After much thought about whether to add my views to the ongoing debate about politics, accountability and ethics I've decided to make the following observations and add my name to the Referendum 2010 campaign.
I've been involved in both local and national politics since the late 70's. My experience of 'party politics' eventually led me to the decision to become an 'independent' in the mid 90's. Gang warfare inside political parties and the driving force of 'party interests first' that are the prime motivation for all political parties drove me to the decision. I have found that being independent can actually work, if I propose an idea that local political party members feel might disadvantage them if they oppose the idea in public, then they frequently try to co-opt the idea and promote it their name!
But the situation is still not satisfactory, here in Formby the outcomes of Party Politics ensures that the residents have the dubious honour of being represented by 6 Conservative District Councillors (Sefton MBC) and 14 Conservative Parish Councillors, that's 20 Conservative Councillors in all. I am the only other locally elected Councillor. This is all on account of the voting system, 'first past the post' in this case places all the power in the upstairs meeting room of the Conservative Club. This is despite the fact that there is always a sizeable vote for the other parties in elections.
I want change this situation, I believe the voter deserves better, that's why I find myself in agreement with the following:
The campaign is now publicly launched. A broad range of civil society organisations and individuals have come together to call for a referendum on the day of the next general election to change the way we elect our MPs. ........
Our message is simple and strong: real change, not just new faces. An end to safe seats and seeming jobs for life for some MPs. Remove the power that MPs have to decide how they are elected ... and give that to the voters instead. Bring in greater accountability for those who represent us; and greater choice at the ballot box in the first place.
If you feel like I do then visit 'Make My Vote Count'. Political parties frequently argue that they can't govern unless they have a majority but most local Councils are 'hung' and they manage to work together despite party differences. Finally I'd like to see the principle of proportional representation introduced at local level too, then every vote would count.