A few facts about democracy

The Conservatives have published details of their manifesto

The fundamental flaw in English government, nationally and locally, is that the voting system doesn’t produce a representative government.

Virtually all developed democratic nations use a form of proportional representation to overcome the inherent unfairness of first past the post system which produces wholly unrepresentative governments.

Compared with votes cast the Lib Dems and Greens are grossly underrepresented in Westminster. Locally Lib Dems, Labour and Greens are underrepresented, and we have a huge and equally unrepresentative Conservative majority of councillors considering the Conservatives got a minority of votes.

Labour had a chance to put this right when we had a referendum on electoral reform in 2011. To their eternal shame they refused to support it. Had they done so they would be better represented on the council now.

Unfortunately, our local voting system is broken too. In particular one Tory councillor continues to draw his allowance of £5,000 a year while having been virtually absent for two years.

At the last Canterbury Forum, which was the Tories’ attempt to introduce some democracy and dialogue with the electorate, all the Canterbury Conservatives bar one were absent.

Even when they do attend, they can’t be trusted with their vote. When the controversial Station Road West multi storey car park was initially discussed they all recommended stopping it – only to vote the other way when it came to making the official decision!

Labour continue to claim to be the official opposition on Canterbury Council, even though they aren’t. They also claim they expect to make significant gains at the next elections. Sadly for them, it is the Lib Dems who have consistently gained far more seats than Labour (with the Conservatives losing the most) in local elections up and down the country last year.

Indeed, at our most recent local election in November, Labour came third after the Lib Dems.

Personally, I’d like to see a much more representative and less tribal council.

The Green Party is completely unrepresented and although I disagree many of their policies it is a democratic affront that their local supporters have no official voice. I’d like to see much more cross-party cooperation and genuine listening to – and action on – what local people say they want. Less party dogma and more working together. This has happened in the past and it can – and should – happen again.

I even have the temerity to believe that this is what most of our residents want!


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