Fairer voting

In the 1950’s roughly 1 in 20 voters voted for a minority party. These days 1 in 4. But the proportion of people actually voting keeps going down.

The current first past the post system turns so many people away from actually voting. It is truly amazing so many people still bother at all. Most votes are nullified and never make a difference.

We need to change our voting system so that every vote matters. That staying at home or voting for a party tactically is no longer a reasonable logical response.

I’m hopeful that this Thursdays election will result in a fairer voting system. It would make this year one of Britain’s most historic so far.


On Thursday the BBC’s Nick Robinson revealed that Conservative Central Office briefed the Tory press on how to smear the Liberal Democrats. One of the pillars of our democracy is a free and independent press. A press that we all know will scrutinise politicians not be led by politicians. Publicly no politicians wants Britain to become like Berlusconi’s Italy. But this revelation indicates how close we could become.

The good news is that this revelation significantly boosted Liberal Democrat fund raising – records donations through the web.

The bad news. IF the Conservatives were to win outright do we believe the press would truly scrutinise them?

Isn’t the knowing silence over MPs expenses for all those decades by political hacks one of the reasons things got so very bad.

Missing 50,000 residents

One of my councillor colleagues testified to the London Regional Parliamennts Select Committee regarding the 2011 census. The MPs heard a unified message from Newham, Southwark and Westminster councils about how hard it is to count residents.

Each resident attracts roughly £600 of funding from central government.

Currently central government believes 270,000 residents are residents in Southwark. Southwark currently has 320,000 people registered with GPs. That means roughly £30M of central government grants are not being made to Southwark.

It seems unlikely as planned the 2011 Census will close any of that gap. Worringly it could well open it up further.