Comment: Why won’t electoral reformers talk to me?

By Godfrey Bloom

Four in ten people are "alienated" from Britain's political parties and say they will not consider voting for any of them, according to new research.

The survey of 1,900 people was carried out by TNS-BRMB for the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Yet when I raised the subject this week in an editorial piece for the Huffington Post electoral reformers like Katie Ghose of the Electoral Reform Society, vilify me for raising the subject and object to me taking part in the debate.

Ms Ghose, a Labour party activist, would-be MP, and former chairman of the failed Yes! To Fairer Votes campaign (AV), is no different to the mainstream politicians who want to have a cosy chat among themselves rather than having a proper debate about the issues I raise.

I support electoral reform. I support proportional representation (PR), indeed Ukip supports PR, yet people like her will not engage with us.

When Nigel Farage supported the Yes! Campaign in 2011 her campaign team and activists openly held their noses in distaste whilst standing on a platform with Nigel. No wonder they failed.

Yesterday, I was interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.  All they could find was a couple of academics and a few Labour party activists who implied that I wanted to take away the votes from the unemployed but did not have any alternatives to offer.

Nothing is further from the truth.  But when you have a system that has remained unreformed since 1840, did those reformers back then envisage a time when those running small businesses would have no vote in the areas in which they operated their businesses?

Most constituencies are occupied by safe seat politicians who see little need to engage with the voters other than at election time or to get a front seat position in their parties.  How can it be right that the electoral battleground is fought in 100 key marginal seats which swing at each election and decide the colour of the government? That is why the old parties have become social democrats, all vying for the space of one million voters. That's why the public are disenfranchised.

In Scotland they have electoral reform. They vote under STV, the single transferable voting system.  This has seen the Tories represented north of the border.  The media would have you believe there are no Conservatives in Scotland. There are, they were just not represented under first-past-the-post but, because of electoral reform, they are now.

In Ireland, my MEP colleagues do not spend their time languishing in Brussels, they hot foot it back to their constituencies to campaign.  Why? Because they too are elected under STV and need to engage with the voters, otherwise they are voted out.

Let's step up to the plate together Ms Ghose and have a debate or do you too refuse to engage with reformers, preferring instead to sit in your academic ivory tower? If not, perhaps it would be more lucrative to return to your former business in the human rights trade?

Godfrey Bloom is an independent member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber

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