covered in the Guardian, the Independent and the Local Government Chronicle.

Local Democracy in Scotland

Late last month ERS Scotland launched their local democracy campaign calling for ‘genuine local democracy’ to be on the agenda in this May’s Scottish elections. The launch was covered by the National and we will continue to make the case for real community power in the coming weeks.

Willie Sullivan also sat down with BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie to talk about why local decision making should be at the heart of the post-covid recovery.

Campaign Regulations

As May’s bumper crop of local elections loom closer the issue of our outdated campaign regulations and electoral loopholes was once again in the press. Jess Garland highlighted the absurdity of our current laws in the Mirror as it was revealed that parties must declare who funds their hand sanitiser but not their online ads in the run up to next month’s polls.

We called out more damaging loopholes on financial reporting and lobbying in OpenDemocracy, the Sunday Post and BBC Wales as the extent of the gaps in our outdated electoral laws became clear across the UK

Building the New Foundations

Our friends at Politics for the Many launched a call for a bold democratic agenda from the Labour Party with the publication of New Foundations – a bold new collection of essays with Open Labour, featuring thinkers from across the left setting out a socialist case for democratic reform. Politics for the Many’s Nancy Platts marked the launch with a piece in LabourList with Open Labour co-chair Tessa Milligan calling for a bold response from Labour against the threats to our democracy.

Nancy Platts also called out the outdated House of Lords following a Sunday Times investigation into the role of unelected hereditary peers in our politics.

You can help get the case for reform in front of millions by supporting the work of the ERS media team – with membership of the ERS.

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