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email received April 27 on Proportional Representation

Having just phoned the electoral commission yesterday to say that I felt the current electoral system was failing voters and democracy - couldn't believe it when today's topic on R5, Vic Derbyshire - 9am was 'Is democracy working?'

I phoned up as soon as I had heard the intro's and said to the researcher that the 3 main parties were all squabbling about the middle ground and that the really big issues of environment, climate change and where our future energy is going to come from were being completely ignored in this election.

Within 3 mins they phoned back and said could I make my comments live to Victoria Derbyshire. I was a bit nervous but managed to say, I hope, that if you are not in a marginal constituency then your vote is virtually worthless, but that the most important thing is that the 3 main parties are ignoring the crucial issues we are going to face, ie climate change, the environment and how we are going to manage our future energy needs. And that without some form of PR these issues are being completely sidelined. I said that the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and even the 'democracy' we have imposed on Iraq are all based on PR - as is the EU Parliament - which is the only election I now vote in. God knows what it sounded like - it was worse than speaking to any group of MPS - or MEPS.

They then asked the panel to comment. Martin Bell said had I thought of standing as independent. The Electoral Reform rep agreed that it is only the floating voters in marginal seats that have votes that really count. - and expounded how this applied.

I also made the point that only 59% of the electorate voted in the last election - and that was 12% points down from 2001 - so more and more people are feeling disenfranchised by the current first past the post system - and also that the elected Government actually got elected with only a small percentage of the vote. In fact it turns out that Labour got 63% percent of the seats with only 41% of the vote.

Vic Derbyshire referred to my comments and said here are the actual figures.

The really good thing is that they then had a lady from the 'Your vote counts' campaign who suggested that all those who wanted some form of PR should have a look at their website. Also that the present system put far too much power into one party's hands - and that this did not reflect the percentage of the electorate that actually voted for them.

Several other people also phoned in on the same approach - inc a voter from Norfolk who wants to vote Green but had no candidate in his ward - and another person equally fed up with the skewed effect that only the floating voters in marginals really decide the outcome of the election - Also that it does not reflect any of the more marginal parties - and excludes the votes of all those that vote for the more minority parties, such as the Greens.

It was a really good phone in this am - and I am sure we will all being getting in touch with the Your Vote counts campaign. - and, if I could, with those who also phoned in calling for some form of PR. In fact I think it would probably be more effective to work with the YVC campaign to get the electoral system changed - than just lobby for more environmental policy - at this stage.

By the way - did you see the Channel 4 programme last night - abut how the floating voters in marginal seats have been identified with some complex computer packages used by the Republicans in US - they can even identify the various households in each street so that the election material is targeted specifically to them, also that the 3 main parties are not dealing with the real issues - finished up with climate change - and aviation - and energy. Peter Oborne - editor of the Spectator - not your average Green.. ..which gives me enormous hope - as these issues are going to need consensual politics from all the parties to get resolved - not first past the post - so called democracy.

Cheers for now


PS Good old Greenpeace 'giving' Mr Prescott a present of his solar panels - their spokeswoman was very good and made some excellent points when interviewed on R5 - that as Mr Prescott is responsible for all these new houses - he should be insisting that they have their own energy provision - and not need more fossil fuels, causing green house gasses, or nuclear energy. to provide their energy needs.