‘The Alternative’: Creative thinking for reformers

Katie Ghose, former Chief Executive

Posted on the 25th August 2016

It’s only by working together that we can achieve the change we need. So it’s great to see that a healthy conversation has started on how to do this even better in the years ahead.

Today sees the launch of a new book charting the way forward for progressive reform, featuring a wide range of democratic thinkers, activists and politicians. 

The Alternative: Towards a New Progressive Politics, from Biteback Books, features ideas from a broad range of voices on how parties and campaigners can help secure positive change in the UK.

And it’s a very welcome publication indeed. As the Guardian’s Rafael Behr said, this is “A thoughtful and original intervention at a time when creative thinking in politics is rare and desperately needed.”

We’re pleased to contribute to that creative thinking, with a chapter on the need for – and how to secure – electoral reform. ERS Chief Executive Katie Ghose looking at how we can replace winner-takes-all elections with a fair and proportional voting system nationally and locally.

In her contribution, Katie argues that the UK has become a multi-party, multi-national democracy in which first-past-the-post elections to Westminster produce a distorted electoral map, exaggerating political differences between and within the four nations, and making it impossible for any party to be truly ‘one nation’.

But she also looks at the options for how we actually should go about getting that reform – reflecting on the possibilities of shared manifesto commitments, to a two-stage referendum as happened in New Zealand. There, the public was asked first if it wanted to keep or ditch the current system, before then being consulted on which system should replace it.

Katie makes a strong case for public involvement that goes beyond snapshot polls or referendums, to include citizens’ assemblies or other means of giving people a real chance to get to grips with the future shape of their democracy.

This, and other contributions in the book, are all part of the essential task of discussing and building new, creative ideas for reformers. We hope you find it interesting, informative, and useful in getting to grips with the big tasks that lie ahead.

Order your copy of ‘The Alternative’ here today, in e-book or paperback

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